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.
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