Swimming On TV! 5 Storylines for the Big Ten

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Andy Ross, Swimming World Big Ten Beat Writer

This weekend in the Big Ten is not as big as the last one as all the teams competing will be on Saturday only. The big story of the weekend is the big rivalry between Purdue and Indiana. The Boilermakers will travel to Bloomington for the meet and fans can view the meet on the Big Ten Network’s online app, BTN2Go (with a valid subscription). If you can’t view that meet, here are five story lines to look out for in the rest of the conference.

Breaststroke battle. The Purdue-IU matchup will put veteran Purdue sixth-year senior Emily Fogle pitted against IU newcomer and reigning Big Ten swimmer of the week in freshman Lilly King. King has had better in-season swims than Fogle but that doesn’t mean Fogle won’t go down without a fight. Regardless of who is more rested, these two swimmers are definitely going to be eyeing each other when it comes to the conference crown in the 100 and 200.

Breaststroke battle II. The good news for fans at the Purdue-IU meet in Bloomington is that after the women’s breaststroke battle, they will get to see an equally intense men’s breaststroke battle. Indiana senior Tanner Kurz and Purdue sophomore Marat Amaltdinov were second and third at last year’s Big Tens in the 200 breast respectively and currently hold the top two spots in the conference this year. Kurz went 1:54.35 at IU’s mid-season invite, while Amaltdinov went 1:54.55 at Purdue’s invitational. Also in the battle for the 200 breast will be Indiana sophomore Cody Taylor who could play spoiler here. Either way, Kurz and Amaltdinov will be eyeing each other at Big Tens, especially since it is in Amaltdinov’s home pool.

Northwestern freshmen of the week. Carter Page and Olivia Rosendahl each claimed the freshman of the week in the Big Ten Conference for performances against Notre Dame last week. Page won the 1000 (9:22.93) and the 500 (4:35.01) against the Irish claiming his second freshman of the year honors. Could he be the next Jordan Wilimovsky? He will be a good training partner for the open water olympian when he returns from his redshirt. Page is a native of Sarasota, FL. Rosendahl swept the springboard events against Notre Dame and qualified for Zones in both events. This was her third freshman of the week honors. She is a native of Los Angeles, CA. The Wildcats will play host to Iowa on Saturday.

Big Ten West Showdown. Illinois will hit the bus and travel to Lincoln to face Nebraska on Saturday. The Illini only have two losses on the season to Northwestern and Iowa. Nebraska also has two losses on the season to Kansas and Arkansas on the season. The Cornhuskers are having a historic season as they achieved a total of six Olympic Trial cuts at the AT&T Nationals in December. The race of the meet could come from the 200 free with senior Taryn Collura (Nebraska) and junior Gabrielle Stecker (Illinois) facing off. They both have been 1:48.7s on the season with Stecker holding the upper hand by .06 seconds. Collura, Stecker, along with junior Erin Oeltjen have had terrific seasons for these two teams.

Crunch Time. The season is rapidly coming to a close as there are about four weeks from the Women’s Big Ten meet and five weeks from the men’s. The pressure is starting to mount and teams are going to start dialing down the next few weeks. Will anyone crack? Will some of the better swimmers save their full rest for NCAAs? Will someone catch the Minnesota women or the Michigan men? Only time will tell. It is hard to judge swimmers based off of in-season swims, but they can be a good indicator for where swimmers are in their training.

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