Gophers sit in first place after day one of Big Tens

Matt Perkins

Big Ten records were broken Thursday night as the Big Ten Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships kicked off at the University Aquatic Center.

Minnesota and Indiana didn’t set any of the three, but the Gophers were more than happy to finish runner-up in two of them.

Coach Dennis Dale said he would take second- and third-place finishes all night as long as they kept Minnesota’s name at the top of the leaderboard, where it stood at the end of the night.

The Gophers are currently in first place after one day of the event with 218 points. Indiana narrowly trails with 205 points, and Michigan, which was expected to contest for the title, is currently sixth after a disqualification in the 400-yard medley relay.

“We’re not playing for winning individual titles,” Dale said. “We’re looking to win the overall team competition.”

Like the Gophers, Indiana consistently finished in the top five of events, keeping its team in the running for the title.

The Wildcats set two of the records, in the 200 freestyle relay (1:17.74) and the 400 medley relay (3:08.50), while the Wolverines’ Justin Vanderkaay set one in the 500 free (4:12.34).

Gophers distance specialist Justin Mortimer finished second to Vanderkaay in the 500 free, and the Gophers team finished second to Northwestern in the 200 free relay.

Teamwise, the fifth-ranked Wolverines’ struggles have opened the door for both the Gophers and Hoosiers.

“Michigan doesn’t seem to be swimming up to par,” Mortimer said. “I think its going to come down to us and Indiana now.”

Indiana should gain ground in diving, having the most divers in the field.

“We go into diving thinking they will pass us,” Dale said. “(Today) it was not as much ground as we thought they would make up.”

Indiana looks to exploit that advantage today beginning at 12 p.m. at the University Aquatic Center, where Big Ten records in the 400 individual medley, 100 butterfly, 200 free, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke and 3-meter diving will be targeted in day two.

Men’s tennis loses 4-3

Minnesota’s men’s tennis team lost 4-3 to Southern Methodist on Thursday in Dallas.

The dual was the Gophers’ first without coach David Geatz and assistant coach Adam Cohen, who were suspended with pay Friday. Minnesota plays Saturday at No. 23 Texas.