Davis finishes as runner up in 500 free, Marr top Boiler in four events during weekend.
Dan Ross, a three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year, completed his 27th season as head coach of the Purdue men's swimming and diving team and his 35th year of association with Boilermaker aquatics in 2012. He is the longest-tenured of all 14 Boilermaker head coaches and is tied with Minnesota's Dennis Dale as the dean of Big Ten coaches.
Ross has earned three Big Ten Coach of the Year awards, which is tied for the third-highest total in conference history. The first award came in 1988, the second in 1997 and the third, and most meaningful, in 2009 following a season in which wife Sally overcame a battle with breast cancer and Purdue tied the highest Big Ten finish in program history. With an all-time dual meet record of 169-128, Ross ranks as the winningest coach in the Boilermaker program's history.
A record-setting 200 freestyle relay team that earned Honorable Mention All-America recognition at the NCAA Championships and five other new program benchmarks highlighted the 2011-12 season for Purdue. Ten swimmers also represented the Boilers at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Omaha.
Matt Friede, Danny Tucker, Ben Wachtel and Ben Ziolkowski teamed up to post a time of 1:17.71 in a one-chance time trial opportunity at the Big Ten Championships, eclipsing the school record and earning a berth in the NCAA Championships. It was the Boilers' first qualifying relay since 2006. At the national championship meet in suburban Seattle, the quartet placed 13th in preliminaries to advance to the consolation final and earn Honorable Mention All-America recognition.
Senior Albert Miller broke the school record in the 100 breaststroke at the Big Ten Championships, eclipsing a mark that had stood since 2006 and becoming the first Boiler to set a new individual mark since 2010.
Four new Purdue freshman records were also established at the Big Ten Championships. In the 200 and 400 IM, the record changed hands twice. Guillermo Blanco broke the 200 IM mark in the preliminaries, but Lyam Dias finished with an even faster time (1:45.79) while winning the B final that night.
Blanco was also involved in the 400 IM record exchange. He initially broke the Purdue freshman record, which dated back to 1994, at the Big Ten Quad the final weekend of January. Jan Petric's time of 3:49.87 in the prelims on day two of the Big Ten Championships made him the record holder until Blanco finished in 3:48.79 while placing fourth in the A final that night.
Petric did add his name to the record book in the 500 free (4:23.03). Blanco's 100 backstroke time (48.43) as the leadoff leg of the 400 medley relay also represented a new program freshman record.
A program-record three divers scoring in the platform competition at the NCAA Championships and two more national titles for record-holder David Boudia highlighted the 2010-11 season. Led by All-American performances from Boudia, Danny Cox and J.P. Perez in Minneapolis, the Boilermakers finished 16th at the NCAA Championships with 88 teams points. Purdue was third among the Big Ten Conference programs that scored at the national championship meet.
A new Purdue record in the 800 free relay established by the quartet of Ben Wachtel, Andrew Starr, Brian Kiel and Drew Wolfred at the Big Ten Championships highlighted the new benchmarks established by the swimmers. New freshman records were also set by Matt Friede (50 & 100 free), Kiel (100 & 200 back, 200 IM) and Eduard Galdeano (200 fly) at the Big Ten Championships.
The Boilermakers won the seven-team Purdue Invitational Nov. 19-21 in West Lafayette, outscoring nationally-ranked Ohio State and Louisville among others. At the Big Ten Quad at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center the final weekend of January, Purdue posted its first dual-meet scoring victory against Minnesota since 1988. The Boilers also topped Northwestern, Wisconsin, Notre Dame and LSU in notable dual-scoring action.
Boudia capped his college career by sweeping the springboard diving titles for the second year in a row. He was also runner-up in the platform, with Cox and Perez qualifying for the finals as well. As a rare accomplishment in the history of diving at the NCAA Championships, it was the first time in Purdue history that three divers reached the finals of the same event on the national stage.
The Boilermakers once again tied the program's highest finish at the Big Ten Championships in 2010 with a fourth-place showing, matching their placing in 2009. That marked the first time since 1947-51 Purdue finished fourth in consecutive seasons. The team also earned its second straight 13th-place finish at the NCAA Championships for the first consecutive top-13 finishes since 1945-52.
