Feb. 16, 2004
Big Ten Top Five: Individual Medley (200 & 400-yards)
Based on Taper & Shave rankings and '03 Big Ten results
Chuck Sayao, Junior, Michigan: Sayao was the winner of last season's 400 IM title at the Big Ten Championships, scoring a time of 3:46.50. He also fared well in the 200 IM, placing seventh with a mark of 1:49.13. Sayao enters this year's championships holding the conference's third-best performance in the 400 IM (3:52.09) and seventh best in the 200 IM (1:48.57). The junior Wolverine and teammate Peter Vanderkaay have compiled several one-two finishes in the 400 IM this season, against conference and non-conference opponents.
Louis Paul, Junior, Purdue: The Australian native enters the 200-yard individual medley as its defending champion. At last year's conference championship meet, Paul took first place in the 200 IM with a time of 1:46.07, helping him earn Swimmer of the Championships honors. Paul has been successful in nearly every 200 IM race this season, winning against Iowa, Indiana, Arizona and Arizona State. Against the Hoosiers, Paul recorded a season-best in the 200 IM with a mark of 1:5052; a time which ranks him among the nation's best.
Ryan Plummer, Senior, Minnesota: The Golden Gopher holds the Big Ten's second best time in the 400 IM behind Michigan's Vanderkaay (3:52.02), as well as one of the top conference times in the 200 IM (1:50.48). Plummer is one of the few returnees, who scored among the top five in both IM races at the 2003 Big Ten Championships, placing fifth in the 200 IM at 1:47.87 and finishing runner-up to Sayao in the 400 IM at 3:48.29. Plummer recently grabbed a gold medal at the Minnesota Challenge where he recorded a 4:05.63 in the 400 IM. He and sophomore teammate Adam Mitchell can expect to challenge for both IM titles.
Adam Mitchell, Sophomore, Minnesota: Minnesota's sophomore sensation holds the Big Ten's top time in the 200 IM with a time of 1:46.28 (fourth in the nation) as well as the conference's sixth-best performance in the 400 IM at 3:54.50. As a rookie, Mitchell finished 14th in the 200 IM at last year's conference championships, but has succeed this season against top-notch competition. Against nationally ranked Florida, Mitchell recorded a victory in the 200 IM with a time of 1:50.10. He also grabbed a victory over teammate Plummer in the 400 IM at a triangular meet against Purdue and Wisconsin, scoring a time of 3:55.23.
Peter Vanderkaay, Sophomore, Michigan: The four-time Big Ten Swimmer of the Week claims the conference's top time in the 400 IM at 3:46.05, which is also the second best in the nation behind Ous Mellouli of Southern Cal (3:45.38). Vanderkaay recorded this time against third-ranked Stanford on Jan. 9, beating out their star swimmer, Markus Rogan. The sophomore Wolverine did not compete in the finals of either IM race during last year's conference championships, but has won several 400 IM titles during the 2003-04 campaign, including one against nationally ranked Northwestern.
Beyond the top five ... Tony Swanson, Northwestern ... placed third in the 200 IM at the 2003 Big Ten Championships ... owns the conference's sixth best time in the 200 IM at 1:48.22 ... Tim Liebhold, Wisconsin ... holds the conference's fourth-top performance in the 200 IM with a time of 1:47.84 and the fifth-best performance in the 400 IM with a time of 3:52.64 ... finished eighth in the 400 IM at the 2003 Big Ten Championships with a time of 3:55.85 ... Mike Alexandrov, Northwestern ... rookie holds the Big Ten's third-best performance in the 200 IM with a time of 1:47.51 ... holds the fourth-best performance in Big Ten in the 400 IM with a time of 3:52.40 ... Adam Mania, Wisconsin ... owns the second-best conference time in the 200 IM, which also ranks seventh nationally (1:46.99).