Vance, Li Earn Runner-Up Honors on Day Two of Big Ten Championships

Zhesi Li
Zhesi Li
Feb. 19, 2015

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – A pair of school records and two runner-up finishes highlighted Ohio State’s accomplishments on the second day of the 2015 Big Ten Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships. Hosted by the Buckeyes at McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion, the championships will continue Friday with prelims scheduled for 11 a.m. and finals commencing at 6:30 p.m.

Minnesota holds a 36-point lead over second-place Michigan in the team standings. The Buckeyes stand seventh through seven events with 109 points, while Indiana (179), Wisconsin (162) and Penn State (147) round out the Top 5. 

The Buckeyes kick started finals with an Ohio State record and NCAA ‘A’ cut time of 1:29.41 in the 200 freestyle relay. Fueled by the efforts of freshman Zhesi Li, junior Annie Jongekrijg, freshman Macie McNichols and junior Rachel Dzierzak, the Buckeyes picked up 30 points toward their team total with a fourth-place finish.

Claiming runner-up honors in the 200 individual medley was senior Ashley Vance. Finishing in a season-best time of 1:57.26, she finished just over three-tenths of a second under her preliminary mark. In prelims, Annie Gillig, Lauren Davis and Taylor Vargo each swam their season-best times (2:01.97, 2:02.76 and 2:06.28, respectively).  Sophomore Amy Bopp and freshman Meg Bailey also represented the Buckeyes in the event.

“I’m awfully proud of Ashley in the 200 individual medley,” head women’s swimming coach Bill Dorenkott said. “She swam tough at home and she has so much to be proud of in herself after her performance today. Everyone really enjoys sharing this success with the team.

“We have girls at so many different points in their developments as athletes,” Dorenkott continued. “There are some, such as the veterans, who are comfortable when the lights get bright and we have some newcomers that cut their teeth, so to speak, and for us the message is to keep fighting throughout the entirety of championships.”

The Buckeyes qualified five swimmers for the evening session in the 50 freestyle. One newcomer certainly comfortable when the lights get bright is Li, who earned a spot in the championship final with an Ohio State record time of 22.03 in prelims. Ultimately, Li placed second in the event in a time of 22.13. McNichols donned the Scarlet and Gray in the consolation final, touching 13th in 22.94. Jongekrijg, Aliena Schmidtke and Dzierzak rounded out Ohio State’s representation, earning 17th, 19th and 21st, respectively. Sophomore Maren Reeder posted a season-best time of 28.32 in prelims, while Chantel Wynn, Cheyenne Meek and Annelise Sprau also suited up in the morning session.

Sophomore Kaitlyn Ferrara competed in the bonus consolation final of the 500 freestyle, touching in a time of 4:50.74 for a 22nd-place showing overall. Six more Buckeyes – Lindsey Clary (4:45.06), Camey Rabold (4:52.46), Kelly Paige (4:53.72), Katie Luchansky (4:54.26), Kathleen Cook (4:58.53) and Zulal Zeren (4:59.97) – earned season-best times in prelims.

“We were terrific tonight, especially with setting more school records,” Dorenkott said. “Clary is going to be someone to look for in the next few years as well. She came to us as a 5:05.00 in the 500 freestyle and she swam a 4:45.00 flat today. I couldn’t be more proud of her and the rest of our squad today.”

Diving competition kicked off Thursday afternoon with the 1-meter springboard event. Ohio State had two standout divers in action – Taylor Ford and Brittany Menninger. Ford, a senior this season, received a preliminary score of 249.15 for a 23rd-place tie. Menninger, competing in her first Big Ten championship meet, earned a 241.55-point total, which ranked 27th in the conference. 

Big Ten Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships
Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015
Columbus, Ohio
McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion

Team Scores: 1. Minnesota (232.5); 2. Michigan (196.5); 3. Indiana (179); 4. Wisconsin (162); 5. Penn State (147); 6. Purdue (123); 7. Ohio State (109); 8. Iowa (102); 9. Northwestern (74); 10. Nebraska (66); 11. Illinois (46); 12. Rutgers (43); 13. Michigan State (34).

Diving Results (Day Two): 1-Meter – 1. Minnesota (365.00), 23. Ford – OSU (249.15). 

Race Results (Day Two): 200 Freestyle Relay – 1. Wisconsin (1:27.70), 4. Li, Jongekrijg, McNichols, Dzierzak - OSU (1:29.41); 500 freestyle – 1. Indiana (4:37.83), 22. Ferrara – OSU (4:50.99); 200 IM – 1. Michigan (1:56.74), 2. Vance – OSU (1:57.26); 50 Freestyle – 1. Wisconsin (21.65), 2. Li – OSU (22.13). 

Race Results (Day One): 200 Medley Relay – 1. Wisconsin (1:36.82), 3. Li, Vance, Sprau, Jongekrijg – OSU, (1:37.55); 800 Freestyle Relay – 1. Indiana (6:59.10), 12. Gillig, Cook, Luchansky, Schmidtke – OSU, (7:16.16).

School Records: 200 Medley Relay – Li, Vance, Sprau, Jongekrijg (1:37.55); 50 Freestyle – Li (22.03); 200 Freestyle Relay – Li, Jongekrijg, McNichols, Dzierzak (1:29.41).