2021 BIG TEN MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIPS
- When: Tuesday, March 2nd to Saturday, March 6th | Prelims 11am | Finals 5pm Tues, 6:30pm Wed-Sat (ET)
- Where: Ohio State University (Eastern Time Zone)
- Defending Champion: Michigan (1x) (2020 results)
- Streaming: Big Ten Network
- Championship Central
- Live Results
- Saturday prelims heat sheet
- Saturday distance heat sheet
With just 3 events left on the Big Ten Championship schedule, and none of them events with a lot of overlap traditionally, there wasn’t much left in the way of big entry choices to be made for Saturday’s 4 individual events at the Big Ten Championships: the 1650 free, 100 free, 200 back, and 200 breast.
Among the limited uncertainties was a choice between the 1650 free and 200 backstroke for Minnesota freshman Sawyer Grimes. He finished 11th in the 500 free and 15th in the 400 IM, in both cases swimming faster in finals than he did in prelims, earlier this week.
After a rest day on Friday, he’ll gear up for the mile. Because of the lack of mid-season invites, only one Big Ten male has swum that even this season, but among 1000 free seed times, Grimes is ranked 4th in the conference this season, as compared to 10th in the 200 back.
As the Gophers’ only swimmer in the fastest heat of the timed final event, he’ll be an important part of the Gophers’ attempt to run down Iowa for the 8th-place position. Iowa has a lot more swims remaining, Minnesota’s 17 individual races on Saturday have more ‘quality,’ including the top seed in the 200 breaststroke Max McHugh.
The focus then turns to the team battle at the top, where the front-runners of Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio State are separated by a total of 36.5 points.
Indiana has 20 individual swims, including the mile, remaining on Saturday, while Michigan has 21 and Ohio State just 18. But those numbers are only part of the story: in counts of the highest-scoring swimmers, the top 10 seeds, Indiana has 8, Michigan just 3, and Ohio State 5.
All of this adds up to a story where the Wolverines and the Buckeyes will have to move up if they want to catch Indiana.
Michigan, we know, has been moving up all week, and with a swim from River Wright on the day, they’ll expect more points than seeded, though the 31 points that Wright’s 100 fly DQ cost them on Thursday now loom huge.
But Indiana still has a swim left from Brendan Burns, who won the 200 fly in a Championship Record on Friday.
The Hoosiers won’t be quite in “runaway” territory at the final relay, but if they take care of business in prelims, they might be in “safe starts” territory by the final relay with their eyes on a title.
TEAM SCORES (THROUGH DAY FOUR)
- Indiana – 1036.5
- Michigan – 1010
- Ohio State – 1000
- Purdue – 615.5
- Wisconsin – 571
- Northwestern – 554
- Penn State – 496.5
- Iowa – 444.5
- Minnesota – 396
- Michigan State – 149