Day One Finals Recap
Feb. 26, 2004
WEST LAFAYETTE - The first awards of the 2004 Men's Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships were handed out Thursday night at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center. It was an excellent night of competition as one all-time Big Ten, and five meet records were set.
At the end of competition, Minnesota led the team race with 210.5 points behind an excellent team effort. Defending champion Michigan is in second with 187 points, just ahead of Northwestern with 150, and Indiana with 132.5 points. Swimming preliminaries resume tomorrow at 12 p.m. ET, with diving following at 1:30 p.m.
Behind a flurry of fast hands and powerful feet, Minnesota won the first event of the night in a NCAA automatic qualifying time. The Gopher squad of Terry Silkaitis, Neil Osten, Ales Volcansek, and Igor Cerensek took the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:18.23, setting new pool, meet, and all-time Big Ten records. Indiana came from lane one to claim second place in 1:19.36, just ahead of Wisconsin, 1:19.53. For Minnesota, the win meant valuable team points in what is expected to be a tight team race.
In the 500-yard freestyle, Michigan sophomore Peter Vanderkaay was leading after the first 25-yards and lengthened his lead with every stroke afterwards, winning the 20 lap event in 4:15.05. His time set a new meet record and was under the NCAA 'A' standard. The performance was a dominating one, despite Vanderkaay's seemingly effortless stroke. Teammates Dan Ketchum and Andrew Hurd rounded out the top-three with times of 4:20.38 and 4:20.42, respectively. It was the eight straight year a Wolverine has won the 500 free, and the second straight title for Vanderkaay.
Crowd favorite Louis Paul of Purdue won the night's third event, the 200-yard Individual Medley, in another meet record time, 1:45.56. The top-three swimmers were separated by less than .2 seconds with just 50-yards remaining, before Paul pulled out the win. It was the second career event win for the Boilermaker, as Paul also claimed the 200 IM title in 2003. Adam Mitchell of Minnesota finished second in 1:46.05, just ahead of Northwestern senior Tony Swanson. All three athletes swam under the national automatic qualifying mark.
In as dominating of a performance as an event of less than 20 seconds can be, Northwestern freshman Matt Grevers claimed the 50-yard freestyle. His time of 19.58 was just off his Big Ten record setting performance of the preliminaries, but fast enough to win the event by .5 seconds. Minnesota freshman Igor Cerensek (19.96) took second, just ahead of Indiana's Claes Anderson (19.98), who came from lane one to take third.
Heading into the diving competition, Minnesota led in the team race with 167.5 points after a strong showing in the 50-free.
Jason Coben of Michigan set the fifth meet record of the day when he one the one-meter diving competition, scoring 373.85 points. Ohio State's Mitch Richeson improved upon his 2003 finish by one place, taking second with 343.60 points. Hawkeye Timo Klami (329.10) placed third on the low spring board.
The streak of consecutive meet records was stopped at the 400-yard medley relay, but three teams left the pool satisfied having reached NCAA automatic qualifying standards. Northwestern turned in an outstanding performance to claim the 'Cats first title of the championship. The quartet of Grevers, Mike Alexandrov, Mark Hamming, and Swanson swam the second fastest time ever in Big Ten history, 3:10.55. Michigan added important team points, finishing second (3:11.82), just ahead of Indiana (3:12.17).
Preliminary events will be contested tomorrow afternoon at 12 p.m. ET in the 400-yard IM, 100-yard butterfly, 200-yard free, 100-yard breaststroke, 100-yard backstroke, and three-meter diving.