MINNEAPOLIS - Steele Johnson won bronze on 1-meter for his sixth career medal at the Big Ten Championships and a pair of freshmen put together record-breaking races, highlighting Thursday at the conference championship meet for Purdue men's swimming & diving.
With seven of the 21 events complete, the Boilermakers are in fourth place in the team scoring with 280 points. They're 1.5 points in front of host Minnesota.
Batuhan Hakan established program and freshman records with a time of 4:18.43 in the prelims of the 500 freestyle, qualifying for the A final in the process. He became the first Boilermaker to break 4:20 in the event and broke a program record that had stood since the 2014 Big Ten Championships.
Trent Pellini eclipsed the Purdue freshman record in the 200 individual medley via a time of 1:45.50 in the prelims. He bested a first-year mark that had stood since 2012. His time also ranks fifth overall in program history.
Johnson and Joe Cifelli finished 3-4 in the championship final of 1-meter diving. They teamed with Brandon Loschiavo, who took third in the consolation final, to give Purdue three of the top 11 finishers. The trio accounted for 69 team points.
-- Purdue Swim-Dive (@PurdueMSwimDive) February 23, 2018
Johnson (466.95) took the lead after round four following consecutive scores of 80-plus in the middle rounds. He finished strong with another score in the 80s, but a list-low score of 67.5 in round five ultimately took him out of championship contention. But even after missing 10 weeks this season with a foot injury, he still managed to medal in his least favorite of the three diving events. Johnson finished just 3.10 points shy of his program-record score from Big Tens a year ago. Indiana's Michael Hixon, who Johnson has begun training with recently for a synchronized 3-meter partnership, won the Big Ten title with a meet-record score (493.60) for the second year in a row.
Cifelli (435.35) was third in the prelims and remained in medal contention until the last round of the final. He too had posted consecutive scores in the 80s, before a missed dive led to a list-low score of 51.15 in the sixth and final round.
Loschiavo improved on his prelim score by 34 points in the consolation final (396.40).
McDowell posted career-best times in both the prelims (4:21.53) and finals (4:21.20) of the 500 free, moving into third place in program history. He was the runner-up in the B final.
Juliusson (1:45.49), Pellilni (1:49.50) and Noens (1:45.83) all broke 1:46 in the 200 IM for the first time in their careers. They moved into fourth, fifth and sixth place in program history and all scored in the B final of the event, teaming up for 36 points.
Juliusson also contributed to Purdue's 400 medley relay team that posted the third-fastest time (3:11.07) in program history. The quartet also included Joe Young, Marat Amaltdinov and James Boone. Young led off with a career-best 100 backstroke split of 47.05, improving on his second-fastest mark in program history.
Gomez-Treig moved into 11th place in program history with a time of 20.05 in the prelims of the 50 free. He dropped .34 hundredths of a second off his season-best time from the First Chance meet last weekend.
Big Tens continues Friday with prelims at noon ET and finals at 7:30 p.m.
THURSDAY TEAM SCORES
1.) No. 7 Michigan 538.5
2.) No. 3 Indiana 529.5
3.) No. 16 Ohio State 407
4.) Purdue 280
5.) No. 21 Minnesota 278.5
6.) Wisconsin 229
7.) Iowa 214
8.) Penn State 195.5
9.) Michigan State 124
10.) Northwestern 116