COLUMBUS, Ohio, December 7. OHIO State won its own swimming and diving invitational for a second consecutive year with two more wins Sunday and a winning total of 1,364 points. Minnesota was second among the 11 teams (five teams sent divers only) with 784 points and West Virginia was third with 447 points.
It was a terrific three-day effort by the Buckeyes. The team won 12 of the 18 swimming races over the three days with seven different Buckeyes registering an individual win or wins and eight Buckeyes a part of a victorious relay team or teams.
"It is special to have that many swimmers who are capable of being champions," Ohio State coach Bill Wadley said. "They are learning how to win…learning what it feels like to win at this level, and that's one of the hardest things to do because they are competing against everyone else who is so good."
Leading the way for Ohio State Sunday was Sam Pelkey, who won the 200 breaststroke in 1:58.99 after taking the 100 breaststroke on Saturday. Pelkey, the defending Big Ten champion in the 200 breaststroke, moved ahead in the last 50 yards after he and runner-up Justin Farra and third-place finisher Elliott Keefer were in a virtual tie after 150 yards.
"To have four breaststrokers under two minutes is really, really special," Wadley said, referring to Pelkey, Farra, Keefer and Daniel Malnik's efforts in the 200. "I don't think there are two or three schools in the nation that can have four guys do that at this point in the season."
In one of the best races of the day, Quincy Lee overtook teammate Luke Stirton on the final turn to win the 200 butterfly in 1:46.29. Stirton was second in 1:46.87.
"I stayed underwater as long as I could on the last turn," Lee, who missed the school record by two-tenths, said. "I think everyone's last 25 falls apart a bit, and I tried to avoid that as much as possible by staying under."
"Two more special swims," Wadley said, of Lee and Stirton's butterfly swims.
Additionally, Stefan Sigrist, who set a meet record Friday in winning the 500 freestyle, was runner-up in the 1,650 freestyle with Mark Neiman third. And Phl Seleskie and Andrew Elliott went two-three in the 200 backstroke with outstanding times of 1:45.26 and 1:46.15, respectively.
Wes Wieser took second on the 10-meter platform with 402.45 points.
The Ohio State women's swimming and diving team capped a fine weekend by taking runner-up honors at its own Swimming and Diving Invitational with 784 points. Minnesota won the meet with 1,125 points. Six schools sent swimmers and divers to the meet and an additional six more sent divers only.
"Overall, I'm pleased with our effort," second-year Ohio State swimming coach Bill Dorenkott said. "I don't think we swam all that fast, but our efforts were consistent throughout the meet."
A pair of runner-up swims highlighted the team's Sunday efforts. First, junior Samantha Cheverton and senior Jill Lockhart went two-three in the 200 backstroke. Emily Creran and Haley Mitchell added to the 60-point event for Ohio State by finishing in fifth- and eighth-place, respectively.
Freshman Megan Detro followed with a second-place effort in the 50 freestyle in a time of 50.32.
The 400 freestyle relay team of Detro, Anita Beck, Cheverton and Mitchell also placed second in 3:21.85.
What a difference a year has made. The team's second-place performance was a significant improvement from one year ago at this meet, when Ohio State finished fourth and trailed Minnesota by 837 points, Penn State by 409 points and Notre Dame by 24.
"We were a better swimming team this past summer than we were last year," Dorenkott said. "And we're a better team now. The swimmers are getting accustomed to our processes and expectations. And they are understanding there is a difference between just swimming fast and swimming fast with proper technique."
Katelyn Brix, who had a terrific invitational with three finals swims, including a third-place finish Sunday in the 200 breaststroke, couldn't help but smile when the subject of last year vs. this year came up in a discussion.
"We have come so far as a team and we have much more confidence this year," the junior from Brentwood, Calif., said. "We all have the same goal of learning how to race and wanting to race. The upperclassmen understand this and it is rubbing off on all the freshman that our goal is to race and to compete."
Colleen Schweitzer, one of seven senior swimmers on the team, and who swam in finals in both the 100 breaststroke Saturday and the 200 breaststroke Sunday (she finished sixth), said the team is becoming believers.
"Bill always tells us to believe in yourself," Schweitzer said, "and people on this team are really starting to believe in themselves."
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