Gophers swim and dive have strong showing in Indiana

Minnesota head coach Kelly Kremer served as an assistant for the Big Ten Women’s All-Star team and five Gophers swimmers competed.

Kierra Smith swims the 100-yard butterfly against Iowa State on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012,  at the University Aquatic Center.

Image by Ichigo Takikawa, Daily File Photo

Kierra Smith swims the 100-yard butterfly against Iowa State on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, at the University Aquatic Center.

by Alyssa Hodenfield

A handful of Minnesota swimmers traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana over the weekend to test their skills against the best of the best.

The U.S. National Team beat the Big Ten All-Stars in the inaugural USA College Challenge, but the Big Ten swimmers, including five Gophers, put up a good fight.

Head Gophers swim and dive coach Kelly Kremer served as an assistant coach for the women’s Big Ten team.

“We had a great time just working together and supporting each other,” Kremer said. [Coaching together is] something we don’t get an opportunity to do very often, so for me, it was a really fun weekend.”

The 400 individual medley was a strong event for the Gophers on Saturday.

Junior Brooke Zeiger took second in the 400 IM with the fastest collegiate time in the country this year at 4:05.41. Zeiger finished just over three seconds behind Team USA’s Brook Forde.

“I was pretty nervous going up, but I felt really good in warmups, so I was feeling confident in myself and was excited to get up and race the fastest girls in the country,” Zeiger said. “I focused on my technique and felt in control during the race, which was nice.”

Senior Jakub Maly had a strong showing in the men’s 400 IM. He finished third with a time of 3:48.26 and was less than two seconds behind the first place finisher, Michigan’s Charlie Swanson.

Breaststroke was also a success for Minnesota’s participants.

On the women’s side, senior Kierra Smith took second in the 200 breaststroke (2:05.83), and freshman Lindsey Horejsi finished third in the 100 breaststroke (59.50).

For the men, junior Conner McHugh finished fourth in the 200 breaststroke (1:57.34) and fifth in the 100 breaststroke (54.53).

“I think it went really well,” Zeiger said. “I wasn’t really sure what to expect. It was just a whole new experience … The coaching staff was great, it was exciting, and we just went in and had a lot of fun.”

The Gophers swim teams will take the week off to train for the AT&T Winter Nationals and the Jean Freeman Invitational, and the Minnesota diving team will travel to Indianapolis next weekend to compete in the IUPUI Diving Invitational.

“We’re really going to go back and continue to work on little things … to improve upon for them to compete and go in the direction that we want them to,” Kremer said. “[We’ll] get ready to swim fast the first part of December.”