5 Storylines for a B1G Weekend in Big Ten action

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Photo Courtesy: Andy Ringgold

By Andy Ross, Swimming World College Intern

A lot of Big Ten teams are going to be racing this weekend as we are rapidly approaching championship season. Winter break training has ended and classes have started and here are the top five story lines to look out for this weekend.

  • Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers will all be swimming conference opponents this weekend. All of the other schools in the conference will be competing against non-conference opponents (Wisconsin is the only school idle). This and January 29-30 is the last big weekend before teams settle in and start to rest for the championships. It’ll be interesting to see how teams will swim coming right off hard training over break.
  • Indiana and Michigan will be competing in a quad meet in Atlanta with Georgia Tech and Duke. It is a stacked lineup of teams and should have some quality races in the pool that will host the NCAA Championships in March. These are probably the two big dogs to be fighting for the Conference championship so they will be throwing good shots in Atlanta at each other. Two races to watch will be the Anders NielsenBlake Pieroni duel in the 200 free. Both guys finaled at the NCAAs last year with Nielsen getting second and Pieroni getting fourth. Pieroni right now has the upper hand on the Dane but it will still be a close race between the two. Tristan Sanders (UM) and Bob Glover (IU) have only been separated by .06 seconds in the 200 back and if they matchup in the quad meet, it will be fun to watch them duke it out.
  • The women will also be competing in the meet with an intriguing breaststroke matchup between two underclassmen in Lilly King (IU) and Emily Kopas (UM). King has been on fire since joining Ray Looze’s bunch and we’ll see what Kopas will throw at her as these two are expected to be the main contenders in the breast events in the conference for the next few years.
  • Ohio State and Michigan State will be dueling in a two-day duel meet in Columbus. It is expected to be a lopsided affair as the Buckeyes are by-far the superior team. They have not swam in a meet since their November invite and the swimming world will be watching how their stars Li Zhesi and Matt McHugh will swim coming off the long break without racing.
  • Iowa and Illinois will be racing on Saturday in Iowa City a day after the Illini will be in Ames swimming the Cyclones of Iowa State. Emily Sougstad was recently named Hawkeye student-athlete of the month after already breaking a school record in the 50 freestyle and setting personal bests in the 100 and 200 breast on the season.
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