EMU, Ball State Up Next for No. 19 Ohio State

Annie Gillig
Annie Gillig

Jan. 23, 2014


COLUMBUS, Ohio - Eastern Michigan and Ball State are on slate to compete against the 19th-ranked Ohio State women's swimming and diving team (8-1, 1-1 Big Ten) Saturday in Ypsilanti, Mich. The Buckeyes have been on a bit of a grind to start the second half of the season, with their third road meet in as many weeks approaching. The tri-meet is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start time.

Senior Alex Norris racked up some individual accolades following her record-breaking performance at the Kenyon Winter Invite. She was first named Big Ten Women's Swimmer of the Week on Tuesday, and followed it up the next day as the CollegeSwimming.com Division I National Swimmer of the Week. Norris was a first-time recipient of both awards. 

At the Kenyon Winter Invite, Norris had a hand in setting four pool records - three individual, one relay. She set individual marks in the 200 freestyle (1:48.33), 500 freestyle (4:48.51) and 400 individual medley (4:21.77), while also swimming on the record-setting 400 freestyle relay team (3:26.67).

The Buckeyes are currently ranked 19th among NCAA Division 1 programs in the latest poll released by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (Jan. 16). Along with Ohio State, five other teams hailing from the Big Ten Conference made the cut - No. 11 Indiana, No. 13 Minnesota, No. 17 Penn State, No. 18 Purdue and No. 21 Michigan.



Ohio State continued building momentum with a first-place finish at the Kenyon Winter invite last weekend. It was a strong showing for the squad as pool records fell on both days of action. On the second day alone, the Buckeyes touched first in all eight events and set three pool records, bringing their total to five for the meet. Overall, Ohio State totaled 795.5 points, ahead of Cincinnati (279), Oakland (246), Kenyon (244.5) and Ashland (140).

Eastern Michigan has earned an overall record of 6-3 thus far this season. The squad has faced a total of three Big Ten opponents - Northwestern, Illinois and Michigan State - in dual meet action, coming out victorious to only the Spartans. Led by head coach Peter Linn, Eastern Michigan placed fourth last season at the Mid-American Conference Championships. At the NCAA Championships, the 2012-13 contingent took 27th.

Ball State, on the other hand, is 3-4 in dual meet action this season. The team most recently swam to a 164-62 win over Eastern Illinois Jan. 18. Prior to that, Ball State recorded victories over IUPUI (176-120) and Xavier (219-72). Last season, the Cardinals placed seventh at the Mid-American Conference Championships.

The Buckeyes have 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. The following list includes Ohio State's fastest times in each competitive event, as well as its national and conference standing.

Top Buckeye National/Big Ten Times:

64. Michelle Williams (22.81); 7th B1G

100 FREE
48. Michelle Williams (49.44); 7th B1G

200 FREE
53. Aliena Schmidtke (1:46.99); 9th B1G

500 FREE
32. Alex Norris (4:43.16); 6th B1G

1000 FREE
20. Kelly Ann Baird (9:53.40); 4th B1G

1650 FREE
41. Kelly Ann Baird (16:27.04); 9th B1G

100 BACK
128. Annie Gillig (55.11); 15th B1G

200 BACK
77. Annie Gillig (1:58.00); 11th B1G

69. Taylor Vargo (1:02.27); 7th B1G

55. Taylor Vargo (2:13.88); 7th B1G

100 FLY
47. Aliena Schmidtke (53.58); 5th B1G

200 FLY
81. 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); 5th B1G

13. Williams, Schmidtke, Norris, Cater (3:17.42); 2nd B1G

13. Schmidtke, Norris, Cater, Luchansky (7:13.28); 4th B1G

52. Dona, Dzierzak, Norris, Vance (1:42.18); 9th B1G

55. 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.

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 Cater, Rachael 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."

Ohio State is back at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion next weekend, Jan.31-Feb. 1, when it races against No. 21 Michigan and Nebraska. The meet on Jan. 31 begins at 6 p.m. while action on Feb. 1 gets started at 11 a.m. Prior to the Feb. 1 meet, the Buckeyes will honor their senior graduating seniors.