Ohio State Crowned National Champions

by Alyssa Jacobs, USA Artistic Swimming


The 45th U.S. Collegiate Championship wrapped up at McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion on Sunday in a spectacular fashion for the host team, the Ohio State Buckeyes, after the squad achieved another collegiate sweep in front of 655 fans and reclaimed the title of Overall Institution Champion. The Buckeyes collected 102 points with two teams, one trio, two duets and a solo combined with their technical finishes. Stanford collected 86 to take second ahead of University of the Incarnate Word with 72. After an exciting weekend of competition filled with first time championship appearances for Texas Woman’s University and UCLA, collegiate student-athletes collected their awards and returned home. 

The competition began Friday with preliminary rounds of solo, duet and trio. Ohio State topped the standings for these categories, with 2021 Champion Stanford following closely behind. Saturday opened the technical competition where all athletes competed in one of four tiers of figures. The champions of the A and B competition represented Ohio State while UCLA took the top place in C and Richmond claimed D figures. The Buckeyes set themselves up for success, owning six of the top ten placements in A figures and five of the top ten placements in B figures. Stanford athletes accounted for the rest of the top ten placements in A and athletes from Incarnate Word and Texas Woman’s University placed well in B. 

Heading into finals, Stanford had the most potential to improve its standings in the trio category, a division the institution is historically excellent in and one that is essential for success in the Overall Institution standings. Stanford’s top trio of Lindi Schroeder, Nicole Goot and Ava Jih-Schiff were just .3 behind Ohio State’s Emily Armstrong, Ruby Remati and Cassandra Neeley. Both trios had excellent performances in finals and the .3 gap remained with the Buckeyes crowned trio champions to open finals with a score of 83.7667. Stanford followed with 83.4333 for Goot, Schroeder and Jih-Schiff and 83.1000 for its second trio of Emma Tchakmakjian, Jacklyn Luu and Audrey Nguyen. Unviersity of Incarnate Word collected a fourth-place finish in this category and Texas Woman’s University claimed fifth. 

The duet category saw some of the highest-level competition of the weekend, with many squads showcasing extremely talented, and in most cases young, pairs. Ohio State counted two duets toward their championship, utilizing both seasoned pair and 2019 champions Laila Huric and Nikki Dzurko and the fresh talent of Remati and Armstrong. Both pairs had technically exquisite and impressive performances. Dzurko and Huric’s compatibility as a pair and experience set them apart and led to a repeat as champions in their return to the Collegiate Championship together with 85.2000 points. The gap between them and their Buckeye counterparts widened with the elder duo's extremely synchronized performance. Remati and Armstrong took silver with 84.1667 and 2021 champions Tchakmakjian and Luu produced a podium performance to claim bronze with 83.0667. 

2019 solo champion Nikki Dzurko added another championship to her resume in the solo category with a decisive victory and artistic performance, placing 1.8 ahead of her former national team teammate Lindi Schroeder. Schroeder made an impressive debut as a freshman soloist and took second, followed by Incarnate Word’s Nour Shamala, Texas Woman’s Ashley Latchford and UCLA’s Noela Seung. 

The team category was full of impressive talent from across the country. The competition was filled with high-flying lifts, long hybrids and challenging choreography.  The race was tight between Ohio State’s Scarlet team and Stanford’s squad after the preliminary competition. Stanford crafted a spider-themed instrumental routine and Ohio State utilized a powerful rap song. Both produced strong performances and showcased their stacked rosters of talent, but the Buckeyes edged Stanford in their home pool to take the championship with a score of 85.2667. Stanford followed closely with 84.5333 and Ohio State’s secondary team reclaimed a spot on the podium with their Buckeye-themed routine. University of Incarnate Word took fourth with 80.8 and Texas Woman’s University finished their first-ever championship with a fifth-place finish. 

To conclude the weekend, individual awards were given to those that produced especially exceptional performances over the course of the weekend. Overall High Point Athlete went to Canadian Emily Armstrong, who helped her team collect points in the duet, trio, team and A figure categories. 

Collegiate Coach of the Year was awarded to Holly Vargo-Brown, who helped the Ohio State program to its 33rd national championship with their decisive victory. She has been leading the Buckeyes to excellence for ten years as Head Coach and this year is the second time her athletes have swept all categories at the championship. 

Jacklyn Luu was selected as the 2022 Collegiate Athlete of the Year recipient. This is her second year winning the award, impressing the collegiate community with her academic dedication, longtime excellence in the sport and community service involvement. 


photos by James Rokop

10 photos

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