No. 16 Buckeyes Back In Action With Toledo Dual

Phoebe Cater
Phoebe Cater

Jan. 9, 2014


COLUMBUS, Ohio - The 16th-ranked Ohio State women's swimming and diving team (7-1, 1-1 Big Ten) begins the second portion of its season Saturday with a dual vs. Toledo. Scheduled for 1 p.m. at UT's Student Recreation Center, the meet will mark the first competitive action for the Buckeyes since before the winter academic break.

Although classes were on hiatus, Ohio State has been hard at work training for their upcoming slate. The squad looks to progress off a first half of the season, which saw the Buckeyes positioned among the nation's elite.

Ohio State has been particularly effective in relay events with the 400 freestyle contingent of Michelle Williams, Aliena Schmidtke, Alex Norris and Phoebe Cater clocking in a time of 3:17.42 at the Ohio State Invitational. The time currently ranks 13th-fastest nationally and second in the Big Ten.

Individually, distance specialist Kelly Ann Baird holds a Top 20 national time in the 1000 freestyle (18th; 9:53.40). The Buckeye senior is fourth-fastest among conference competitors in the event.



Top Buckeye National/Big Ten Times:
59. Michelle Williams (22.81); 7th B1G
100 FREE
50. Michelle Williams (49.44); 7th B1G
200 FREE
53. Aliena Schmidtke (1:46.99); 9th B1G
500 FREE
31. Alex Norris (4:43.16); 6th B1G
1000 FREE
18. Kelly Ann Baird (9:53.40); 4th B1G
1650 FREE
41. Kelly Ann Baird (16:27.04); 9th B1G
100 BACK
131. Annie Gillig (55.11); 15th B1G
200 BACK
77. Annie Gillig (1:58.00); 12th B1G
69. Taylor Vargo (1:02.27); 7th B1G
55. Taylor Vargo (2:13.88); 7th B1G
100 FLY
46. Aliena Schmidtke (53.58); 5th B1G
200 FLY
80. Amy Bopp (1:59.51); 14th B1G
200 IM
78. Ashley Vance (2:00.97); 12th B1G
400 IM
45. Lindsey Clary (4:15.01); 8th B1G
23. Williams, Cater, Schmidtke, Jongekrijg (1:31.40); 6th B1G
13. Williams, Schmidtke, Norris, Cater (3:17.42); 2nd B1G
13. Schmidtke, Norris, Cater, Luchansky (7:13.28); 4th B1G
50. Dona, Dzierzak, Norris, Vance (1:42.18); 9th B1G
54. Davis, Dzierzak, Cater, Baird (3:44.53); 8th B1G

Under the guidance of head coaches Bill Dorenkott and Justin Sochor, the squad has established an overall record of 7-1 record (1-1, Big Ten) thus far this season.

Ohio State opened the 2013-14 campaign with a resounding 195-104 over Kentucky in Lexington, Ky. In all, the Buckeyes had 10 different members earn at least one victory. Sophomore Annie Gillig led the charge with three individual wins, while freshman Amy Bopp contributed two individual victories.

From that point on it was full steam ahead for OSU. Ohio State recorded its second win of the season with a 191-99 performance over Kenyon College in a home dual (Oct. 25). The Buckeyes posted 14 top-times on the swimming side, as well as a pair of wins from diver Taylor Ford.

The Scarlet and Gray only continued building momentum Nov. 1 with wins posted against Cleveland State (252-48), Denison (251.5-48.5) and Virginia Tech (191-109). The quad-meet resulted in 12 of 16 events awarded in OSU's favor. 

Then it was on to West Lafayette, Ind. to face the team's first Big Ten opposition - Northwestern and Purdue (Nov.8). Behind tough, gutty performances, Ohio State defeated the Wildcats, 211-89, but fell to the host Boilermakers, 157-143. Individual first-place finishers for the Buckeyes were Kelly Ann Baird, Lindsey Clary and Alex Norris.

After a competitive Big Ten opener, OSU returned to Columbus to take on Ohio University the very next day (Nov. 9). The Buckeyes defeated their in-state foe, 193-106.

The first half of the season rounded out with the eighth-annual Ohio State Invitational, Nov. 22-24. This season the meet featured No. 5 Florida, Kentucky, No. 12 Virginia, No. 16 Purdue, as well as the then 19th-ranked Buckeyes. After three days of competition, OSU placed third with 616.50 points earned.

The Toledo Rockets are led by former Ohio State men's swimming assistant coach Chris Peters. Prior to taking the helm at Toledo, Peters spent two seasons (2011, 2012) with the Buckeyes under head coach Bill Wadley.

This season, Peters' Rockets have been off to a solid start, posting wins over Division III powerhouse Denison, Buffalo, Ball State and Eastern Michigan. The squad's lone loss of the 2013-14 campaign, thus far, came to Michigan, who downed the Rockets 221-79. Toledo was last in action at the Zippy Invitational in Akron, Ohio, where the team placed third overall.

Ohio State maintained a four-year run of top-five Big Ten finishes with a fourth-place effort last season. Adding to that effort were point scorers Kelly Ann Baird, Phoebe CaterRachael Dzierzak, Taylor Ford, Kristyn Fulcher, Annie Gillig, Annie Jongekrijg, Katy Luchansky, Alex Norris, Aliena Schmidtke, Ashley Vance and Michelle Williams.

The Buckeyes also bring back four NCAA qualifiers. Cater, Jongekrijg, Norris and Williams will all bring back the experience they gained at the premier national meet.

"We're a very young team from an experience standpoint," Dorenkott said. "The girls have done a good job this summer to get a good start from a training perspective, and that I'm very excited about. We have a couple freshmen who are going to end up being pretty darn good and that's always a positive thing."

Justin Sochor was named head coach of the Ohio State diving team. Sochor, who was head coach for Team USA at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona, this past summer is no stranger to the remarkable Buckeye diving program.

The 2010 USA Diving Junior National Coach of the Year, Sochor transitioned from a three-year stint at the helm of the U.S. Elite Diving Academy to the program manager and head coach of the Ohio State Diving Club in 2010. Sochor, who was a volunteer assistant coach for the Buckeyes from 2007-10, worked closely with former coach Vince Panzano and considers his predecessor as his coaching mentor.

"Mike Peppe, Ron O'Brien and Vince Panzano. For more than 80 years, these three men have created the finest diving community for student-athletes to achieve their highest level of success personally, competitively and academically," Sochor said. "These coaches have inspired me to continue the tradition of excellence at this great university. I am truly honored and humbled to step forward as the fourth head diving coach of the Buckeyes."

Most recently, Sochor led the Ohio State Diving Club to back-to-back overall national titles at the 2013 USA Diving Junior National Championships Aug. 10 in Minneapolis, Minn. The OSU boys club also claimed a national championship.

The Buckeyes will return to competition Jan. 17-18 for the Kenyon Winter Invite in Gambier, Ohio. The two-day event is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. Friday start and 11 a.m. kick off Saturday.