Strong showing in the relays give men decisive victories

A big-time Big Ten meet had the men’s swimming and diving team preparing as if it were the conference championship meet over the weekend.

up next

Minnesota Challenge
what: Women’s swimming
when: 6 p.m., Saturday
where: University Aquatic Center

Coach Dennis Dale used the strength of Minnesota’s depth as an advantage in their triple dual meet against No. 12 Purdue and Wisconsin.

The No. 8 Gophers won 203-150 against the Boilermakers, the toughest opponent since the first meet of their year, and delivered a 265-88 trouncing of the Badgers.

“We made the decision to sacrifice individual events in order to swim the best relays,” Dale said. “Their best guy may match up with us, but their second, third and fourth couldn’t.”

up next

Minnesota Challenge
what: Men’s swimming
when: 6 p.m., Friday
where: University Aquatic Center

The strategy worked as Minnesota won all of the relay events to grab the victory.

After the first day, Minnesota held only a six-point advantage and senior Tyler Schmidt said the meet had the feel of a championship meet.

“We knew they (Purdue) were going to give us a run,” he said. “It was nice to swim a meet with strategy involved, it added more excitement.”

Tactics surfaced again on the second day when Dale decided to have senior Mike Woodson swim the 100-yard butterfly just seconds before the race began. The Boilermakers’ butterfly swimmer had just posted a strong time on his leg of the relay and Dale knew his team needed a strong showing in the event.

Woodson, typically a freestyler who only began swimming the butterfly this year, set a career best in the event with a time of 48.52 for the win with the meet hanging in the balance.

“Purdue gave us everything they had,” Dale said. “We worked for every win.”

Women miss opportunity with Wisconsin

The women’s team did not participate in the first day of competition in the quad dual meet because of flight cancellations in Chicago, but got into the pool Saturday for a modified meet where they faced Illinois and Purdue.

Minnesota promptly dealt with the Illini and Boilermakers by handing Illinois a 140-37 thumping and beat Purdue 120-64.

Wisconsin also participated in the meet, but their scores did not count against the No. 9 Gophers.

Co-head coach Kelly Kremer looked forward to the opportunity to compete against the Badgers because his team hasn’t had success against Wisconsin in recent years.

Perhaps it was good fortune that the Gophers didn’t face the Badgers.

The Gophers finished sixth in the 400 freestyle relay, three seconds behind first-place finishers Wisconsin.

“Wisconsin was so far ahead, it kind of put things in perspective,” Kremer said. “We still have a ways to go.”

Minnesota continued to flex its muscle in the 200-butterfly event as they captured the top three spots. Freshman Jillian Tyler did what she’s done all year long and won the event with a time of 2:13.12. Juniors Kait Strickland and Alicia Jensen followed, placing second and third, respectively.

“This was a good test going into Big Tens,” Kremer said. “We’re going to face some good teams in the next month.”