Men take title in home swim meet

by Robert Mews

Minnesota’s men’s swimming and diving team dominated this weekend’s Minnesota Invitational at the University Aquatic Center.

That was because of, in large part, to the competition packing their bags and heading home early.

The ninth-ranked Gophers swept the competition in all seven of their events Sunday. The team finished with 1,762.5 points. Wisconsin, which went home after the morning prelims, finished in a distant second with 678.5 points.

“They (Minnesota) did a very nice job,” men’s coach Dennis Dale said. “They had good times despite the lack in competition.”

The men were led by junior Igor Cerensek. The six-time, All-American won the 50-yard freestyle, 100 free and 200 free events.

“I was not expecting to go that fast,” Cerensek said. “It was a very good weekend for me.”

Cerensek also helped the team wrap up the men’s 200 free relay, 400 free relay and 800 free relay events.

Yet Cerensek said the meet was difficult because the team had no competition coming into the finals Sunday.

Dale said the Badgers typically go home after the morning prelims to get back to Madison, rest up and make classes by Monday morning.

However, Cerensek said the lack of competition makes the finals that much more challenging.

“Swimming against (Minnesota junior swimmer Mario Delac), or some other fast guys from our team may be even harder than swimming against someone who you even don’t know,” Cerensek said.

Dale said he is looking forward to more competition at the Ohio State Invitational in two weeks.

“That should be a faster meet,” Dale said. “And it should give us plenty of competition, and we’re looking forward to some excitement.”

Women second

The women’s swimming and diving team was excited about its performance. They were in third place coming into the Sunday finals. However, the Gophers were able to capitalize from the early departure of Wisconsin, and finished in second place with 707 points. Notre Dame won the meet with 722 points.

Co-coach Kelly Kremer said he was pleased with the result, particularly with freshman Yuen Kobayashi.

Kobayashi was able to finish second in the 200-yard freestyle, 500 free and 1650 free event. Washington State’s Erin McCleave won all three of those events.

“We had a bunch of people step up this weekend,” Kremer said. “Our team took a step forward in a lot of areas.”