The 2009-10 season in the pool was highlighted by Sam Wilcher. The senior capped his career by breaking the Purdue 200 butterfly record, which he had held since his sophomore season, twice at the NCAA Championships. Wilcher eventually lowered the record to 1:43.82 and finished 11th for honorable-mention All-America status. Wilcher also broke the record at the Big Ten Championships, where he finished third and completed a career sweep of scoring in both the 100 and 200 butterfly at all four conference championship meets.
Freshman Vinny Donnelly also proved that Ross is still finding and bringing in exceptional talent. Donnelly, from Tampa, Fla., became the fastest freshman in program history in all three distance freestyle events at the Big Ten Championships. He took down the 1,650 and 1,000 freestyle records while finishing seventh in the mile with an NCAA provisional-qualifying time of 15:14.40 that was almost seven seconds faster than the previous record set in 2002. Donnelly also broke the freshman record in the 500 freestyle twice, first during preliminaries with a 4:25.67 swim to break a 12-year-old record, and again while winning the C final in 4:23.84.
The 2008-09 season saw Andrew Langenfeld's 19.34 clocking in the 50 freestyle give him the Big Ten title, the Doris Z. Holloway Pool record and made him the fastest swimmer in conference history. Langenfeld also advanced to the NCAA Championships, where he was a competitor in the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly.
During his career at Purdue, Ross has coached 15 individual Big Ten champions and one conference champion relay team. He also has led 17 individuals to NCAA All-America acclaim and overseen several international competitors, including a streak that included placing at least one swimmer in three straight Olympic Games beginning with the 1996 Olympiad in Atlanta and continuing through the 2004 Games in Athens, Greece. Ross also has seen his charges advance to the World Championships, Open Water Championships, World University Games, Southeast Asian Games, Pan American Games, Pan Pacific Games and Maccabi Games.
Ross was rewarded for placing so many athletes in international competitions when he served as an assistant on Dale's staff at the 2007 World University Games in Bangkok, Thailand. Dale named Ross an assistant coach along with Northwestern's Bob Groseth and Ohio State's Bill Wadley. Ross was joined at the World University Games by Boilermakers Romain Maire, Amanda Miller, Giordan Pogioli, Zach Schultz and Adam and Kimiko Soldati.
Ross also has been able to establish a program known for its academic excellence. He encourages a balance between school, swimming and social activities in all his swimmers' lives. Because of that balance, Ross has produced four CoSIDA Academic All-Americans in Brian Daly (1993), Dean Fredette (1994), Matt Brown (1997) and Louis Paul (2005) and several more honorable-mention selections since his start at Purdue. In the spring of 2006, Giordan Pogioli was named to a second consecutive CoSIDA Academic All-District team.
Ross also has mentored over a dozen CSCAA Academic All-America and honorable-mention selections, as well as 117 Academic All-Big Ten athletes, seven Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award winners and five Big Ten Medal of Honor winners in Daly (1992), Brown (1997), Kovacs (1999), Paul (2005) and Pogioli (2006).
At the start of the 2010-11 school year, Ross' team was presented with the school's "25/85" award. Men's swimming and diving was honored because it finished among the national top 25 during the 2008-09 athletic year while maintaining a cumulative grade-point average that met or exceeded expectations over four consecutive semesters, thereby supporting Purdue's goal of reaching an 85-percent graduation rate. Ross' program has received this award, formerly called the "25/75" award, five years in a row.
Ross' involvement with Purdue swimming and diving began in 1977, when he walked on to the swim team. He competed in the individual medley and middle distance freestyle events. In 1980, Ross received the Most Improved Swimmer Award and was named team co-captain in 1981.
After graduating, Ross continued at Purdue in a quarter-time position during the 1981-82 season and then served as a half-time assistant coach the next year. He was given the full-time assistant position from 1983 to 1985, and in 1985 he landed the head coaching position.
A native of North Augusta, S.C., Ross earned a bachelor's degree in exercise physiology from Purdue in 1984. He is married to the former Sally Johnson, also a Purdue graduate, who was a Boilermaker swimmer and a two-event Big Ten champion in 1980. Sally is a coach and administrator for Boilermaker Aquatics, West Lafayette's local USA Swimming club. The Ross family, which also includes sons Eric, 20, Matt, 18, and Andrew, 13, resides in West Lafayette.