2009 Big Ten Men's Swimming and Diving Championships Preview
Feb. 25, 2009
The Boilermaker Aquatic Center and Purdue University are set to host the 2009 Big Ten Men's Swimming and Diving Championships. Competition begins on Thursday, Feb. 26, with the trials of the 500-yard freestyle and runs through Sunday, Feb. 28, concluding with the always exciting 400 freestyle relay.
Indiana will look to seize this year's top spot after finishing second in 2008. The Hoosiers’ top returner is sophomore Landon Marzullo, the Big Ten's 2008 Diver of the Year and Championships, as he will attempt to repeat his dual victories off the one- and three-meter boards.
Iowa took ninth place at last year's event and has the ability to better that finish, drawing leadership from junior Nick Divan and sophomores Max Dittmer and Conor Dwyer.
Michigan hopes to pull off a repeat performance of last year and claim the Big Ten title in back-to-back seasons. Returning for the Wolverines are 2008 Big Ten champions Matt Patton (500 and 1,650 freestyles) and Bobby Savulich (200 freestyle).
Michigan State can go no where but up after finishing 10th a season ago. Look for sophomore Kevin Puskaric, junior Jonathon Larocque and senior Marcus Poteete to pilot the Spartan squad.
Minnesota brought home third-place honors last season without scoring a single gold medal. The Gophers will once again rely on their depth to make a run at the Big Ten Championship. Keep an eye on seniors Mike Holmes and Colin Lee-To to garner major points for the Maroon and Gold.
Northwestern suffered heavy losses from 2008, graduating its only two All-Big Ten swimmers. However, seniors John Franklin and Eric Nilsson have been swimming well all year and should provide sound leadership.
The Buckeyes missed out on third-place by a mere two points at last year's event to finish fourth. Look for sophomore diver Sean Moore to bring home quality points in all of the diving events as he did in 2008. In the pool, seniors Jake Busch and Matthias Sigrist should compete well against the Big Ten's best.
Penn State has great potential to improve upon its eighth-place performance from a year ago with returning NCAA 200 backstroke Champion Patrick Schirk. Classmates Vincent Reydams and Tim Williams look to help the Nittany Lion cause.
Purdue will formally introduce the conference to freshman phenom David Boudia. The newcomer has already set the Big Ten's single-season mark for conference Diver of the Week accolades not to mention all three of Purdue's diving records and two Big Ten all-time scores.
The Badgers’ return strong talent from 2008 in seniors Scott Rice and Kyle Sorensen. The two were consistent scorers in Wisconsin's seventh-place finish last season.
2009 marks the fifth-time in conference history that the Championships will be hosted by Purdue and the first since 2004.