Minnesota Wins 2007 Big Ten Men's Swimming and Diving Championships In Thrilling Fashion
Feb. 18, 2007
COLUMBUS, Ohio - After two and half days of intensity-packed, record-breaking action at the 2007 Big Ten Men's Swimming and Diving Championships, the meet's grand finale exceeded all precedents. The championship title was decided in the very final race, as Minnesota came from behind to claim its third Big Ten crown in four years with a gold-medal performance in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
The Gophers became only the second team ever to win the team title without claiming gold in any individual events. The first team to do so was the 2004
In the 400-yard freestyle relay, Minnesota edged Northwestern in the third leg when Mike Woodsoon took over in the fourth despite never having swam the stretch in his career. The Minnesota junior held on stoically to win by a hand's length as the Gophers clocked in at 2:53.83. The Wildcats followed closely at 2:53.99.
With the relay victory, Minnesota edged Michigan by a score of 612.5-608.5 in the final team standings. The hosting Buckeyes snuck ahead of Indiana by one point to claim third-place with a score of 495. Northwestern led all teams with 10 gold medals for the championships and finished fifth with 470 points. Purdue scored 375.5 for sixth, followed by Penn State (295), Wisconsin (245.5) and Iowa (118). Michigan State rounded out the team standings with 106 points.
The conclusion of a thrilling Big Ten Championships was not just full of conference history, but also packed with swimming history.
Overall, there were 16 swimmers who qualified at least provisionally. Touching the wall next at 14:58.20 was Minnesota's Mike Holmes with another A-standard. Patton's teammate Charlie Houchin padded the Michigan lead, coming in third at 15:07.37. Indiana's Alex Brunfeld clocked in less than a second later for fourth with a time of 15:07.97, followed by yet another Wolverine in sophomore Christian Sprang. The trio stretched the Maize and Blue lead to 22 points, but the security wouldn't last long.
Grevers sped through the pool and shattered the meet record with a gold-medal time of 1:39.53. The Wildcats' 21-time All-American became only the third swimmer in the history of the event to notch a sub-1:40 time. It marked Grevers' first ever win in the event at the Big Ten Championships as he picked up his second individual gold of the 2007 conference meet.
The next swimmer in was Penn State's Patrick Shirk, who secured silver-medal honors with a time of 1:42.74. Indiana's Ben Hesen, who snapped Grevers' streak in the 100 and won gold in the event Saturday, clocked in at 1:42.94 for bronze. Minnesota's David Plummer followed in fourth place (1:43.16), while Romain Maire of Purdue (1:43.63) and Michigan's Andre Schultz (1:44.46) took fifth and sixth respectively. Buckeye senior Nate King and Wisconsin's Mike Hopkins rounded out the finals.
With Gophers Russ Payne and Dan Berve taking the top two spots in the consolation race, Michigan's lead shrank to a slime seven points over Minnesota.
Barbic, who earned gold in Northwestern's 200-yard freestyle and 400-yard medley relays, counted his first career individual gold at the conference meet with a time of 43.14. His teammate, who won the 100-yard butterfly on Saturday, followed closely at 43.31 for silver. Both qualified automatically for NCAAs, while 14 more followed with provisional qualifying marks.
The duo gave Minnesota a chance to jump into the leader's spot, and the pair of Wildcats pulled Northwestern ahead of Indiana for fourth.
Alexandrov, who garnered more points for his team than any other athlete in the championships, was later named Swimmer of the Championships. Indiana's Pat Penoyar followed in second with a time of 1:56.75, and Michigan's Scott Spann claimed bronze at 1:57.88. A total of nine swimmers garnered at least provisional qualification to the NCAAs.
Indiana's Nick Walkotten followed with the second-fastest time in the nation at 1:43.85. Vanderkaay's teammate Curtis Dauw clocked in third at 1:44.84, while Dane Grenda finished fifth at 1:46.27. The top three nabbed A-standard marks, and seven more followed with provisional qualifications.
Ohio State became the first team to sweep all three diving events since 1995.