Sport Summary - Swimming & Diving
In the last 25 years, the Big Ten has produced several top swimmers and divers, many of whom have gone onto claim one or more of the 18 NCAA individual titles the conference has recorded, as well as Olympic success. Five Big Ten teams have claimed the conference championship in the last quarter-century, led by Michigan's 14 titles. The Wolverines' total is nearly three times the amount of second-place Ohio State, which won its five in the first five Big Ten championships from 1982-86.
After the Buckeyes' dynasty came to an end, Michigan made a case for its own by winning the next 12 conference titles from 1987-98 - a streak that is the longest for consecutive championships in the history of Big Ten women's athletics. U-M, which also claimed titles in 2001 and 2004, has produced nine of the 18 NCAA individual titles and owns the Big Ten's best finishes at the NCAA Championships with a runner-up mark in 1995 and a third-place outcome the following year. In addition to Michigan's and Ohio State's conference championships, Penn State has won three, including back-to-back crowns in 2005 and 2006, while Minnesota has won two and Indiana earned one.
On four occasions, the Big Ten Swimmer of the Year award has been earned twice by an individual, while a multiple winner for Diver of the Year has happened five times. Only once has a swimmer or diver ever been honored three times in her career and that happened to one of the most celebrated divers in both Michigan State and Big Ten history. From 1989-91, the Spartans' Julie Farrell-Ovenhouse earned the conference's Diver of the Year award and was selected as the prestigious co-Big Ten Suzy Favor Female Athlete of the Year in 1991. Throughout her career, Farrell-Ovenhouse was a three-time conference champion (1989-90-91) on the one-meter, an event in which she won an NCAA title in 1990 and 1991, and was also the 1991 Big Ten champion on the three-meter as well.
Other notable standouts include two-time Big Ten Diver of the Year winners in Ohio State's Karen LaFace (1985, 1987), Indiana's Kristin Kane (1992, 1994), Sara Reiling (2000, 2003) and Christina Loukas (2005-06), as well as Michigan State's Carly Weiden (2001-02) and Purdue's Carrie McCambridge (2004, 2006).
Two-time Big Ten Swimmer of the Year award winners include Michigan's Alecia Humphrey (1993-94), Ohio State's Janelle Bosse (1985, 1988) and Susan Gottlieb (1990-91), and Wisconsin's Carly Piper (2003, 2005). Humphrey won both the 100- and 200-yard backstroke titles at the 1995 NCAA Championships, while Bosse took home the 1987 NCAA crown in the 400-yard individual medley. In addition, multiple Big Ten champion Lara Hooiveld of Michigan also took home a pair of NCAA titles in the same year, winning the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke in 1993. Ten swimmers have captured four-straight Big Ten titles in an event on 12 occasions throughout their career, including Michigan's Humphrey (100-yard backstroke, 1992-95 and 200-yard backstroke, 1992-95) and Wisconsin's Piper (500-yard freestyle, 2002-05 and 1650-yard freestyle, 2002-05), which have done it twice. The other eight standouts include Michigan's Jenny Crisman (1998-2001) and Ohio State's Marci Ballard (1982-85) in the 100-yard backstroke, Penn State's Kristen Woodring (2001-02, 04-05) in the 100-yard breaststroke, Michigan's Shannon Shakespeare (1997-2000) in the 200-yard IM, Ohio State's Bosse (1985-88) in the 400-yard IM, the Buckeyes' Gail Armstrong (1985-88) and Northwestern's Christy Wicke (1992-95) in the 100-yard butterfly, and Wisconsin's Ellen Stonebraker (1998-2001) in the 500-yard freestyle. A total of 23 swimmers and divers have also earned first-team All-Big Ten honors in each of their four years.
In his 20-plus years at Michigan, Jim Richardson has been awarded the conference's Swimming Coach of the Year honor a record six times. Other multiple winners include former Minnesota coach Jean Freeman, selected three times as the top coach, as well as two-time winners Dorsey Tierney of Indiana, Northwestern's Kathie Wickstrand and Ohio State's Jim Montrella. Michigan State's John Narcy has won five Big Ten Diving Coach of the Year awards, followed by Indiana's Jeff Huber with four and Michigan's Dick Kimball with three.