COLUMBUS, Ohio – Fourteen standouts from the Ohio State men’s and women’s swimming programs 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 and came away with national titles in two events.
On the women’s side, sophomore Lindsey Clary earned a first-place finish in the 400 individual medley on Friday.
"We are unbelieveably proud of Lindsey," Ohio State women's swimming head 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."
The men’s team concluded the meet Saturday with a national championship of their own, this time in the 400 freestyle relay event.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to win a national championship in the 400 freestyle relay because relays are the ultimate team event,” Ohio State men's swimming head coach Bill Wadley said. “These young men are very excited and this is such a fun, memorable moment in the lives of our team and this group. They will enjoy this moment and look forward to building and earning other opportunities down the road.”
Ohio State representatives at the meet included Mike DiSalle, Josh Fleagle, DJ MacDonald, Matt McHugh, Rowan Williams, Steffen Hillmer, Tamas Gercsak and Steven Zimmerman on the men’s side, as well as Ashley Vance, Clary, Erin Dunseith, Annie Jongekrijg, Zulal Zeren and Amy Bopp from the women’s team.
Full recaps of each day of competition follows below:
Nationals kicked off with an evening of relay competition. The Buckeye men battled in both scheduled events – the 200 medley relay and 800 freestyle relay. In the 200 medley relay, Ohio State’s contingent of Zimmerman, MacDonald, McHugh and Fleagle placed fourth, clocking in at a season-best time of 1:26.42. The squad also finished Top 5 in the 800 freestyle relay, touching fourth behind swims from DiSalle, Fleagle, Hillmer and Williams. It was once again a season-best mark for the Scarlet and Gray, with a time of 6:25.21.
Former Buckeye Samantha Cheverton started finals off with a fourth-place showing in the B Final of the 500 freestyle in a time of 4:43.77. In prelims of the event, Dunseith and Clary also competed, swimming to 46th and 50th-place touches, respectively. Dunseith's time of 4:52.17 was a season best. Ohio State also had a representative in the B Final of the 200 individual medley, with Vance posting a season-best time of 1:58.41 for second. Bopp, a junior this season, competed in prelims, touching 33rd in 2:01.82, also a season best.
On the men's side, Ohio State's grouping of Zimmerman, MacDonald, McHugh and DiSalle placed third in a season-best time of 3:10.04 in the 400 medley relay. Buckeyes Williams and Hillmer each qualified for finals of the 500 freestyle, with Williams taking seventh in the B Final with a mark of 4:24.79. Hillmer recorded his top time of the season, finishing fourth in the C Final in 4:23.81. In the 200 individual medley, Gercsak touched third in the B Final (1:46.88), while Fleagle repped the Scarlet and Gray in the B Final of the 50 freestyle with a time of 19.75.
It was a defining day for Ohio State women's swimming and Clary, as the Buckeye sophomore claimed a national title In the 400 individual medley. In finals, Clary posted a personal-best time of 4:09.87 for a first-place finish. The time was approximately five seconds under her previous fastest-recorded time as a Buckeye (4:15.01), which she also topped in prelims (4:14.43).
Cheverton also impressed with a second-place showing in the B Final of the 200 freestyle (1:47.04). In the 100 breaststroke, Vance touched fifth in the B Final with a season-best time of 1:01.14. Zeren became the fourth Buckeye woman to advance past prelims for the day, recording a 54.86 in the 100 backstroke for eighth in the C Final.
The Ohio State men brought out their best, led by a third-place finish for Fleagle in the 200 freestyle. Fleagle earned a time of 1:34.33, which was a season best. Three other Buckeyes – DiSalle, Hillmer and Williams - also qualified for finals in the event. DiSalle took eighth in the B Final, while Hillmer and Williams claimed fourth and seventh in the C Final.
In the 400 individual medley, Gercsak posted a Top 5 time of 3:47.20 in the A Final, which was also a season best. MacDonald, a member of the U.S. National Team, placed 10th overall in the 100 breaststroke in a season-best time of 53.68. The 100 backstroke rounded out individual events for the evening. Williams qualified for the A Final, taking seventh overall, while Buckeyes McHugh and Zimmerman followed in ninth and tenth, respectively.
The Buckeye men also competed in the 200 freestyle relay. The quartet of Fleagle, DISalle, Hillmer and McHugh earned a season-best time of 1:19.04 for a third-place showing.
On Saturday, Ohio State put together another national title winning performance, this time on the men’s side. Buckeyes Fleagle, DiSalle, McHugh and Hillmer placed first in the 400 freestyle relay, outlasting the University of Louisville and Club Wolverine by less than a second. OSU’s time of 2:53.04 was a season best.
The team also saw standout performances on the individual side, as Gercsak and Fleagle both earned Top 3 finishes. Gercsak touched in a season-best time of 1:44.45 for third in the 200 butterfly, while Fleagle picked up his second third-place individual showing of the meet in the 100 freestyle with a time of 43.09, a season best. In the 200 breaststroke, MacDonald came away with the third-fastest time in the B Final (1:57.49).
Two Buckeyes qualified for finals in the 200 backstroke, with Williams placing eighth in the A Final (1:44.79) and Zimmerman claiming the top time in the B Final (1:43.21).
On the women’s side, Clary continued to build an impressive resume with a 10th-place showing in the 1650 freestyle (16:17.53). Her teammate Dunseith also competed in the event, posting a season-best time of 16:51.89.
Zeren earned a spot in the C Final of the 200 backstroke, recording the second-fastest time of the race with a season-best mark of 1:56.27. Previously, Zeren had not broken the 2-minute barrier this season.
Jongekrijg repped with Buckeyes with a season-best 50.19 in the 100 freestyle for 16th overall. Two Buckeyes – Vance and Bopp – qualified for finals in the 200 breaststroke. Vance earned 16th overall in 2:15.14, while Bopp took 17th in 2:12.40 – both times were season bests. Bopp concluded the meet for OSU with a seventh-place finish in the B Final of the 200 butterfly (2:00.48).