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Men’s swimming: Ohio State sends six swimmers to NCAAs to compete against top talent

Members of the Ohio State men’s swimming team break from a huddle after competition at the 2017 Big Ten Men’s Swimming Championships. Credit: Sydney McNulty | Lantern reporter

The Ohio State men’s swimming team will head to Indianapolis for the 2017 NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships, after an impressive second-place finish at the Big Ten Championships.

Last year, the Buckeyes finished 15th overall. They hope to finish higher this year with six swimmers competing at championships after standout performances at Big Tens. Four other swimmers will be travelling as reserves.

Senior Matt McHugh will lead the team qualifying for the 100-yard butterfly, 100 backstroke and 100 freestyle. He is currently seeded in the top eight in both the butterfly and backstroke.

In the 100 butterfly, McHugh is seeded sixth with a time of 44.91 seconds and will face U.S. Olympian and Florida standout Caleb Dressel, along with Texas’ Joseph Schooling. Like McHugh, Dressel and Schooling each took home conference championships in the event.

McHugh is the seventh seed in the 100 backstroke with a time of 45.25, and will swim head-to-head against yet another Olympian, California’s Ryan Murphy who is No. 1 in the event with a time of 44.61.

Other Buckeyes who will swim multiple events include senior Josh Fleagle, who qualified in the 200 and 100-yard freestyle, along with freshman Noah Lense, who has high expectations for the 100 and 200-yard butterfly.

“I want to drop some time still,” Lense said. “My goal is to try to get some national age-group records for the 100 and 200 fly.”

Junior Jack Barone will represent OSU in the 200-yard breastroke, while junior Brayden Seal and senior Joseph Long are set to compete in the 500-yard freestyle.

While individual swims are important to the team, the focus this year is on performing well in the relays, McHugh said.

“I really don’t care as much about individual,” he said. “I am just going to try to do as well as I did last year. I would like to do well on our relays. Hopefully we will be all-American and finish in the top eight.”

OSU represent in every relay event in Indianapolis, with three groups seeded in the top eight. The Buckeyes are seeded fifth in both the 200-yard freestyle and 400 medley relays, and are sixth in the 400-yard freestyle relay.

The competition will be turnt up a notch from Big Tens, as the Buckeyes will compete against Big Ten champion Indiana and other top-ranked schools like Florida and California, along with the reigning national champions, Texas, whom the Buckeyes will race against in every relay event.

“It’s a whole new meet,” McHugh said. “The conference is just a few teams, but NCAAs is everyone, so it’s the top guys in the country facing off against one another. It’s definitely a huge meet, with way more competition.”

The competition starts Wednesday evening at the Indiana University Natatorium, and will continue through Saturday.

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