Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Recruiting key to Big Ten's ability to compete nationally

Heading into this week's Women's Swimming & Diving NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas, there are six Big Ten squads ranked in the College Swim Coaches Association of America Top 25.\nNo. 13 Penn State leads the Big Ten pack, with the five schools ranked between 16 and 22. Only Virginia (14), North Carolina (15), Pacific (19) and Maryland (20) breaks up the run of Big Ten schools in the middle of the rankings. Michigan, Wisconsin and Northwestern are ranked 16-18, while IU is No. 21 and Purdue is No. 22 to round out the ranked Big Ten squads.\nIt is that equality that created an exciting Big Ten Championships last month.\n"There is definitely quite a bit of parity in our conference, more than there ever has been in the past," IU swimming head coach Dorsey Tierney said. "Depth wise, it is probably the most competitive conference in the country as far as the times that it takes to make the top 16 in each event."\nOnly the Pac-10 can match the number of schools the Big Ten has ranked, led by No. 1 Stanford. All of the Pac-10 teams are ranked in the top 12. The Southeastern Conference (SEC) has four teams ranked, three in the top seven led by No. 2 Auburn.\nTierney says the depth within the Big Ten has been building for a couple of years, but that the conference is consolidated in the middle of the Top 25, still trailing many teams from the Pac-10 and SEC that have national dominance.\n"(As a conference) we need to compete at a higher level overall in order to compete with those conferences, in some cases going outside of our conference to face some of those teams," she said.\nTierney also believed the Big Ten has to be able to attract the top swimmers on a national level to get back to being a dominant conference in women's swimming and diving.\nPenn State coach Bill Dorenkott echoed Tierney's beliefs regarding the importance of recruiting.\n"Depth doesn't help you at the NCAA's, talent does," Dorenkott said. "For us to make the move as a conference to the top ten in the country, it is a question of us getting some of the best swimmers in the country and in the world to come to the Big Ten."\nJust two years ago, Northwestern posted it's best ever finish at the NCAA's as they finished sixth. But last year the Wildcats finished 35th at the NCAA Championships.\nNorthwestern coach Jimmy Tierney, brother of IU's Dorsey Tierney, acknowledged the importance of recruiting top talent, but said it only takes a few standouts to help a team become a national contender.\n"To get to the top end you usually have to have a couple of stars," Jimmy Tierney said. "We had that a couple of years, when we had two studs and were sixth in the country because we could support it with relays and a couple other individuals here and there. It can be a small group of athletes that does that."\n Jimmy Tierney believes Wisconsin, conference champion Penn State and IU will lead the conference at this week's NCAA Championships.\n "I think Penn State and Indiana and Wisconsin are capable of being in the top ten if someone really puts it together and top 15 without a doubt," he said. "Those are probably our three best representatives at NCAA's. They all have a little bit more depth than the rest of us and Indiana has the diving support too. I think those three teams have the opportunity to do some pretty good stuff."\nIU and the rest of the conference will return to the pool Thursday for the start of the NCAA Championships at the Jamail Swimming Center in Austin, Texas.

Get stories like this in your inbox
Subscribe