West Lafayette, Ind.— Liz Li won her second consecutive Big Ten Championship in the 50 freestyle on Thursday, putting up a conference-record time of 21.48 to take the title.
The owner of the third-fastest 50 free time in the country coming into Big Tens, Li now owns the fastest time in that event after her championship-winning performance. It’s her third career individual Big Ten title, having won the 50 free and 100 butterfly last season. With her win she became the fifth straight B1G swimmer to consecutive conference titles in the event; dating back to 2005 only five different swimmers have won a Big Ten Championship in the event, all of whom have won it at least two consecutive seasons. Li now joins that group, and also tied her own school record, which she set last season.
She wasn’t the only Buckeye to turn in good performances in the pool. Lindsey Clary got things started with a fourth place finish in the 500 freestyle. The senior put up a time of 4:37.65 to earn some big points for Ohio State. Three other OSU swimmers earned points in that event, and it was the first time they had done so at a Big Ten Championship meet. Freshmen Kathrin Demler (4:41.91) and Molly Kowal (4:43.16) finished in 10th and 13th place, respectively while Mikayla Murphy posted a time of 4:50.26 in the evening session.
Though Meg Bailey was the lone Buckeye to earn a finals spot in the 200 IM, she made the most of it, placing third with a time of 1:57.75. It’s the highest finish of her career at a big Ten Championship meet.
While Li grabbed the headlines in the 50 free, three of her teammates had excellent performances as well. Maria Coy (22.76), Cheyenne Meek (22.88), and Chantel Wynn (22.93) all earned spots in the B finals and helped Ohio State grab some important points in the standings.
Friday will have the same timeline as Thursday: prelims at 11:00 a.m. ET and finals at 6:30 p.m. ET. Fans will be able to see the 100 butterfly, 400 IM, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke, three-meter diving, and 200 freestyle relay.
- Seven Buckeyes competed in the 500 freestyle on Thursday, and all posted times of 4:47 or better
- Clary’s time of 4:37.65 was the fastest of the bunch. Her fastest time coming into college was 4:58.53.
- Kowal showed similar improvement; her time of 4:41.89 in prelims today was over 10 seconds better than when she committed
- Murphy’s appearance at Big Ten Championships was the first of her career, she did not compete last season (though she was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week just before Big Tens began)
- Kerrigan Vargo joined the improvement train, posting a time of 4:47.55 in prelims of the 500 freestyle Thursday, dropping almost eight seconds from when she committed to Ohio State
- Bailey’s third place finish in the 200 IM was impressive in its own right, but consider that as a freshman she placed 58th in the same event at Big Tens.
Standings through Day Two:
- Indiana 393
- Wisconsin 378.5
- Michigan 363
- Minnesota 361
- Ohio State 307