No. 22 Buckeyes Host Big Ten Championships in Columbus
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COLUMBUS, Ohio – A season of preparation and anticipation will materialize this week at McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion, as the 22nd-ranked Ohio State women’s swimming and diving team hosts the 2015 Big Ten Championships Wednesday, Feb. 18 through Saturday, Feb. 21 in Columbus, Ohio. The conference showcase commences Wednesday with timed finals of the 200 medley relay and 800 freestyle relay at 6:30 p.m. ET. Prelims will continue at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with finals scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start.
For complete meet coverage, please visit http://go.osu.edu/wswim_bigtens_home.
TICKETS, GET YOUR TICKETS
Tickets for the 2015 Big Ten Championships are on sale now and can be purchased on Ticketmaster.com or by calling the athletic ticket office at 1-800-745-3000. Tickets will also be available at the door, with the athletic ticket office opening 90 minutes before each session.
FOLLOW THE ACTION
A live video feed of Wednesday evening finals through Saturday morning prelims will be available on BTN Plus (subscription required). BTN will air Saturday’s finals session on Sunday, Feb. 22 at 9 a.m. ET.
IN THE RANKINGS
Ohio State ranks 22nd in the nation according to the latest Top 25 poll of Division I women’s teams conducted by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (Feb. 16). The Buckeyes are joined in the Top 25 by fellow Big Ten teams Minnesota (14), Indiana (15), Michigan (17), Purdue (21) and Wisconsin (24).
A RICH BIG TEN HISTORY
Ohio State has won five team Big Ten championships - consecutive between 1982-86 under coach Jim Montrella. The Buckeyes have also won 85 Big Ten swimming, diving and relay titles.
• 49 swimming individual champions; last was Ashley Vance (200 IM)
• 24 diving champions; last was Cheyenne Cousineau in 2012 (platform)
• 12 relay wins; last came in 1991 (400 and 800 freestyle relays)
LAST TIME AT BIG TENS
Taylor Vargo, a sophomore this season, set a school record in the 200 breaststroke (2:11.62) as Ohio State concluded the 2014 Big Ten Championships by finishing in fourth place. It was the fourth time in three days that the Buckeyes established a new school record, as Kristyn Fulcher and Ashley Vance also posted record-breaking times. Highlighted by a Big Ten title from Vance in the 200 individual medley, Ohio State registered three top-three finishes over the course of the championships.
BUCKEYES VS. THE B1G
The Buckeyes have posted nine individual Top 10 times in the Big Ten this season. Vance ranks first in the 200 individual medley (1:58.41), while Zhesi Li, Zulal Zeren, Amy Bopp and Lindsey Clary are also among the conference's standout performers. Clary ranks second in the 400 individual medley and fifth in the 1650 freestyle, while Vance is fourth in the 100 breaststroke and ninth in the 200 breaststroke. Also in the 200 breaststroke, Bopp claims the seventh-fastest mark. Li, a rookie this season, is sixth in the 50 freestyle and Zeren is eighth in the 200 backstroke.
This season, Ohio State has earned a dual meet record of 11-1 overall. The squad has faced three Big Ten foes head-to-head and are 2-1 in those meetings – Purdue (W), Michigan State (W) and Michigan (L).
With a mindset of strengthening the unit for postseason competition, the Buckeyes, under the direction of head swimming coach Bill Dorenkott, tested themselves early with a dual meet vs. Miami in Oxford, Ohio (Oct.23) to kick start three-consecutive days of competitive action. Up for the challenge, the Scarlet and Gray took down Purdue and Cincinnati (Oct. 24) at home before posting a road win over Ohio (Oct. 24).
“The goal in putting together a lot of dual meets early is really to gage where our team was,” Dorenkott said at the time. “We have a young team and wanted to try kids out in a lot of different events, maybe even build up a little toughness. It’s been a good compliment to our training thus far.”
The Buckeyes complimented their hot start with wins over Kenyon, Denison and Princeton, before hosting the 2014 Ohio State Invitational, Nov. 21-23. At the premier meet, the team decided to forgo the use of tech suits to again test their toughness. Finishing fourth overall, the Buckeyes posted 24 season-best times on the final day alone.
