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Big Ten Championship preview



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Junior Brittany Strumbel hugs junior Nikki White after winning the 800 freestyle relay during the Big Ten Women's Swimming and Diving Championships on Wednesday at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center. The relay team, which also includes sophomore Taylor Wohrley and junior anchor Margaux Farrell, won with a time of 7:01.13, more than a second ahead of Ohio State. Alex Farris Buy Photos

Indiana
Head Coach: Ray Looze
2010 Finish: 1st

The Hoosiers intend not only to defend their pool this week as they become hosts to the Big Ten Championship for the first time since 2005, but their 2009 and 2010 Big Ten titles as well. From freshman diver Laura Ryan to senior leader Ashley Jones, who earned three top-three finishes at last year’s Big Ten Championship, there is plenty of depth on this year’s squad.
“We’re just looking to have a lot of fun now,” IU coach Ray Looze said. “All the preparation is behind us ... no predictions; we have to take it an event at a time, a heat at a time, we need to focus on ourselves and just stay loose.”
Junior freestyler Margaux Farrell, who found the podium five times last year (with wins in the 200 free and the 400 free relay), will look to continue her success on the big stage and junior diver Gabby Agostino will defend her 2010 victory in the platform diving competition.
With six Big Ten teams ranked in the top 20 of the College Swimming Coaches’ Association of America poll, the Hoosiers will face stiff competition. Minnesota enters ranked at No. 13, followed by IU at No. 14, with Michigan at No. 16, Wisconsin at No. 17, Ohio State at No. 19 and Purdue at No. 20. With the teams stacked so closely together, even the coach of favored Minnesota said that the title is up for grabs this weekend.
“I think this conference is arguably one of the best and deepest conferences in the country,” Minnesota coach Terry Nieszner said, “To compete at this conference, every single person on the team has to step up, raise the bar a little bit higher and perform up to what they’re capable of doing and beyond.”

Illinois

Head Coach: Sue Novitsky
2010 Finish: 11th

Who to look for:
Junior Britni Fisher — Diving
RS Freshman Erica Lynn — Breaststroke
Senior Ann Miller — IM/Butterfly

Coach’s Quote
“As a team, the biggest thing we’ve been working on all year has been maintaining our focus and stay calm in big situations. This is, really, in the whole scheme of things, just another swim meet with a lot more people at it and we need to go in there and compete our best.”

Iowa
Head Coach: Marc Long
2010 Finish: 9th

Who to look for:
RS Senior Deidre Freeman — Diving
Senior Veronica Rydze — Diving
Senior  Katarina Tour — Back/Breast/Fly/IM
Junior Daniela Cubelic — Free/Back

Coach’s Quote
“We’re a team that’s completely in a rebuilding mode. We’re looking for progress a little bit different than a team going for the title. We want people back at night; we want night swims; we want to see improvement and really just developing a base for the future.”

Michigan
Head Coach: Jim Richardson
2010 Finish: 3rd

Who to look for:
Senior Natasha Moodie — Freestyle
Sophomore Adrienne Bicek — Butterfly
Junior Caitlin Dauw — Butterfly
Sophomore Mattie Kukors — Backstroke/IM

Coach’s Quote
“One of the big challenges for us is to be able to swim our own races irrespective of where we’re seeded and hopefully if we do that, then we will swim as well as we can swim, and you can’t ask any more than that.”

Michigan State
Head Coach: Matt Gianiodis
2010 Finish: 10th

Who to look for:
Senior Becca Ebner — Butterfly
Junior Sarah Clay — Diving

Coach’s Quote
“We hope to do our season bests next week and score as many points as we can. That is the goal.”

Minnesota

Head Coach: Terry Nieszner
2010 Finish: 2nd

Who to look for:
Senior Jillian Tyler — Breast/IM
Junior Ashley Steenvoorden — Distance freestyle
Sophomore Haley Spencer — Breast/IM
Junior Kelci Bryant — Diving

Coach’s Quote
“Our senior class has been here for three years. As freshmen, when they came in, we won the Big Ten title, so they’re hungry. They’d like to do it again on the way out.”

Northwestern

Head Coach: Jimmy Tierney
2010 Finish: 8th

Who to look for:
Sophomore Felicitas Lenz — Diving
Senior Liza Engstrom — Backstroke
Junior Jenny Wilson — Backstroke
Freshman Jackie Powell — Freestyle

Coach’s Quote
“We have a young, what I think is a very hardworking, kind of blue-collar type team, so I’m anxious to see what they’re going to do.”

Ohio State

Head Coach: Bill Dorenkott
2010 Finish: 5th

Who to look for:
Junior Bianca Alvarez — Diving
Senior Kristin Asman — Diving
Senior Katie Bell — Diving
Senior Samantha Cheverton — Freestyle
Sophomore Megan Detro — Freestyle

Coach’s Quote
“This is our staff’s third year with the program, and we are a work in progress. We are looking to continue to build our championship culture through a combination of a strong team showing, multiple NCAA qualifiers and Big Ten podium finishes.”

Penn State

Head Coach: John Hargis
2010 Finish: 7th

Who to look for:
Sophomore Amy Modglin — Backstroke/Freestyle/IM
Sophomore Paige Whitmire — Backstroke/Freestyle
Junior Samantha Palser — Freestyle
Senior Megan Marco — Diving

Coach’s Quote
“We’ve got to have no-names score, basically. Some of our depth’s got to really show up. We’re very young, so our young people are going to be thrown in feet-first here and (we’ll) see how we react.”

Purdue

Head Coach: John Klinge
2010 Finish: 4th

Who to look for:
Senior Allie Smith — Backstroke/IM
Senior Ariel Martin — Freestyle/Backstroke/Butterfly
Senior Jessica Davis — Freestyle/Back
Senior Lisa Butler — Freestyle

Coach’s Quote
“During the regular season, we have not once lost focus on this meet and NCAA’s. Everything has just been totally in preparation for this, so the team has been focused on this all year.”

Wisconsin

Head Coach: Eric Hansen
2010 Finish: 6th

Who to look for:
Senior Maggie Meyer — Back/Free
Junior Ashley Wanland — Breast
Junior Beckie Thompson — Free

Coach’s Quote
“Our big focus will be the NCAA Championships, so we just kind of use the Big Ten’s as a qualifying meet. We’ll race hard, but our preparation will be geared towards March, not February.”

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