Feb. 14, 2004
Big Ten Top Five: Backstroke (100 and 200-yards)
Based on Taper & Shave rankings and '03 Big Ten results
Matt Grevers, Freshman, Northwestern: Grevers has developed into a rookie phenomenon, possessing the conference's top times in several events. The Wildcat's top times in the backstroke of 47.31 (100 back) and 1:44.30 (200 back), rank him fifth in the nation. His top 100 back time is second in the conference to Wisconsin's Adam Mania; however, his 200 back time is a conference best. At Lake Forest High School in Illinois, the 6-7 freshman broke four state records, including the 100 back (48.77).
Louis Paul, Junior, Purdue: The defending Swimmer of the Championships may not claim any of this year's top conference times, but he was last year's 200 back champion and will use the home pool to his advantage. His marks of 49.87 and 1:47.31 ranked him 11th and eighth in the conference. At last year's championship meet in Ann Arbor, Paul scored a fourth-place time of 48.07 in the 100 and a winning mark of 1:44.56 in the 200. The Australian native has scored five wins in the backstroke this season, earning triumphs against Iowa, Michigan and Indiana.
Chris DeJong, Sophomore, Michigan: DeJong is one of the Wolverines' top performers in the 200 back. He carries the second-best conference time in this event with a 1:44.32, right behind Northwestern's Grevers. Against Indiana, DeJong swept the backstroke events, posting winning times of 49:32 and 1:48.07. At the U.S. Open, he posted an Olympic Trial qualifying time with a mark of 2:01.31 in the 200-LCM back. DeJong placed sixth in the 100 back and was runner-up to Purdue's Louis Paul in the 200 back at last year's Big Ten Championships.
Adam Mania, Junior, Wisconsin: Mania possesses the Big Ten's top time in the 100-yard back with a time of 47.07, and owns the second-best time in the 200 back at 1:44.58. He recently finished first in the 200 back against Purdue on Jan. 31, with a 1:45.94. Mania is in position to capture both backstroke titles at this year's championships; at last year's meet he placed third in the 100 back (48.07) and fourth in the 200 (1:44.56).
Adam Mitchell, Sophomore, Minnesota: Mitchell is one of the Golden Gophers' strongest swimmers. He is currently ranked fourth among all Big Ten swimmers in both the 100 and 200 back with times of 48.46 and 1:45.51. The sophomore was named by collegeswimming.com as its National Swimmer of the Week after he scored eight first-place finishes at the Georgia Invitational. At the Athens, Ga., meet, Mitchell garnered three individual first place titles, and was a member of five first-place relay teams. The Golden Gopher also received the Big Ten's Co-Swimmer of the Week honor, an award he shared with Michigan's Peter Vanderkaay. He enters the 2004 conference championships hoping to improve on last year's showings in the backstroke.
Beyond the top five ... Matt Marshall (Wisconsin) ... will likely just suit up for the 100 back ... finished as the runner-up in the 100 at last season's championships (47.77) ... owns the conference's fifth-best time at 48.76 ... Tony Swanson (Northwestern) ... finished seventh in the 100 and ninth in the 200 at the 2003 Big Ten Championships ... ranked sixth in the conference in both backstroke events with top season times of 49.10 and 1:46.68 ... Diego Urreta (Minnesota) ... among the Big Ten's best this season in both back events, including a No. 5 ranking in the 200 at 1:45.86 ... placed fifth in the 200 at last season's championships.