COLUMBUS, Ohio, January 8. THERE was a time not long ago when other Ohio colleges and universities expected to defeat Ohio State in the pool, and in some cases did. Ohio University defeated Ohio State as recently as 2007. Toledo was so pumped up for its home meet against the Buckeyes last year that the Rockets' athletics department televised the meet locally and Rocket fans were tailgating outside.
And when Toledo swimmers won four of the first five races to take an early lead in the meet, the place was rocking and in the words of third-year Ohio State coach Bill Dorenkott, "it was a most formidable environment."
But since Dorenkott arrived as Ohio State coach, bringing the ultra competitive Stefanie Williams in as his assistant, the expectations of Ohio State's Ohio opponents has been tempered. Ohio State came back to win seven of the final nine races last year against Toledo to escape with a 161-133 victory. Toledo, it should be noted, would go on to win its first Mid American Conference championship in February.
The rematch between the teams was Saturday at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion. The No. 18-ranked Buckeyes took Toledo's best shot – the Rockets won five races – but still cruised to a 177-117 win over UT to improve to 14-0 vs. other Ohio schools in Dorenkott's three years as coach. The win also improved Ohio State's record to 6-0 this season.
Leading the way for Ohio State was Megan Detro, who had two individual wins plus was part of two relay wins, three-time winner Samantha Cheverton, and double diving winner Bianca Alvarez.
"We swam better than we did last night, but last night served a purpose to shake the rust off a long layoff," Dorenkott said. "We improved on some things today but we still have things we need to get better at before Big Tens."
Ohio State's 200 medley relay team of Kelsey Moran, Angela Severn, Alex Norris and Detro opened the meet with a win in 1:43.99.
After Toledo pulled even in the team score at 18-apiece with a win in the 1000 free and three of the top four places, Ohio State regained the lead when team captains Cheverton and Anita Beck touched first and third, respectively, in the 200 free for a 30-25 lead.
Kelsey Moran followed with a win in her specialty stroke, the 100 backstroke in 56.75 with Emily Creran taking third, increasing the Ohio State lead to 45-29.
Toledo, under the direction of first-year coach Liz Hinkleman, came back with a one-three finish in the 100 breaststroke, though, to get to within nine at 51-42.
Norris, just a freshman, won her third event of the weekend – the 200 butterfly after winning it and the 500 free Friday night vs. Wright State – with Beck touching in third to extend the Ohio State lead to 66-46.
When Megan Detro led a one-two-three sweep in the 50 freestyle, Ohio State's lead had grown to 83-48 and it was the home team that was suddenly looking formidable. Detro's winning time was 23.74 with freshmen Michelle Williams and Phoebe Cater finishing in second and third, respectively.
Alvarez was first on the three-meter springboard with 377.70 points. She would follow with a win on 1-meter (319.88), giving her four wins on the weekend after her sweep of both boards Friday vs. Wright State.
Detro then followed her 50 free win with another sprint victory in the 100 free in 51.10. But back came Toledo, with back-to-back wins in the 200 backstroke and 200 breaststroke that made the score 119-85 Buckeyes.
Cheverton calmed the Rocket run, though, winning the 500 free in 4:53.87 with Beck picking up her third "third" of the meet. Freshman Cater then won the her second 100 butterfly in less than 18 hours with a winning time of 57.03 and the Buckeyes' lead had grown to 155-103 heading into the final two events of the afternoon.
The Buckeyes closed the meet with a win in the 400 medley relay. The team of Detro, Cater, Williams and Cheverton won in 3:28.72.
Ohio State is off next week. The team will host Michigan State at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22 in its next meet.
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