Men's Swimming

    Opell Wins Big Ten Title on Final Day of Competition

    Go Hoosiers! Aaron Opell receives his gold medal from head coach Ray Looze after winning the Big Ten title in the 200 breaststroke.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Aaron Opell receives his gold medal from head coach Ray Looze after winning the Big Ten title in the 200 breaststroke.
    Go Hoosiers!

    Feb. 27, 2010

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    COLUMBUS, Ohio - After finishing as runner up last year, senior Aaron Opell won his first Big Ten title in the 200-yard breaststroke to cap the final day of the Big Ten Men's Swimming and Diving Championships in Columbus, Ohio.

    The Hoosiers finished fifth overall with a total of 283 points. Ohio State won the team title with 860.5 points. Michigan was second with 715.5 points, followed by Minnesota in third with 497 points.

    "The final day could not have gone better for the Hoosiers," said head coach Ray Looze. "The highlight, without question, is Aaron's Big Ten win. He left me speechless. To watch him come home in 28.5 (seconds), I have not seen anyone close a race like that.

    "Overall, for this team to get fifth place was a real accomplishment and I have not been prouder of a team."

    Opell smashed the school record by more than a second, becoming the first Hoosier to go under the 1:55 mark with his time of 1:54.00. That is an automatic NCAA qualifying time for the senior. Opell was almost a body length behind at the 125 yard turn but continued to gain ground on the field before out-touching Ohio State's Elliott Keefer at the wall. Opell is the first Hoosiers to win the 200-yard breaststroke since Kevin Swander in 2005, and is the 13th Hoosier overall to win the title.

    "It is a huge weight off my back," Opell said. "I have always been up there in the running for second and third, but I could never get that win. It is such a relief to finally get over that hump and get it. I am as excited as I possibly can be."

    Brenden Butler finished 15th with a time of 2:01.51. Sam Trahin took another second off his career best with a time of 2:01.98 to finish third in the bonus final and 19th overall.

    In the prelims, Opell glided past his competitors in heat four to take first in a time of 1:55.99, the third-fastest time in school history. That also made him the No. 1 qualifier in the championship final. Butler finished fifth in his heat with a career time of 2:00.84. Trahin took nearly eight seconds off his previous career best with a time of 2:02.55 to win his heat.

    Doug Spraul improved upon his career best in the championship final of the 200 backstroke, finishing fourth in a time of 1:43.24. Kevin Happ was sixth in the consolation final, 14th overall, with a time of 1:47.17. Austin Steel finished fifth in the bonus final and 21st overall with a time of 1:49.01.

    Spraul went a career best 1:43.69 to earn a spot in the championship final as the fourth-fastest swimmer of the morning. That is also an NCAA B cut for the junior. Happ and Steel went 1-2 in the second heat with Happ winning in a time of 1:46.69, followed by a career best of 1:47.63 from Steel. Happ qualified for the consolation final, with Steel in the bonus final.

    Ante Zoricic took 16th in the 100 freestyle with a time of 44.83. Daniel Kanorr posted a career time in the bonus final to finish 21st overall with a time of 45.47. Mark Wetzel was eighth in the bonus final and 24th overall with a time of 46.27.

    Zoricic was the fastest Hoosier in the 100 freestyle, qualifying for the consolation final with a time of 44.35, an NCAA B cut. Titus Knight went 44.97, finishing 25th. Wetzel won the opening heat with a time of 45.35, while Bryan Chovanec was third in 46.01, a new career best and 49th overall. In the next heat, Sean Ransenberg and Daniel Kanorr tied for first with identical times of 45.65, a career best for Ransenberg.

    Tyler Shedron took fourth in the consolation final and 11th overall in the 200 butterfly with a career best and NCAA B cut of 1:47.00 Bryant Honsa won the bonus final to finish 17th with a career time of 1:49.86. Tim Blue was sixth in the same heat, placing 22nd overall, with a time of 1:51.72.

