Freestyle events have consistently been Ohio’s best all season long, as it won nine out of 10 in a split of dual-meets against Marshall and Bowling Green over the weekend.
The Mid-American Conference Coaches’ Preseason Poll had Ohio and Bowling Green in fifth and sixth, respectively — but Ohio revealed a gap in those rankings with a 169.5-130.5 win in the final dual-meet of the year Saturday
“The results show that we're definitely headed in the right direction, and we've just got to stay the path and stay strong and keep fighting to continue to move further and further up the rankings," coach Rachel Komisarz-Baugh said.
Emilia Lahtinen swept both breaststroke events for the first time in the dual-meet season. Both the 100- and 200-meter breaststrokes the times were the fastest of the dual-meet for her.
Ohio opened the meet with a win in the 200-meter medley relay, showing what was to come of the meet. The meet was already decided by the final event, but the Bobcats took home a comfortable win in the 400-meter freestyle relay.
Winning the freestyle events was not enough for Ohio, as it had 11 of the 15 top-three finishes in the five races. Hannah Schlegel had the longer distance events on lockdown as she picked up first-place in both the 500- and 1,000-meter freestyles.
For the first time this season, Emily Zimcosky won the 100-meter freestyle and added a win in the 200-meter freestyle. Corrin Van Lanen had her fourth first-place finish in the 50-meter freestyle.
Van Lanen continued her dominance in the 100-meter butterfly and also had her second-straight win in the 100-meter backstroke, which she had not swam before this weekend.
Ohio won nine of 16 events but fell to Marshall 151.5-147.5 on Friday.
The Bobcats were the favorite coming into the meet but failed to meet expectations.
“I think we might have underestimated Marshall a little bit," Komisarz-Baugh said. "We had seen some of the times that they had swam throughout the season and we knew we were faster than that. To Marshall's credit, they stepped up and did an amazing job and swam faster than they had throughout the season, and we did not.”
Nicole Hughes dove to victory in both the 1- and 3-meter by 30 points for her first two wins of her college career.
Van Lanen netted three first-place finishes in three different strokes, including her college debut in the 100-yard backstroke. In the 100-meter butterfly, Van Lanen won for the first time in 2018 and improved her time by .05 seconds from last time out against Akron in the 100-meter freestyle.
The 100-yard breaststroke saw three swimmers finish within .01 seconds of each other, as Lahtinen and a Marshall swimmer tied for first with Claire Mikesell in third.
The Bobcats picked up wins in four of five freestyle events with Zimcosky first in the 50- and 200-yard freestyles. In addition to Van Lanen's first place finish in the 100-yard, Schlegel had her own victory in the 1,000-yard freestyle and second-place in the 500-yard freestyle.
After the close loss in which Ohio did not perform as expected, the victory Saturday was a good sign, even though the times were not as fast as expected.
“For them to be able to rebound from (Friday) I think is something that is showing the growth and maturity of this team,” Komisarz-Baugh said. “I don't think that's something we've always been able to do, so it’s nice to see we did that.”