Badgers smash school record to begin Big Ten championships

Badgers smash school record to begin men’s Big Ten championships
UW finishes runner-up in 800 freestyle relay with impressive swim
Feb. 25, 2015

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Just two events have been completed at the 2015 Big Ten Men’s Championships, but the Wisconsin men’s swimming and diving team has already notched one school record while competing at the event in Iowa City, Iowa, on Wednesday night.

Cannon Clifton, Matt Hutchins, Brett Pinfold and Nick Caldwell combined to finish runner-up in the 800-yard freestyle relay and demolished UW’s school record in the process. The relay squad’s time of six minutes, 16.30 seconds broke the school record by nearly three seconds (6:19.22) — set last season — and edged out Indiana in an exciting battle for second place.

“It was an awesome race and it certainly puts us within the top-10 (times) in the country,” UW head coach Whitney Hite said of the 800 free relay. “It was a great relay and all four men had strong swims. We’re definitely excited about things moving forward.”

Recording an NCAA ‘A’ cut time, the Badgers also punched their tickets to the upcoming NCAA championships in March.

In the 200-yard medley relay, Ryan O’Donnell, Nick Schafer, Austin Byrd and Damon Zito teamed up to finish eight in the event. Clocking in at 1:27.49, the Badgers recorded the eighth-fastest time in UW program history.

“We got some great splits and I feel really good about the performance,” Hite said of the 200 medley relay. “The men know it’s going to be a battle across the board, so I was really proud of the way they competed.”

Through the first evening of competition, Wisconsin ended in fifth place with 56 points from two events. Michigan leads the championship team standings with 80 points.

The 2015 Big Ten Men’s Championships continue Thursday with preliminaries beginning at 11 a.m. (CT) and finals at 6:30 p.m.