COLUMBUS, Ohio - At the conclusion of the 2010 Big Ten swimming and diving championships later this weekend, the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion may earn the nickname the "electric factory." That's because through two days of competition, the finest pool in the Midwest has been nothing short of super charged with emotion, excitement and positive efforts.
Thursday saw five more Big Ten, Big Ten championship or pool records set or re-set and by the end of the session Ohio State had come back from a first day deficit to pull into a first-place tie with Michigan. Each team has 274.5 points with Minnesota (180), Purdue (134) and Indiana (123) completing the Top 5 teams in the standings.
"Tonight was cool," Ohio State coach Bill Wadley said. "It was pretty cool. Our focus is on our performance and we can't do anything but concentrate on our own performances. Our goal is to swim fast, perform well and represent our school and each other. We've broken so many school records already and there are just so many positives. What a great way to start."
Ohio State senior George Markovic continues to be the superconductor leading a current of outstanding Ohio State performances at this meet. After setting a 200 freestyle record Wednesday, he set and then re-set the school record in the 500 freestyle, including a stirring 4:15.35 time to win the event in a final that included five Michigan swimmers. His time was also a McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion record and it went under the NCAA "A" qualification standard. Stefan Sigrist (fifth), Brent Hitchcock (ninth), Mark Neiman (11th), and freshman Luke Stirton (14th) also scored in the event for Ohio State.
"It was a combination of things that led to the win," Markovic, a team co-captain, said. "Coming in my freshman year I had a lot of things to learn. Every year since then it has been a learning experience. For it to all come together at home is special."
Markovic's swim was a jolt of energy that sparked Ohio State at the start of the session and his charge was well received by the team because Michigan is good, real good. And the two-time defending Big Ten champions aren't going anywhere without a maximum amount of resistance.
To witness, the Wolverines went 1-2-3 in the next event of the night, the 200 individual medley, but they only outscored the Buckeyes, 53-51, in the event as Ohio State placed three in the finals and three more point scorers in the consolation races. Markus Sievers followed his school record preliminary swim to lead all Buckeyes with a sixth-place effort. Justin Farra and Austin Mudd were seventh and eighth, respectively, with Niksa Roki (ninth), Andrew Olson (11th) and Tim Phillips (13th) all among the top 13 finishers.
Senior co-captain Joel Elber then peaked in the 50 free, tying for third (with Michigan's Chris Brady) in a race that Minnesota and Indiana swimmers went one-two. The third-place effort represented Elber's best finish at a Big Ten championship meet. Lincoln Fahrbach's seventh-place swim helped the Buckeyes outscore Michigan in the event, 27.5-25.5, and close the UM lead to 234.5-202.5 heading into the one-meter diving competition.
All three Buckeye divers - seniors Wes Wieser, Burkley Showe and Ryan Jefferson - made the one-meter final round and the trio combined for 38 points to actually put Ohio State in the lead momentarily. Wieser was fifth, Showe sixth and Jefferson placed eighth.
The final event of the evening - the 400 medley relay - was won by Michigan, giving UM its third relay win of the meet, with Ohio State right behind in second with another school record swim of 3:09.10. Andrew Elliott's leadoff time of 46.36 in the 100 back established a new school record for the sophomore.
The championships continue Friday with preliminaries at 12 noon and finals at 7 p.m. One can find start times, ticket information schedule of events, parking info, links to live results and live streaming video, directions and more right here.
Meet Notes and other Random Thoughts...
- Counting diving, Ohio State had 10 individuals in event finals Thursday night and four in the consolation finals for a total of 14 individual points scorers. Second-most points scorers belonged to Michigan, which had nine finalists and four consolation swimmers.
- Sophomore Lincoln Fahrbach's 19.87 prelim time in the 50 free was not only a personal best for him and the fourth-fastest all-time at Ohio State, but it is believed to be the first time an Ohio State sophomore had ever broken 20 seconds in the event, according to coach Bill Wadley.
- Two things the Ohio State coaching staff did not expect to happen, based on seeds and prior times, but are thrilled that happened Thursday: Fahrbach making the final in the 50 free and sophomore Austin Mudd making the 200 individual medley final.
- Wadley called the prelim swims of Fahrbach, Mudd and sophomore Marcus Sievers - school-record 1:45.40 clocking in the 200 individual medley - great swims and he also called out the impressive performance of Brent Hitchcock - personal best of 4:22.09 in the 500 free
- And of George Markovic's come-from-behind win in the 500 free finals, Wadley had this to say: "That swim wasn't about training. That was about heart, desire, competitive spirit and swimming for something greater than yourself."
- How about that Kendra Lee? She's a Buckeye through-and-through. A talented and rising sports information director who spent two years at Ohio State and is now the swimming and diving publicist for Auburn, Lee was following the Buckeyes on live stats and watching streaming video Thursday and texting everyone she knew at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion with her thoughts and comments.
Men's Big Ten Conference
Swimming and Diving Championships
Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010
McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion
Day 2 Team Standings:
1. Ohio State and Michigan 274.5; 3. Minnesota 180; 4. Purdue 134; 5. Indiana 123; 6. Iowa 101; 7. Northwestern 94; 8. Michigan State 92; 9. Penn State 90; 10. Wisconsin 84.
Race Results: 500 freestyle - 1. Markovic, OSU (4:15.35); 200 individual medley - 1. Clary, MICH (1:42.68); 6. Sievers, OSU, (1:45.62); 50 freestyle - 1. Richards, MINN (19.53); T3. Elber, OSU (19.88); 1-meter diving - 1. Colturi, PUR (442.00); 5. Wieser, OSU (357.10); 400 medley relay - 1. MICH (3:07.97); 2. Elliott, Pelkey, Phillips, Elber (3:09.10).