Columbus, Ohio – The Ohio State swimming and diving program is headed to Lexington, Ky., for its first meet of 2018 at the Lancaster Aquatic Pavilion. In the latest College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) polls that were released in early December, the Ohio State women are in the No. 13 spot, and the men are ranked 18th.
This meet will be a strong test for the women with Kentucky’s women’s team coming in at the No. 15 spot in the CSCAA poll. In addition to taking on the Wildcats, No. 13 Ohio State will also be competing against Toledo. It will be strictly a dual meet for the 18th-ranked men against the host Kentucky.
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Thirty-two women and 38 men will be in action donning the Scarlet and Gray for the two-day meet that begins Friday and concludes on Saturday. The 1650 freestyle will get the meet started on Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. ET and diving will follow at 3 p.m. Following the 1650 freestyle races, there will be a break before racing gets started back up at 5 p.m. On Saturday, two swimming sessions will be held with the first one starting at 9 a.m. and the final one beginning at 4 p.m. Platform diving will get going at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. Full schedule of events below.
Friday – January 5th
2:30 p.m. – 1650 Freestyle
3 p.m. – Diving
5 p.m. – 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly, 400 freestyle relay
Saturday – January 6th
9 a.m. – 200 medley relay, 400 individual medley, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breaststroke, 100 back, 800 free relay
2:30 p.m. – Platform Diving
4 p.m. – 200 free relay, 500 free, 200 individual medley, 50 free, 400 medley relay
First Half Recap
Ohio State competed at six different meets last fall, including hosting four of those meets at McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion. In SwimSwam’s midseason swimulator rankings, the Buckeye women come in at No. 12 and the men follow close behind in the 14 spot.
Noah Lense claimed his first-career short-course national title in the waters of McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion early in December as he clocked a time of 1:42.22 in the 200 butterfly to close out the USA Swimming Winter National Championships. Lense got out quick in the first 50 yards of the event with a split of 22.61 seconds, the second fastest in the race, and he followed that up with a 25.67 which led him to owning the lead at the halfway marker of the race. The sophomore from Clearwater, Fla., turned on the afterburners in the final 100 yards of the race and dropped the two quickest splits for the third and fourth 50’s of the race with times of 26.65 and 27.28. His final readout of 1:42.22 is the second-fastest time to be swum by a sophomore this season in the NCAA.
The gold for Lense was his second podium finish of the weekend. A night before claiming the top spot in the 200 butterfly, Lense (46.17) teamed up with fellow butterflyer Michael Salazar (45.98/PR) to claim a two-three finish in the 100 butterfly. Other podium finishes from the USA Swimming Winter National Championships included a bronze for Meg Bailey in the 400 IM with a clocking of 4:07.07, and freshman Kristen Romano set a new standard for the school record in the 200 backstroke with a personal-best time of 1:52.86 to claim bronze. The 1:52.86 for Romano is the fastest time to be registered by a freshman in the NCAA this year.
Prior to hosting the USA Swimming Winter National Championships, the Buckeyes hosted their annual Ohio State Invite the week before Thanksgiving. The men placed second at the meet with a point total of 780.50 points, and the women earned a fourth-place showing. At that meet, Bailey claimed herself two individual titles in the 200 butterfly (1:55.67) and 400 IM (4:05.80). In addition to Bailey’s triumphs, Freya Rayner (100 freestyle) and Lara Tarvit (platform) collected titles. Rayner stroked her way through the water with a time of career-best time of 48.43 in her win, and Tarvit was composed on the platform and beat out 23 other divers for the top spot with a score of 267.65.
The men’s diving crew headed up to Minnesota for the inaugural Minnesota Diving Invite (Nov. 9-11) to get acclimated with the host boards for the 2018 Big Ten Championships. The event was utter domination for the Scarlet and Gray with Christo Law sweeping titles on the one-meter (333.60), three-meter (395.60) and platform (384.60). In both the one-meter and platform, Ohio State had five-plus members of the squad make the finals in a competition that featured over 25 competitors. Stephen Romanik finished third on the three-meter (369.60) and platform (350.30), while Jacob Siler earned his bronze on the one-meter (295.55).
Law’s performance at the Minnesota Diving Invitational earned him Big Ten Diver of the Week honors (Nov. 15). Two other freshman were rewarded with B1G accolades for their performances in dual meets. Paul DeLakis (Nov. 1) and Freya Rayner (Nov. 8) were the recipients of Freshman of the Week honors on their respective dates.
Top Times NCAA/Big Ten
The Buckeyes have a total of 16 swimmers that account for 26 top-eight spots in the Big Ten conference. Bailey, a senior, is having a career year and she currently owns the top spot in the conference in the 400 individual medley (4:05.80) and 200 butterfly (1:55.40); the 400 individual medley time for Bailey is the eighth fastest in the NCAA this year. On the men’s side, Mark Belanger owns the fastest 100 backstroke time in the conference with a 47.21 he clocked at the USA Swimming Winter National Championships.
The butterfly group for Ohio State has been nothing short of excellent thus far during the 2017-18 season. Evidence of that is Bailey’s top 200 butterfly time in the Big Ten to go along with the second-fastest times from Michael Salazar (45.98/100 butterfly) and Noah Lense (1:42.22/200 butterfly); both Lense’s and Salazar’s times in their respective events are top-15 times in the NCAA.
Freshman Freya Rayner has impacted the Buckeye sprint group with the fastest time on the team in both the 50 freestyle (22.25) and 100 freestyle (48.43). Her time of 22.25 is the second-fastest in the conference, while the time of 48.43 ranks No. 4.