Feb. 26, 2004
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Junior Louis Paul picked up where he left off at last year's Big Ten Championships meet, by winning his second straight 200-yard individual medley title. The 2003 Swimmer of the Championships finished the race with a meet and varsity record mark of 1:45.56.
In a very tight race, Paul beat out Minnesota's Adam Mitchell by .09 seconds and Northwestern's Tony Swanson by .20 seconds in front of the home crowd at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center. Swanson held the previous meet record of 1:45.64, which he recorded in 2002.
Paul's time also beat his old varsity record of 1:46.07, which he clocked in 2003.
With his victory, Paul became the first Boilermaker to win at consecutive championship meets since Vilmos Kovacs accomplished the feat in 1997 (400 medley relay) and 1998 (200 breaststroke).
Paul was chosen as last season's Swimmer of the Championships, thanks to his victories in both the 200 IM and 200 backstroke.
Purdue finished its first day in seventh place with 85 points. The Boilermakers are 15.5 points behind Penn State and 14 points ahead of Ohio State. Minnesota leads the competition with 210.5 points, with Michigan (187) and Northwestern (150), rounding out the top three.
Minnesota won the opening 200 freestyle relay with a conference-record mark of 1:18.28; the old record of 1:18.69 was set by the Nittany Lions in 2002.
Michigan then dominated the 500 freestyle, sweeping the top three places. Peter Vanderkaay led the Wolverine trio with a meet record time of 4:15.06, beating the previous standard of 4:15.55, established by Wolverine John Piersman in 1995. Michigan also set a meet record off the 1-meter diving board, as Jason Coben came away with 373.85 points.
Josh Karshen led the Purdue divers with his score of 292.90, which was good for sixth-place. Clay Davis placed ninth with a 292.45; J.R. Hillis and David Hanisch placed 15th and 16th with scores of 263.90 and 253.25.
Northwestern completed the meet with victories in the 50 free and 400 medley relay. Matt Grevers won the 50 free title in 19.58 seconds and then led the 400 medley relay team to a first-place time of 3:10.55, which serves as a new pool record.
Friday's prelims begin at noon with the 400 individual medley, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke and 3-meter diving all on the agenda. During Friday's finals the 200 medley relay and 800 freestyle relay will open and close the meet.
2004 Big Ten Championships
Day 1 Notes and Quotes
- During the afternoon preliminaries, three Boilermaker Aquatic Center records fell. In the first event, Michigan's Andrew Hurd set a new standard in the 500-yard freestyle, touching the wall in 4:19.58. Northwestern's Tony Swanson followed suit in the 200-yard individual medley, coming across in 1:46.00 and another Wildcat, Matt Grevers, established a new record in the 50 free with a mark of 19.44.
- Northwestern's Matt Grevers 50 free prelim time of 19.44 set a new meet record, breaking the previous standard of 19.60 set by Minnesota's Ricardo Dornelas in 2000. Grevers repeated his first-place finish in the finals with a time of 19:58.
- During prelims, eight NCAA provisional times and one automatic were recorded in the 50 free; three automatics and 13 provisionals were clocked in the 200 IM. One automatic and eight provisional times were recorded in the 500 free.
- Minnesota's Terry Silkaitis, Neil Osten, Ales Volcansek and Igor Cerensek set a Big Ten conference and meet record in the 200-yard freestyle relay with a 1:18:28 in tonight's opening event. The previous mark of 1:18:69 was set by Penn State's foursome of Botes, Molettiere, Minnier and Lutz in 2002. Minnesota's time met the NCAA's `A' standard of 1:18:47, giving the Gophers an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships in Long Island. Minnesota's first place finish was a repeat performance after also winning last year's race.
- Michigan's Peter Vanderkaay's 500-yard freestyle time of 4:15:06 set a new Big Ten meet record, breaking the previous mark of 4:15:55 set by former Wolverine Hohn Piersma in 1995. Vanderkaay's time met the NCAA's `A' mark of 4:19:63, automatically making him eligible to compete in this year's NCAA Championships. Vanderkaay won the event for the second year in a row, giving the event to the Wolverines for the eighth straight year and the eleventh time in the past 12 years (1993-2004).
- Purdue's Louis Paul won the 200 IM for the second consecutive year. His time of 1:45:56 established a new Big Ten meet record, besting Northwestern's Tony Swanson's previous standard of 1:45:64 set in 2002. Paul is eligible to compete in this year's NCAA Championships, meeting the `A' standard of 1:46:69. Paul will be competing in the NCAA Championships alongside Minnesota's Adam Mitchell, Michigan's Chris DeJong, and Northwestern's Tony Swanson and Mike Alexandrov who all met the NCAA's `A' standard in this race.
- Northwestern's Matt Grevers, Matt Alexandrov, Mark Hamming and Tony Swanson won the 400-yard medley relay with a time of 3:10:55. Northwestern, Michigan and Indiana all qualified for the NCAA Championships, meeting the NCAA's `A' standard of 3:12:36.
- Michigan's Jason Coben set a Big Ten meet record in the 1 Meter Diving event, scoring a finals mark of 373.85. Coben bested Indiana's Tom Davidson's previous score of 369.60.
Neil Osten, Minnesota (200-yard freestyle relay)
On setting Big Ten record... "I feel good about setting the Big Ten record. We expected to swim very fast and we sure did. We are very happy with the result."
On how this win contributes to the team's overall performance... "As far as the meet goes, it gets us off to a great start, so hopefully we can have this energy throughout the entire meet."
Peter Vanderkaay, Michigan (500-yard freestyle)
On Michigan sweeping top three places... "It feels great. We wanted to come in here and try to score as many points as possible. We had four guys in the finals, so it was great to go out there and get the top three."
Setting a meet record on his first place finish... "It felt really good. I wasn't thinking about the record, I was just trying to go out there and race. I tried to have a good time and score some points, which was what we needed."
Louis Paul, Purdue (200-yard individual medley)
On his second straight victory in the 200 IM... "I feel really happy. I didn't really feel good this morning; however, I just wanted to come out and do the best I could...and I did."
On team's performance... "We're off to a bit of a rocky start, but it's so early, so we can't really tell how it's going to turn out. I feel like we're going to do really well in this meet, and we've swam really well so far this season. We just have to put everything in motion and keep doing what we have to do to win."
Matt Grevers, Northwestern (50-yard freestyle)
On his victory ... "It was awesome! Anything could have happened in a race like this, and it was just great racing. I'm really excited, and it felt great to win."
Jason Coben, Michigan (1-meter diving)
On winning his first of three competitions ... "It feels good. It feels great to do start out well on the low boards. I get better as we go higher and to do this, to win on the one-meter does nothing but build my confidence for the rest of the championship."
Tony Swanson, Northwestern (400-yard medley relay)
On the relay team's victory... "It was a great win. I haven't been doing very well this meet; my sophomore year I won a couple of events, and it feels good to finally be back on the top of the podium again. I've never had a chance to win a relay before today, and I've had a much better run and that makes it exciting."