Men’s string of NCAA top-15s reaches 20

Michael Richards and Curt Carlson earned 3 All-America honors apiece.

Swimmers compete in the 200-yard butterfly at the 2011 NCAA Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships Saturday at the University Aquatic Center.

Anthony Kwan

Swimmers compete in the 200-yard butterfly at the 2011 NCAA Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships Saturday at the University Aquatic Center.

The Gophers menâÄôs swimming and diving team extended its streak of consecutive top-15 finishes to 20 with a 15th-place finish at the NCAA championships.

California claimed the team championship with 493 points, its first NCAA title since 1980.

âÄúComing into the meet, we knew we could do something special here,âÄù Cal senior Nathan Adrian said. âÄúThe tough part was balancing putting too much pressure on our shoulders with making sure we had a good time.âÄù

Adrian stole the show at this yearâÄôs championships. The former Olympic gold medalist won the 50-yard freestyle in an American record time of 18.66 seconds. He won his third consecutive title in the 100-yard freestyle in 41.10 seconds and was a part of the BearsâÄô champion 400-yard medley and freestyle relay teams.

He was named swimmer of the championships for his performance.

MinnesotaâÄôs athletes enjoyed individual success of their own. All 10 who participated walked away with All-America honors.

Senior Michael Richards was part of the 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams that finished seventh and eighth, respectively, as well as the 11th-place 200 medley relay.

Richards came into the meet with high expectations in the 50 freestyle, as he was seeded second in the event, but turned in a somewhat disappointing performance, failing to qualify for the finals.

âÄúSometimes itâÄôs tough to get up and go in the first swim of the meet,âÄù he said. âÄúNCAAs are a lot less forgiving than Big Tens. Big Tens I can go 19.4 and still get into the finals. At this meet, you canâÄôt do that. YouâÄôve got to get going right away.âÄù

Richards would go on to redeem himself, winning the consolation final in 19.39, a time that would have earned him a sixth-place finish in the finals had he qualified.

Senior Curt Carlson was also a part of the 200 and 400 freestyle relays, as well as the 15th-place 800-yard free relay team.

Freshman Derek Toomey made a big splash at his first-ever championships, earning All-America honors in the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle relays as well.

Senior Ivan Gutesa turned in an impressive meet, finishing eighth in the 100-yard breaststroke. Gutesa was also a part of the 200 and 400 medley relay teams that finished 11th and 15th.

In his first championships, freshman Kyler Van Swol earned two All-America honors in both the 400 medley and 800 freestyle relays.

Senior Drew Brown became the first Minnesota diver since 2001 to earn multiple All-America honors in his career with a 16th-place finish on the platform dive.

âÄúWe really put all our eggs in the Big Ten basket. ThatâÄôs the meet we really worked for during the season,âÄù Richards said. âÄúWhen you only have three weeks to get ready again itâÄôs really tough to get back up and get back down and be as ready and as rested as you would be at Big Tens.âÄù

MinnesotaâÄôs contingent at this yearâÄôs championships was senior-heavy. Asked about his teamâÄôs prospects for 2012, head coach Dennis Dale said, âÄúWe have some work to do.âÄù

Other Notes

Former Gophers swimmer Michael McBroom, now of the University of Texas, won the 1650 freestyle. The sophomore cited family as the reason for leaving Minnesota.