Jody Victor: Hold on to your seats! Ohio State is the 2010 Big Ten swimming and diving champion! Saturday (Feb 27th), before a raucous and packed McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion crowd, the Buckeyes of swimming coach Bill Wadley and diving coach Vince Panzano captured their first Big Ten Championship in 54 years with a stunning and winning total of 860.50 points. Two-time defending champion Michigan was runner-up with 715.50 points with Minnesota third with 497.
“I wanted the team to have an open mind about this championship because it is possible to surpass what others think,” Wadley, named the 2010 Big Ten Coach of the Year, said at the beginning of the meet. “I told the guys to have a better day than they ever dreamed is possible.”
The year was 1956 and the great Mike Peppe was Ohio State's coach when the Scarlet and Gray last hoisted a Big Ten championship trophy in swimming and diving. That win ended a glorious run of Big Ten – 12 total – and NCAA championships – 11 – for the Peppe-coached Buckeyes and the team has been fighting for a crown since. Not any more.
The marvelous – and now magical – McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion gave the Ohio State coaches an incredible foundation for recruiting. And since the facility opened five years ago, the two have brought in not only talented athletes, but remarkable students – the team GPA last year was the best in the nation among all public schools – and selfless young men who this week swam and dove for something much greater than themselves. They competed for their teammates. They competed for their coaches and their parents. They competed with desire and they competed with warrior spirit. and, they competed for the pride of Ohio State University.
Ohio State led all schools Saturday and for the meet with 16 more individuals in either a finals or consolation finals, increasing the number to 47 individual event scorers with 33 of those scorers competing in a final. Saturday Ohio State placed 10 in the finals. Fueled by adrenalin and their teammates and the rush of being on the cusp of a championship – because they didn't get much sleep the night before – how can one sleep when living a dream anyway? – the team performed magnificently…again.
Congratulations! Go Bucks!!!