Columbus, Ohio— This past weekend, some of the Big Ten’s best swimmers competed against USA Swimming in the inaugural USA College Challenge. Ohio State was well represented at the event.
On the women’s side, Lindsey Clary, Liz Li, and Taylor Vargo represented the Buckeyes while Josh Fleagle, Ching Lim, Matt McHugh, and Thomas Trace represented the men. Head coach Bill Wadley was also named to the men’s team’s coaching staff.
Here is the list of events each Buckeye swimmer competed in over the weekend:
Clary: 400 IM, 500 freestyle, 1000 freestyle
Li: 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle, 100 butterfly, 400 freestyle relay, 400 medley relay
Vargo: 200 breaststroke
Fleagle: 200 freestyle, 400 freestyle relay, 400 medley relay, 800 freestyle relay
Lim: 200 butterfly, 400 freestyle relay, 800 freestyle relay
McHugh: 50 freestyle, 100 butterfly, 100 backstroke, 400 freestyle relay, 400 medley relay
Trace: 200 backstroke
The weekend produced several impressive times for the Buckeyes. Most notably, Li set a new Big Ten record in the 100 fly with her time of 51.42. The performance also automatically qualifies her for NCAA Championships and is the fastest in the NCAA this season. She finished second in that race, only trailing American record holder and Olympian Kelsi Worrell. Li also posted an NCAA A time in the 50 freestyle (21.72, fastest in the country this year), an event she won. Nine total Big Ten swimmers won an individual event, including three on the women’s side, so Li put herself in elite company.
Li was also an important part of the Big Ten’s 400 freestyle and medley relays, leading the conference to second and third place finishes in those events, respectively. The USA team started the meet on a high note, setting an American record in the 400 medley relay (3:25.60).
Clary shined brightest in the 400 IM, her time of 4:05.90 currently puts her atop the NCAA leaderboard and all but assured her a spot at NCAA’s. She also had strong showings in the 500 (4:43.22) and 1000 free (9:37.99). Vargo appeared in the 200 breaststroke for the Big Ten, recording a time of 2:12.53 in the same event she competed in during this summer’s Olympic Trials.
On the men’s side, both Fleagle and McHugh are now the owners of Top 3 times in the NCAA. Fleagle posted a B cut time in the 200 freestyle and earned points for the Big Ten with his mark of 1:35.77. For McHugh, he now sits third in the country in the 100 butterfly (46.78), an event he won a Big Ten title in last season. Like Fleagle, this time also secured points for the Big Ten and was well under the NCAA provisional standard.
Both of these seniors were also fixtures during relay events for the Big Ten team. Fleagle helped the 400 medley, 400 and 800 freestyle relays to strong finishes, including close second place finishes in the latter two. McHugh was a part of the second place-finishing 400 free relay too, swimming with his teammate in the final event of the meet.
Like McHugh, Lim also participate in two relays. His foursome had a strong showing in the 400 free relay, and in the 800 free relay his 1:37.26 split was fastest among his third place-finishing team. Individually, his time of 1:45.86 in the 200 butterfly was good for a third place finish and puts him 11th in the country right now (second in the Big Ten). Trace had a good weekend as well; he posted a strong time of 1:45.04 in the 200 backstroke, which not puts him in the Top 12 in the country and third in the Big Ten so far this year.
Overall, Team USA came out on top 349-247 over the All-Stars from the Big Ten.
“I could not be more proud of our women,” head coach Bill Dorenkott said. “They relished the opportunity to step up against some of the best competition in the United States and compete. The results speak for themselves. Word is getting out that Ohio State is a swimming destination for those who desire to be elite.”
Ohio State will return to the pool this weekend for its annual Fall Invitational. Competition begins Friday and runs all weekend, visit our 2016 Fall Invite page for more information.