Ress Named Big Ten Swimmer of the Year
March 29, 2011
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - A pair of runner-up finishes at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships and four All-America designations have earned Indiana University sophomore Eric Ress the title of Big Ten Swimmer of the Year, the conference office announced today.
Ress capped his sophomore season with second-place finishes in the 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke at the NCAA Championships last week in Minneapolis. Ress placed second in the 100 back with a time of 45.14, the third-fastest mark in school history and just a tenth of a second behind winner Tom Shields of California (45.02). Ress earned All-America honors in the event for the second time in his career after placing 11th as a freshman at the 2009 meet.
That same day Ress was also designated an All-American as part of IU's 800-yard freestyle relay team which finished 13th in a time of 6:26.88, the second-fastest time in Hoosier history. Ress also swam the backstroke leg in morning prelims on the 200 medley relay team, which went on to finish 16th for All-America honors.
On the meet's third and final day, Ress put up a school-record time of 1:39.62 in the 200 backstroke prelims to enter the championship final as the top seed. The sophomore went even faster in the evening, topping his own school mark with a time of 1:38.96, but came up just a touch short for a second-place finish. Arizona's Cory Chitwood had a winning time of 1:38.84, making it the closest 200 backstroke race at the championship meet since the NCAA starting timing out to 100ths of a second.
Ress is just the third Big Ten swimmer to go under 1:40 in the event, joining NCAA champion Tyler Clary (Michigan) and Olympian Matt Grevers (Northwestern).
"Eric had one of the more inspirational season I can remember by any athlete," said head swimming coach Ray Looze. "He only lost the 100 back once all season while competing against some of the best backstrokers in the NCAA. At Big Tens he placed second in the 200 back with a broken hand. Once at NCAAs, he overcame the hand injury and its impact on his training to place second in both the 100 and 200 back, leading our team to a top-20 finish.
"The experiences gained from such adversity will serve him well in 2012 as he pursues a berth at the Olympic Games and beyond. In addition to his swimming exploits, Eric is a fantastic premed student who plans to be a dentist later in life. He is a true leader by example and champion to IU both in and out of the pool."
In February at the same pool, Ress won his first Big Ten title with a victory in the 100 backstroke. His time of 45.11 at the Big Ten meet was a meet record and is the second-fastest time in school history. Ress also took second in the 200 backstroke on the final day, despite the fact he had broken his hand on the final touch of the 100 backstroke a day earlier. Ress also finished third in the 200 individual medley with a school-record time of 1:44.07 set in prelims, and set a new school record in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:34.67 on the leadoff leg of the 800 freestyle relay.
Ress has also made a name for himself on the international level. In 2010 he won the French Long Course national title in the 200-meter backstroke, earning a spot on the European Championships team where he went on to finish eighth in the event. Ress was unable to defend that title in 2011 as the French National Championship meet was held last week at the same time as the NCAA meet.
Ress is the second Indiana athlete to earn Big Ten Swimmer of the Year honors on the men's side, joining fellow backstroker Ben Hesen who won the award in 2008.
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