If the first day was any indication, this years Big Ten Championships will be a nail biter. After splitting the first two relays, Indiana University and the University of Minnesota sit tied in first. Penn State sits in third with 58 points, while Michigan and Ohio State are tied with 56 points for fourth.
The host Gophers opened the Championships with an outstanding victory in the 200 medley relay while Indiana picked up a Big Ten record in the 800 free relay.
“It’s just a great way to start off the meet,” head women’s coach Terry Nieszner said. “With our 200 medley relay winning the first event, breaking our school record, it’s just a nice way to start it off.”
Minnesota’s 200 medley relay team notched a new school record of 1:36.89 to claim the title in the opening event of the Championships. The first-place team of Tess Behrens, Haley Spencer, Rebecca Weiland and Erin Caflisch won the event for the Gophers for the first time since 1997. The Gophers were one of six Big Ten teams to earn a 'A' cut.
In the 800 free relay, Lindsay Vrooman, Cynthia Pammett, Haley Lips and Brooklyn Snodgrass reclaimed the Big Ten record with a 6:59.48.It was the
fourth-straight win in the event. IU beat the previous record of 7:00.65
set by Minnesota at the 2012 NCAA Championships. The quartet also
topped IU's Big Ten meet record of 7:00.82 set at last year's
“It’s great for the first day because in the 200 medley relay you see all four strokes and in the 800 free relay you see our middle-distance swimmers,” Nieszner stated. “Everybody is swimming faster than last year so it’s going to be fun.”
Looking ahead the defending champion Gophers return a pair of individual winners
from a year ago. Tess Behrens aims to repeat in the 100 and 200
backstroke, while Haley Spencer looks for her second 200 breaststroke
crown in as many years.
Penn State junior Mackenzie Powers looks to break her own meet record
in the 100 butterfly, while Indiana junior Lindsay Vrooman enters the
championships aiming to defend her title in the 1,650 freestyle.
Ohio State returns two individual champions looking to duplicate
their feats from last year. Senior Shannon Draves looks to defend her
200 butterfly crown, while teammate Cheyenne Cousineau will try to
duplicate her first-place effort in the platform diving event.