CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP MEET INFORMATION
Purdue Women at the Big Ten Championships
Wednesday to Saturday, Feb. 14 to 17
11 a.m. ET Prelims, 6:30 p.m. Finals / BTN Plus on BTN2Go
McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion / Columbus, Ohio
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue women's swimming & diving joins its conference comrades in Columbus this week as the sport's championship season begins with the Big Ten Championships at Ohio State's McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion.
The seven-session meet begins Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. ET with the 200 medley and 800 freestyle relays. Preliminaries are set for the afternoon sessions and begin at 11 a.m. Relays are contested, Big Ten champions determined and team points earned in the evening finals, which begin nightly at 6:30 p.m. Diving prelims begin daily at 1 p.m. as the afternoon bridge between the sessions.
Ohio State is hosting the Big Ten Women's Championships for the second time in four years. Conference rules allow universities selected to host the NCAA Championships, which OSU is doing this year, to also move up in the six-school rotation to also serve as the host pool of the conference championship meet in the same season. Purdue's current seniors and their classmates around the league also competed at Big Tens in Columbus as freshmen.
The Big Ten Network will televise the Saturday finals session Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET. BTN Plus on BTN2Go will also be offering live pay-per-view webcast coverage of all seven sessions.
The Boilermakers established eight new program records -- four individual, two relay and two freshman -- when Big Tens was last held in Columbus in 2015. Kaersten Meitz broke the program record in the 500 freestyle for the first time that week with a time of 4:42.11, which doubled as a freshman record that still stands. She has since lowered the overall team benchmark to 4:36.59. She'll have an opportunity to add to her impressive swimming résumé this week.
MEITZ HAS SIGHTS ON A BIG TEN TITLE
It's been a dozen years since a Purdue woman last won a Big Ten title in a swimming event. Kaersten Meitz has an opportunity to end that drought. Her program-record time (15:54.41) in the mile is the best in the Big Ten entering the week. She also ranks second in the conference in the 500 free (4:36.59) and among the top six nationally in both events, already assuring herself of an individual invite to the NCAA Championships next month.
The Boilermakers have had seven silver medalists in swimming events at Big Tens since Carlene Takaki won the program's last conference title (200 butterfly) in 2006. She placed second in the same event the following year. Four years in a row from 2010 to 2013, a Boilermaker took home silver. Caitlin Hamilton (2010 and 2011) was the runner-up in the mile in consecutive seasons. Ariel Martin (2011) and Lauren Gustafson (2013) medaled in the 100 free. Emily Fogle (2012) had a record-setting swim in the 200 breaststroke to take second. Allie Davis nearly ended the drought two years ago while setting the team's current record in the 200 free.
Since medaling with a third-place finish in the 500 free at the 2017 Big Ten Championships at the Morgan J. Burke Aquatic Center, Meitz has elevated her place in program history to another level. She earned honorable mention All-America accolades at the NCAA Championships and earned a berth in the World University Games at USA Swimming's World Championship Trials. A spot on the USA Swimming National Team followed after she was a finalist in both the 400- and 800-meter freestyle in Taipei. She also helped the USA's 4x200 free relay team qualify for the final as the top seed, earning her a silver medal. Meitz proved there were big things in store for her senior season when she eclipsed the program records in the 500 free and the mile at the Purdue Invitational in November. The mile benchmark had stood since 2010.
DEEP GROUP OF DIVERS
Morgan Meixner, Samm Reese, Lexi Vincent and Emily Meaney are all among the top 10 on the team in career scoring (team points) at the Big Ten Championships. Freshman Emily Bretscher will join Meaney as Boilermakers to compete in all three diving events at Big Tens this week.
Meaney is among the favorites on platform, an event that will feature Olympian Jessica Parratto (Indiana) and reigning NCAA champion Olivia Rosendahl (Northwestern). Vincent and Meaney joined Rosendahl and Parratto in the championship final of the event at the 2017 NCAA Championships. Meaney ranks second to Parratto in the conference this season and topped Rosendahl in the 10-meter competition at the Big Ten Triple Duals three weeks ago. The Australian eclipsed the Purdue record in the event at Big Tens last season and also medaled at the World University Games.
Meixner and Reese were both championship finalists on 3-meter at Big Tens a year ago. Meixner has posted career-best scores in both springboard events this season and Reese did likewise on 3-meter at the Triple Duals.
SEIDL EARNS FINAL BERTH ON BIG TENS ROSTER
Freshman Maizie Seidl posted career-best times in the 50, 100 and 200 free at the Ohio State Winter Invite last weekend, punching her ticket for a return trip to Columbus by earning the final spot on Purdue's travel roster. Her times in the 100 (49.87, 23rd) and 200 free (1:47.87, 21st) were both among the top 25 in the Big Ten this season and could lead to a spot on the Boilermakers' 800 free relay team Wednesday.
RELAYS RECORDS TRADITIONALLY FALL AT BIG TENS
Purdue has eclipsed a relay record at Big Tens in each of the last three seasons. However, the team benchmarks in the 200 and 400 free relays have both stood since the 2011 Big Ten Championships.
Of the 17 Boilermakers that scored in an individual event at the 2017 Big Ten Championships, 15 remain active student-athletes. Kaersten Meitz, Emmy Rawson, Taite Kitchel, Jackie Smailis and Alex Clarke each scored in all three of their individual events a year ago. Meitz and Rawson have a chance to score at Big Tens all four years.
Michigan has won the last two Big Ten titles. Minnesota was four straight before that, including the last two times Ohio State hosted the meet in 2008 and 2015.
BIG TEN'S RANKED TEAMS IN CSCAA TOP 25
No. 5 Michigan, No. 9 Indiana, No. 13 Ohio State, No. 16 Minnesota, No. 23 Wisconsin
BOILERMAKERS AMONG BIG TEN TOP 20
Via season-best times/scores compiled by CollegeSwimming.com
Kaersten Meitz: 1st in 1,650 Free, 2nd in 500 Free, 6th in 200 Free
Emily Meaney: 2nd on Platform, 5th on 1-Meter, 11th on 3-Meter
Taite Kitchel: 3rd in 200 Fly, 7th in 100 Fly, 15th in 400 IM, 20th in 200 IM
Morgan Meixner: 4th on 1-Meter, 8th on 3-Meter
Emily Bretscher: 6th on Platform, 7th on 1-Meter
Jinq En Phee: 6th in 100 Breast
Samm Reese: 7th on 3-Meter, 8th on 1-Meter
Emmy Rawson: 9th in 200 Fly, 15th in 100 Fly
Danielle Auckley: 13th in 50 Free
Emily Meckstroth: 15th in 1,650 Free
Cady Farlow: 16th in 100 Breast, 20th in 200 Breast
Hanna House: 20th in 100 Fly
YEAR THREE OF THE NEW SCORING BREAKDOWN
A Final: 32-28-27-26-25-24-23-22
B Final: 20-17-16-15-14-13-12-11
C Final: 9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 (and 17th through 24th in Diving Prelims)