Touchdown in Columbus

Ryan Dean, athletic trainer for the Wisconsin men's swimming and diving team, is traveling with the Badgers for this week's 2010 Big Ten Championships and will file dispatches from the road for UWBadgers.com. Here is his first report.

And they're off!  The Wisconsin men's swimming and diving team has finally arrived in Columbus after a lot of hurrying and then a lot of waiting.

The first leg of the journey to Big Tens started at the Dane County Regional Airport, with a flight to Detroit.  Making sure to leave plenty of time for security, the team arrived at the airport two hours before takeoff. 

This led to a lot of sitting around, but they weren't alone as UW Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez greeted the team while waiting for the same flight on his way to NCAA meetings in Indianapolis.

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Above: Dan Koenig and Derrick O'Donnell (far right) wait with their Badgers teammates to depart the Dane Country Regional Airport on Tuesday.

After finally hitting the skies, the team was delayed again as inclement weather over Detroit led to a half hour of circling before finally touching down. With the delay in mind, it was a hurried walk across Detroit Metro Wayne County Airport as the team had only 15 minutes to get across two terminals before the gates were shut.  

In fact, the plane almost left two Badgers, as juniors Chuck Allison and Kyle Thompson detoured for food and we're literally only 30 seconds from being left in Detroit.

With the whole team safely aboard, it was off to Columbus...or was it?

Once again, the weather slowed the team down as the plane had to be de-iced before takeoff. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but as the fourth plane in line for the de-icer, a 35-minute flight turned into a 45-minute sit on the tarmac. Finally, after being sprayed down, the Badgers were finally off on the last leg of the journey and touched down in Columbus shortly before 9 p.m. Eastern time.

While it was a long day of travel for the athletes, their patience was well rewarded as an excellent dinner spread awaited them at the hotel. After eating, it was off to bed to get plenty of rest for Wednesday.

The Badgers had a morning swim to stretch out after the trip at 9 a.m. After that, more rest leading up to the 6 p.m. (Central) start time at the Bill and Mae McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion on the Ohio State campus.

The first night of the championships will feature the 200 medley and 800 freestyle relays. With each relay yielding 40 points for the winning team, the competition is certain to start with a flurry on Wednesday night.

Check in all week as we'll keep you updated on the Badgers and the Big Ten championships.

ON WISCONSIN