    Shedron finished fourth in his heat with a time of 1:47.38. Blue was fifth in the same heat with a time of 1:50.39, just 3/100ths of a second off his career best. Bryant Honsa won his heat with a time of 1:51.39, taking more than five seconds off his previous career best. Bader Al-Muhana was seventh in his heat with a season best time of 1:52.33.

    In the championship final of platform diving, freshman Zac Nees surpassed his career best by more than 21 points with a score of 367.80, finishing seventh. All three of IU's divers advanced out of the platform preliminaries, with freshman Nees qualifying for his first championship final after finishing seventh with a score of 345.20. Casey Johnson posted a score of 267.65 in prelims and finished 14th with a score of 280.90 in the consolation final. Mick Dell'Orco placed 16th in prelims with a score of 259.55 and finished 15th with a score of 276.45 in the consolation final.

    In the 1,650-yard freestyle, Brenden Butler won his heat with a time of 15:21.17, giving him an NCAA B cut and an 11th-place finish overall. Alex Kotliarsky took more than a minute off his previous career best with a time of 15:22.21 to finish 12th. That is also an NCAA B cut. He led a 1-2-3 IU sweep in the heat with John Schnittker posting a career best and NCAA B time of 15:28.60 (16th), followed by Andrew Taylor in a career best 15:36.98 (25th). Illya Larin placed 27th with a time of 15:42.84, while Bart Ginocchio finished 28th with a time of 15:43.05. Ryan Downey was 36th in a time of 16:00.59.

    The meet concluded with the 400 freestyle relay as Knight, Zoricic, Honsa and Wetzel went 2:59.97, a season best and NCAA B Cut, finishing 10th.

    200 Backstroke

    4. Doug Spraul - 1:43.24 (career best; NCAA B Cut) - 1:43.69 prelims

    14. Kevin Happ - 1:47.17 (1:46.69 prelims; season best)

    21. Austin Steel - 1:49.01 (1:47.63 prelims; career best)

    100 Freestyle

    16. Ante Zoricic - 44.83 (44.35; season best; NCAA B Cut)

    21. Daniel Kanorr - 45.47 (career best) 45.65 prelims

    24. Mark Wetzel - 46.27 (45.35 prelims; season best)

    25. Titus Knight - 44.97 prelims

    36. Sean Ransenberg - 45.65 prelims (career best)

    49. Bryan Chovanec - 46.01 prelims (career best)

    200 Breaststroke

    1. Aaron Opell - 1:54.00 (school record; NCAA A Cut) 1:55.99 prelims (3rd fastest time in school history)

    15. Brenden Butler - 2:01.51 (2:00.84 prelims; career best)

    19. Sam Trahin - 2:01.98 (career best) 2:02.55 prelims

    200 Butterfly

    11. Tyler Shedron - 1:47.00 (career best; NCAA B Cut) 1:47.38 prelims

    17. Bryant Honsa - 1:49.86 (career best) 1:51.39 prelims

    22. Tim Blue - 1:51.72 (1:50.39 prelims)

    31. Bader Al-Muhana - 1:52.33 (season best)

    1,650 Freestyle

    11. Brenden Butler - 15:21.17 (NCAA B Cut)

    12. Alex Kotliarsky - 15:22.21 (career best; NCAA B Cut)

    16. John Schnittker - 15:28.60 (career best; NCAA B Cut)

    25. Andrew Taylor - 15:36.98 (career best)

    27. Illya Larin - 15:42.84

    28. Bart Ginocchio - 15:43.05 (season best)

    36. Ryan Downey - 16:00.59

    400 Freestyle Relay

    10. Indiana (Titus Knight, Ante Zoricic, Bryant Honsa, Mark Wetzel) - 2:59.97 (season best, NCAA B Cut)

    Platform Diving

    7. Zac Nees - 367.80 (career best) 345.20 prelims

    14. Casey Johnson - 280.90 (267.65 prelims)

    15. Mick Dell'Orco - 276.45 (259.55 prelims)

    First Team All-Big Ten

    Aaron Opell (200-yard breaststroke)

    Second Team All-Big Ten

    Bryan Chovanec (50-yard freestyle)

    Big Ten Sportsmanship Award

    David Piercy




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