Pair of Michigan Sweeps Nail Down Big Ten Title; Indiana-Ohio State Comes Down to Final Race

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 3

February 26th, 2012 College

Men’s 1650 Free

The Michigan men’s distance group swam incredibly well in this meet, and moves into a territory that only really the Georgia men can rival nationwide. Even more importantly, Connor Jaeger (14:43.64), Sean Ryan (14:45.08), and Ryan Feeley (14:45.23) have put up the top three times in the country this season, and sealed up swims in the final heat of the men’s mile at NCAA’s. With only Stanford’s Chad La Tourette really capable of interfering, the Wolverine men should get center lanes for the race, which plays huge psychologically.

Minnesota freshman CJ Smith has a bright future after finishing 4th in 15:02.57, and held off a tough final push from Ohio State senior Brent Hitchcock (15:02.91) and Iowa sophomore David Belzer (15:03.20).

Men’s 200 Backstroke

Ohio State’s Andrew Elliott has been very quite both in this meet and this season, having been hanging in the shadows a bit of his talented sprint teammates. But on the final day of the Big Ten Championships, he reminded the country about how good he actually is. He won the men’s 200 back in 1:41.71. His 1:41.22 from prelims is the best time of his career.

He topped two impressive freshmen: Penn State’s Nate Navoy in 1:42.56, and Wisconsin’s Andrew Teduits in 1:43.05. That leaves Teduits within a few tenths of Adam Mania’s school record in only his first season in Madison.

If the Michigan men have a weakness, it’s this race. Their highest placer was senior Jan Kornazewski (13th), a transfer from Missouri.

Indiana also struggles in this event (only one scorer), and that allowed the Buckeyes to pull 44 points ahead for 2nd place.

Men’s 100 Free

The Buckeyes would win a second-straight race (and extend their lead for 2nd to over 70) thanks to another junior – Jason Schnur in 43.11 in the men’s 100 free. He just outtouched Iowa’s Paul Gordon, who was 2nd in 43.22; and the Hawkeyes were the only team with two in the top 5 of this race – Ryan Phelan was 5th in 43.72.

Minnesota’s Zach Bolin took 3rd in 43.52.

The balanced finish places in this race – 5 different teams had representation in the A-Final – set up for another outstanding relay in the closing 400.

Men’s 200 Breast

Cody Miller continued his perfect Big Ten run in the breaststroke events by defending his 200 title in 1:54.07. That’s a lifetime best for him, matching what he did in the 100 earlier in the meet. Unlike last season, I’d expect him to have at least a bit more of a drop in this 200 at NCAA’s.

Competitively, the rest of the race didn’t push Miller. That included runner-up Richard Funk, a freshman from Michigan, in 1:56.57 (just out-touching Minnesota’s Josh Hall in 1:56.65).

In team scoring, though, Miller’s win, along with teammate Samuel Trahin taking 5th (and Ohio State grabbing only a single point) pulled Indiana back under a 40-point deficit for 2nd. Michigan still was well in front.

Men’s 200 Fly

The Michigan men closed the individual events thunderously as Dan Madwed (1:42.67) and Kyle Whitaker (1:43.50) repeated their 1-2 performance from last year’s meet. This year, however, the iced that with a sweep of the podium thanks to John Wojciechowski in 1:43.93. He’s had a phenomenal season, and this is a great reward to what is obviously a lot of hard work.

Minnesota’s Kyler Van Swol took 4th in 1:44.52.

With two A-Finalissts, Ohio State would again shoot back to a major lead. That lead wasn’t safe, however, with diving coming up before the meet-ending relay.

Men’s Platform Diving

Indiana and Ohio State had each won a diving event already in this meet, and though neither team earned a second title (that went to Minnesota’s Kris Jorgensen in 430.65), both teams were still counting on big points on the platform. Indiana got them, Ohio State didn’t. The Buckeyes had only one scorer (3rd-place from Shane Miszkiel) to the Hoosiers’ seven. All of a sudden, the Ohio State margin for 2nd was sliced to just 1.5, with only the 400 free relay left to go.

Men’s 400 Free Relay

Iowa won another sprint free relay, this one in 2:52.53, to hold off an underrated Michigan sprint relay that took 2nd in 2:52.96.

The team battle is what really pushed this race into a frenzy though. Ohio State didn’t have a great swim to emphatically put the Hoosiers away, but their 4th to Indiana’s 5th sealed up a runner-up position after placing third last season.

Though only one spot separated the teams, the race wasn’t that close, as Ohio State held about a two second margin for most of the race.

Final Standings

In first glance, it didn’t look as though Michigan had a great final day, but a couple of empty finishes were balanced out by a pair of 1-2-3’s. They ultimately extended their winning margin to over 180 points.

A DQ’ed relay ended up costing Indiana a second-straight second-place finish.

Minnesota avenged a dual meet loss earlier in the season and snuck 8-points ahead of Iowa for 4th place (though the Hawkeyes probably set up a bit better for a top-20 finish at NCAA’s). Penn State had a very good meet individually, but finished only 6th. They were hurt in part by a strong year for the divers in the middle-chunk of this Big Ten.

1. Michigan 738.5
2. Ohio State 552.5
3. Indiana 549
4. Minnesota 403
5. Iowa 395
6. Penn State 332
7. Purdue 316
8. Wisconsin 225
9. Northwestern 157
10. Michigan State 113

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Nostradamus
9 years ago

Without diving Iowa and Penn State would have finished 3rd and 4th, possibly 2nd and 4th. Indiana scored over 200 points in diving, which is absolutely ridiculous… Minnesota got help from Mikey Ross, a transfer from Wisconsin, who for some reason didn’t have to sit out a year even though he transferred within the conference. Should be an interesting next couple of years, that’s for sure. Purdue looks to be the next in line for some relay wins with a young group of sprinters and decent strokers.

tallswimmer
9 years ago

Also of note, Michael Weiss’ (whom several folks called out befor the meet as one to watch) 1:56.6 in the 200 Br B final made him 3-for-3 on school records for the weekend (500 Free, 400 IM, 200 Br). Looks like Whitney has a solid foundation in Madison and is well on his way to adding depth with his 9 man fall recruiting class.

John Sampson
9 years ago

I agree whitney has done a great job with weiss. Should be interesting to see how the badgers start to stack up, seeing how well their freshman already are and how big of an impact theyll make. Odonell 48.3 in the back and 1:48 in the IM, points. Grodecki 20.2 and 44.6 in the sprints, points. Bushman 1:59(untapered) in the 200 breast and 3:52 in the 400 IM, points. Then josh anderson, tyler hines, and austin criss should all develop excellently under hite. I would argue this class alone could come close to scoring as much points at big tens as the badgers did this year. Hopefully the ball will keep rolling and hite will bring in another awesome class… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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