ANN ARBOR, Michigan, February 28. TODAY’S prelims at the men’s Big 10 swimming and diving championships set up some potentially great races for tonight’s finals, with the Michigan Wolverines again at the helm with top seeds in all five swimming events.
After a battle in the 200 IM last night, Kyle Whitaker and Dylan Bosch are set to go head-to-head in the 400 IM final tonight. Whitaker nearly broke Tyler Clary’s meet record of 3:38.03 with a 3:38.93. It’s a personal best for the Michigan senior, whose previous standard was a 3:40.94 from last year’s Big 10 meet. He becomes the 16th person in history to crack the 3:40 barrier, and puts him second in the collegiate rankings this season, just three hundredths of a second ahead of Florida’s Dan Wallace. Bosch posted 3:41.56 for the second-fastest qualifying time, a personal best by six tenths of a second. Connor Jaeger, who swam this race at Big 10s last year but opted for the 200 free at NCAAs, qualified third in 3:43.49, another lifetime best. Last year’s champion, Indiana’s Stephen Schmuhl, qualified fourth with a 3:43.56.
Ohio State’s Tim Phillips, who sat out the fall semester to train with the SwimMAC Carolina Elite Team, qualified first in the 100 fly with a 45.57. That’s a lifetime best by just four hundredths of a second, beating the 45.61 he swam at last December’s USA Swimming nationals. He’ll chase the meet record of 45.45 by Chris Brady in finals. Right now, he’s second in the collegiate standings and will also target Giles Smith’s nation-leading 44.73.
Phillips posted on Twitter recently that he tore one of his pectoral muscles, so a lifetime best after a major injury bodes well for the 23-year-old.
— Tim Phillips (@timphil1) February 27, 2014
Michael Wynalda, who stunned with a 1:30.60 relay split on the NCAA record-setting 800 free relay Wednesday, qualified first in the 200 free prelims with a meet record 1:32.14. That erased Anders Nielsen’s 1:33.20 from last year, and after Wednesday’s swim, puts Simon Burnett’s NCAA and U.S. Open record of 1:31.20 on notice. Nielsen is in the final tonight, qualifying sixth with a 1:34.95. Nicholas Caldwell of Wisconsin is the second qualifier with a 1:34.10.
Bruno Ortiz and Richard Funk will battle to determine the top sprint breaststroker on Michigan’s squad tonight. Ortiz posted a 51.92 for top seed with Funk right behind in 52.05. Indiana’s Cody Miller (52.23), the defending champion, and Purdue’s Lyam Dias (52.90) will also be in the hunt.
Penn State qualified 1-2 in the 100 backstroke prelims, with Duel in the Pool participant Shane Ryan posting a 45.48 over the 45.86 by teammate Nate Savoy. It’s a personal best for both of them by a few tenths of a second, and would mark the first Penn State victory at the Big 10 meet since 2003. Eric Ress of Indiana will be looking to improve on the 45.52 split he posted in yesterday’s 400 medley relay, qualifying third with a 46.06. Defending champion James Wells, also of Indiana, was fourth with a 46.38.
The 200 free relay will be swum as timed finals tonight, and Michigan is likely to take the win, but Ohio State and Penn State have strong sprinters that could challenge.