Following a break for winter training, Ohio State took down Toledo (Jan. 16), before splitting a pair of road meets vs. Michigan State and Michigan (Jan. 23-24). Ohio State defeated Michigan State by a margin of 148.5-93.5 in East Lansing, Mich., before dropping a hard-fought contest to No. 9 Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., 190-110. Senior diver Taylor Ford earned Ohio State Athlete of the Week accolades for her efforts. Ford picked up a win in the 1-meter event vs. Michigan State, then returned to her hometown of Ann Arbor, Mich. and received runner-up honors on the 1-meter apparatus against Michigan.
Ohio State recognized an outstanding class of seniors prior to its dual vs. Wright State. The list of veterans recognized included Lauren Davis, Taylor Ford, Aliena Schmidtke and Ashley Vance.
Davis hails from Austin, Texas. A Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, she has competed in three-consecutive Big Ten championship meets. Davis plans to attend optometry school at the University of Houston following graduation. An Academic All-Big Ten and Ohio State Scholar-Athlete selection, she was admitted to Houston’s optometry school before even showing up for an interview.
Ford is from Ann Arbor, Mich. She is a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar who has competed at three-consecutive Big Ten championship meets and is a three-time NCAA zone meet qualifier. An Academic All-Big Ten and Ohio State Scholar-Athlete selection, Ford is pursuing a degree in neuroscience.
Schmidtke is a Big Ten championship finalist who arrived in Columbus after an impressive freshman campaign at New Mexico State. A native of Magdeburg, Germany, she plans to continue her education at Ohio State while training for the Olympic Trials in Germany.
Vance is from Kingwood, Texas. She is a three-time Big Ten finalist who captured a conference title last season in the 200 individual medley. An NCAA qualifier and Ohio State Scholar-Athlete, Vance is currently the school-record holder in the 100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley. After earning her degree in English, she aspires to join the Peace Corps.
STUDENT-ATHLETES SHINE IN THE CLASSROOOM
Striving to showcase excellence both in the water and in the classroom, members of the women’s swimming contingent registered an excellent Autumn 2014 academic term. Two student-athletes, Bopp and Lauren Davis, even earned perfect 4.0 grade-point averages. As a unit, the Buckeyes posted a team GPA of 3.22 for Autumn Semester, bringing the Scarlet and Gray’s cumulative GPA to 3.32 overall.
BUCKEYES REP AT NATIONALS
Six Buckeye standouts suited up at USA Swimming’s 2014 AT&T Winter National Championships in Greensboro, N.C. Taking place December 3-6, the Buckeyes competed against some of the nation’s top swimming talent with sophomore Lindsey Clary securing a national title in the 400 individual medley (4:09.87).
"We are unbelieveably proud of Lindsey," Ohio State head swimming coach Bill Dorenkott said. "Her passion for the sport, willingness to prepare and ability to step up when the lights are bright are the hallmarks of a champion."
MAKING THE GRADE
Ohio State has earned 12 NCAA provisional times so far this season, while four Buckeyes currently hold one of the Top 50 times in the NCAA.
NCAA Provisional Qualifying Times
46. Li (22.62)
23. Clary (9:49.82)
18. Clary (16:13.63)
36. Vance (1:01.12)
34. Bopp (2:12.40)
26. Vance (1:58.41)
14. Clary (4:09.87)
BUCKEYE DIVING GIVES BACK
Members of the men and women’s diving team joined approximately 300 student-athletes, as well as 1,070 additional OSU students in Pay It Forward and Frank W. Hale Black Cultural Center’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Since 1999, students have traveled to various locations and organizations across the Columbus community to volunteer their time and efforts for a day “on,” rather than a day “off.”
Eli Boda, a 13-year old from Columbus, Ohio, was adopted by the Buckeyes through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation (FOJ), a non-profit, charitable organization formed in 2005 that aims to improve the quality of life for children with pediatric brain tumors and their families.
On May 19, 2014, Eli was diagnosed with a mass on his brain after a seizure caused him to unexpectedly collapse. Since then, a slew of radiation and chemotherapy has followed, taking a toll on both Eli and his loved ones. Now, Eli has an extended family in the Buckeyes to lean on for support during challenging times.