WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.- The Purdue swimmers close out their fall competition schedules at this weekend's three-day, five-team Ohio State Invitational, a six-session meet that helps serve as a preview of the Big Ten Championships in February.
Along with the Purdue men and women and the host Buckeyes, Michigan State and Penn State are also expected to be represented by men's and women's teams at the OSU Invitational. The Notre Dame women will be in attendance as well. As of the Nov. 9 CSCAA Top 25 poll, both Purdue and Ohio State teams were nationally ranked. Both PSU teams were also receiving votes.
Held at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion, morning preliminaries are set to begin at 11 a.m. Friday, 10 a.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday. The evening finals follow at 6 p.m. Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday.
The Purdue divers have opted to not compete this weekend as they continue to train for the USA Diving Winter Nationals, set for Dec. 15-22 in Knoxville, Tenn.
The Boilermakers generally gear their schedules around the Purdue Invitational in November. This year the meet was not held due in part to home football games on Nov. 12 and 19. But men's head coach Dan Ross said the plan is for the Purdue Invitational to return next year, with the coaching staff aiming to hold the meet Nov. 16-18, 2012.
Every event except the 1,000 freestyle is expected to be contested this weekend in Columbus. Both Purdue teams will be competing in the 800 free relay for the first time this season, an event which is scheduled for Saturday evening. The Purdue women will be swimming the mile (Sunday) and 400 individual medley (Saturday) for the first time this season. The Purdue men competed in the mile in the Nov. 4 dual meet win against Notre Dame but the times recorded that night were not counted as valid due to a malfunction in the timing system at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center. Additionally, the Purdue men have only participated in the 400 medley relay and the Purdue women the 200 free relay at the season-opening Intrasquad meet.
Selected members of both teams are scheduled to return to Columbus in February for the two-day OSU Winter Invite. The Purdue men have also signed up to compete at the Buckeye's NCAA Last Chance meet in March. However, it is unlikely that any men's swimmers would travel to Columbus three times this season.
The Boilermakers got their first taste of Big Ten competition this season at their last meet, a Nov. 18 visit to Iowa. The women won their head-to-head dual with the Hawkeyes, but the men came up on the short end of tightly contested dual scores with both nationally-ranked Iowa and Ohio State.
When the Boilers resume their competition schedules in mid-January, their slates will be dominated by meets featuring conference rivals. Purdue will square off against Michigan State, Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois (women only) leading up to the Big Ten Championships.
Both Purdue teams established season-best times in 11 events at Iowa. With the Boilers gearing their fall training towards the Ohio State Invitational, a host of team and personal season-best marks should also be established this weekend in Columbus.
Individually, Lauren Roth (10 individual victories), Emily Fogle (9) and Lauren Gustafson (7) have led the way for the women in victories. Rhiannon Sheets (100 and 200 fly), Fogle (100 and 200 breast) and Roth (200 and 500 free) are tops on the team with a pair of season-best times each. Carly Mercer and Lauren Nichols have teamed with Roth and Gustafson on Purdue's top-performing free relay quartet.
Among the men, Brian Kiel (11 individual victories), Lyam Dias (5) and Ben Wachtel (5) continue to lead the way in wins. Dias is the owner of season-best times in a team-high three events (200 and 400 IM, 200 breast). Freestyle relays also remain a strength of the team, with Ben Ziolkowski, Danny Tucker and Matt Friede joining Wachtel on Purdue's top quartet.
Last season, Noah Pashley and Samantha Feulner were both honored as Big Ten Swimmers of the Week for their performances at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion during the OSU Winter Invite.
Finals Order of Events Friday 200 Free Relay 500 Free 200 IM 50 Free 400 Medley Relay
Saturday 200 Medley Relay 400 IM 100 Fly 200 Free 100 Breast 100 Back 800 Free Relay
Sunday 1650 Free 200 Back 100 Free 200 Breast 200 Fly 400 Free Relay