03:47 AM

Ohio State synchronized swimming, pistol claim national titles

The Ohio State Synchronized Swimming Team capped a tremendous 2017 season with a National Championship, the 30th in program history, in a meet that took place on March 25. The Buckeyes, who were hosting the U.S. Collegiate Championships for the second time in the last three seasons, finished with 100 points, besting runner-up Stanford at 88 points.

The 30 national titles in program history are the most of any sport at Ohio State. This is the synchro team’s first title since also winning it in their home pool in 2015.

“I am thrilled for our team but mostly for our seniors,” said head coach Holly Vargo Brown. “From day one, the seniors have been the driving force telling everyone that we are getting this done this year. I am very happy for them that they are going out on this note. It’s so cool.”

The day started great for the Buckeyes as the trio of Lorraine Hack, Alyssa Hoying and Monica Velazquez-Stiak performed a beautiful routine and finished runner-up with a score of 83.6667. That score matched their score from Thursday’s prelims, which was a season high.

The duet final may have been the most emotional of the day. Swimming for the last time together in a collegiate event, seniors Emma Baranski and Elizabeth Davidson turned in one of the best performances of their careers. All of the years of hard work and overcoming multiple struggles culminated Saturday with a national championship-winning performance. The two received a score of 84.4333, which was their best of the season. Baranski and Davidson are the first Buckeye duet to win a national title since Meghan Kinney and Michelle Theriault in 2010.

Perhaps just as impressive was the duet of Hoying and Velazquez-Stiak. They notched a score of 84.0000 to finish runner-up behind Baranski and Davidson. All four shared tearful embraces with teammates and coaches as the scores were announced.

“The trio started the day and did exactly what we needed them to do, come right in between the two great Stanford teams,” Vargo Brown said. “We then felt that if we counted two duets this year, we could put enough pressure on the one Stanford duet in an event in which they are reigning champions, then maybe something good could happen. I didn’t expect us to finish 1-2 like we did. Our two duets just swam amazing today."

Of the 12 duets that swam in Saturday’s finals, the Buckeyes were the only two teams to improve their scores from Thursday’s prelims.

Baranski came into her senior season with the target on her back as the defending national solo champion. The Hamden, Conn., native posted a season-high score of 85.2667 Saturday and successfully defend her national title. She is the just the fourth Buckeye soloist to win back-to-back solo national titles.

“You could see when Emma swam that everyone was amazed by her ability to perform,” said Vargo Brown. "It was wonderful for her to know that all we needed her to do was go out and swim her normal routine and it sort of turned into a final farewell performance in front of the home crowd, which I’m sure gave her a little extra boost. I’m very happy for her.”

Baranski ends her Buckeye career as a two-time solo national champion, a duet national champion, a team national champion, a technical event national champion, a two-time team overall national champion, a two-time individual high point award winner and a four-time All-American. She was also named the U.S. Synchro Athlete of the Year by the coaches. The award goes to the student-athlete that shows tremendous character, commitment, sportsmanship, and academic and athletic achievements.

The U.S. Collegiate Championships were also a culmination of a season-long Zero Waste initiative by Ohio State and the synchronized swim team. All four events in McCorkle this season were part of Ohio State’s Zero Waste effort which has a goal of diverting at least 90 percent of material from the landfill to either recycling or compost.


Fourth women’s aggregate title in school history

The 2017 National Collegiate Pistol Championships have come to a close and Ohio State claimed two national titles to close out its 2016-17 campaign.

The Buckeyes claimed the fourth women’s team aggregate championship in school history and Irina Andrianova won her fourth individual championship, coming out on top in women’s sport pistol. It’s her third consecutive title in that event and the 33rd individual national championship in program history. 

Former Buckeyes Teresa Meyer (seven) and Jessica Marshall (six) are the only other shooters in program history who have earned more individual championships than Andrianova.

The other three women’s team aggregate crowns came in 2004, 2005 and 2009. This marks the 32nd team title in Ohio State history.

Overall as a team Ohio State placed fourth at the competition.

“Although we are disappointed with 4th place this year,” head coach Donna Knisley said, “everyone worked very hard to get to this national championship and we will continue to work toward our return next year. We had a fantastic regular season with no losses and plan to continue the same next year.”

The Buckeyes were able to claim their women’s aggregate championship thanks to some great performances on Thursday, including Andrianova’s title. After placing second in women’s 40-shot air pistol the day before (1,075), Ohio State came back to place first in women’s sport pistol (1,610), which vaulted them into the top spot of women’s aggregate.

Andrianova’s championship came as a result of her score of 555 in women’s sport pistol; teammates Kara Moody (548) and Emily Rust also placed in the Top 5 of that event.

Friday was the last day of competition in Fort Benning, with open air pistol the lone event remaining. Ohio State placed fourth in that event as well to secure its fourth place overall finish. Individually, Anthony McCollum claimed a silver medal in open air with his score of 565.