Ten Buckeyes to Contend at NCAA Championships

March 17, 2015




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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ten members from the 22nd-ranked Ohio State women's swimming and diving team will suit up at the 2015 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships this week at Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, N.C. With a contingent of 10 national qualifiers, this season marks the fifth-consecutive Ohio State has qualified nine or more competitors for the premier meet.

Competition is scheduled to take place Thursday through Saturday. Under the direction of head women's swimming coach Bill Dorenkott and assistant Jordan Wolfrum, Ohio State will feature nine swimmers at the championships, including Ashley Vance, Aliena Schmidtke, Rachael Dzierzak, Lindsey Clary, Taylor Vargo, Zhesi Li, Annie Jongekrijg, Annelise Sprau and Macie McNichols.

Guided by head diving coach Justin Sochor, senior Taylor Ford will contend at her first NCAA championship meet. She qualified in the platform event at the NCAA Zone C championships held March 12-14 at McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion in Columbus, Ohio.

THE BASICS
Name: 2015 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships
Facility: Greensboro Aquatic Center - Greensboro, N.C.
Order of Events
Thursday, March 19
Prelims: 11 a.m.
200 Free Relay
500 Free
200 IM
50 Free
400 Medley Relay
1-Meter Diving (1:45 p.m.)
Finals: 7 p.m.
200 Free Relay
500 Free Relay
200 IM
50 Free
1-Meter Diving
400 Medley Relay

Friday, March 20
Prelims: 11 a.m.
200 Medley Relay
400 IM
100 Fly
200 Free
100 Breast
100 Back
800 Free Relay
3-Meter Diving (1:45 p.m.)
Finals: 7 p.m.
200 Medley Relay
400 IM
100 Fly
200 Free
100 Breast
100 Back
3-Meter Diving
800 Free Relay

Saturday, March 21
Prelims: 11 a.m.
200 Back
100 Free
200 Breast
200 Fly
400 Free Relay
Platform Diving (1:45 p.m.)
1,650 Free
Finals: 7 p.m.
1,650 Freestyle
200 Back
100 Free
200 Breast
200 Fly
Platform Diving
400 Free Relay

WATCH IT LIVE
ESPN3 will supply coverage for finals on Friday and Saturday. Sam Gore will present play-by-play, while Rowdy Gaines and Cynthia Potter will provide commentary. All other sessions will stream on GoPack.com.

NCAA HISTORY
Ohio State has earned two Top 10 finishes at the NCAA championships - 10th in 1983 and a program-best seventh in 1994. The Buckeyes have registered 12 Top 20 finishes, with the last coming in 2012 when the team placed 20th overall. Last season, Ohio State sent a contingent of nine swimmers and tallied eight points for a 41st-place finish.

Most Recent Team Finishes:
2014 - 41st
2013 - 28th
2012 - 20th
2011 - 17th
2010 - 22nd

NCAA CHAMPIONS
Five individuals have won NCAA titles during their time at Ohio State: Janelle Bosse (400 IM in 1987); Karen LaFace (1-meter diving in 1987); Kim Fugett (3-meter diving in 1988); Natalie Diea (10-meter platform in 2003) and Chelsea Davis (3-meter diving in 2008).

ALL-AMERICANS AND MORE
Twenty-eight Buckeye swimmers have earned All-America accolades, with 54 recognitions handed out among that group. The last swimming All-American was Gulsah Gunenc in 2006. Forty-seven diving All-America honors have been distributed to 21 Buckeye divers. Former Ohio State standout Cheyenne Cousineau was the last to receive the recognition in 2013.

BACK TO THE B1G
Hosted by the Buckeyes at McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion, Ohio State had an outstanding meet overall at the 2015 Big Ten Women's Swimming and Diving Championships, earning six school records and 12 Top 5 finishes. Minnesota was crowned the conference's champion with 618.5 points, while Indiana claimed second. Michigan, Wisconsin and Purdue rounded out the conference's Top 5.

Buckeyes Clary, Dzierzak, Li and Vance received Second Team All-Big Ten accolades at the conclusion of the meet. School records were set by Ohio State's 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay, as well as Li in the 50 freestyle, Dzierzak in the 100 breaststroke and Clary in the 400 individual medley and 1650 freestyle.

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, Amy 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.

INTRODUCING THE BUCKEYES
The following student-athletes have qualified to compete at the NCAA championships:

Taylor Ford
Platform Dive
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, Ford is a senior pursuing a degree in neuroscience.

Aliena Schmidtke
100 Fly
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 is a senior who, following the season, plans to continue her education at Ohio State while training for the Olympic Trials in Germany.

Ashley Vance
200 IM, 100 Breast
Vance is a senior from Kingwood, Texas. She is a three-time Big Ten finalist who captured a runner-up finish in the 200 individual medley at the Big Ten meet this season. A two-time NCAA qualifier and Ohio State Scholar-Athlete, she is currently the school-record holder in the 200 individual medley. After earning her degree in English, Vance aspires to join the Peace Corps.

Rachael Dzierzak
100 Breast
Dzierzak is a junior from Perrysburg, Ohio. She will be making her first appearance at the NCAA championships, competing in the same event she recently set a school record in at the Big Ten championships, the 100 breaststroke. An Ohio State Scholar-Athlete who plans to major in architecture, Dzierzak suited up alongside the school record-breaking 200 freestyle relay at Big Tens.

Lindsey Clary
400 IM, 1650 Free
Clary is a sophomore from Riverside, Calif. She was one of two Buckeye rookies to qualify for individual events at the NCAA championships last season, swimming in the 1650 freestyle, 400 individual medley and 500 freestyle. This season, she set school records in the 400 individual medley and 1650 freestyle at Big Tens, earning Second Team All-Big Ten honors. Clary is majoring in communications.

Taylor Vargo
200 Breast
Vargo is a sophomore from Sandusky, Ohio. Along with Clary, she was one of two Buckeye rookies invited to the NCAA championships last season. A school-record holder in the 200 breaststroke, she placed fifth in the event at Big Tens. An Ohio State Scholar-Athlete, Vargo plans to major in biology.

Zhesi Li
50 Free, 100 Free
Li is a freshman from Shenyang, China. With a breakout performance at Big Tens, Li broke Ohio State's school record in the 50 freestyle while earning Second Team All-Big Ten honors. This season, she has posted the team's fastest times in both the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle events.

Annie Jongekrijg
Relay Alternate
Jongekrijg is a junior from Lake Orion, Mich. A staple for Ohio State's coveted relays, she contributed to school record-breaking marks in the 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay at Big Tens. Also a relay alternate for the Buckeye last season, Jongekrijg will be making her second appearance at the NCAA championships. An Ohio State Scholar-Athlete, Jongekrijg plans to major in chemistry.

Annelise Sprau
Relay Alternate
Sprau is a sophomore from Whitefish Bay, Wis. Suiting up for her first NCAA championship appearance, Sprau recently helped set an Ohio State record in the 200 medley relay at Big Tens. Majoring in biology, she earned Ohio State Scholar-Athlete recognition last season.

Macie McNichols
Relay Alternate
McNichols is a freshman from Brecksville, Ohio. She will be making her first appearance at the NCAA championships. At Big Tens, McNichols swam a leg of Ohio State's record-breaking 200 freestyle relay. A sprint freestyle standout, she holds the Buckeyes' third-fastest time in the 50 freestyle this season.