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Minnesota rowing finishes second to Badgers three times at Head of the Rock

Minnesota’s rowing team finished second in three events, including the Open Eight race, Sunday at the Head of the Rock regatta in Rockford, Ill.

The Gophers’ First Varsity Eight boat finished second out of 42 entries. Wisconsin won the event in a time of 15:43.29, and Minnesota was just over 13 seconds slower at 15:56.97.

This Minnesota shell consists of Kristi Branigan, Cheryl Wick, Jillian Casey, Vilma Stragyte, Erika Bartkute, Andrea Pierce, Beth Ratterman, Katie Biese and Lida Storch.

Minnesota’s B boat was approximately 10 seconds behind them, finishing in a time of 16:06.7 and taking home fifth place overall. The C boat took seventh in 16:18.82.

In the Open Four competition, the Gophers had three boats finish in the top five, but they lost to the same foe.

The Badgers once again won the race. But Minnesota B was just more than three seconds behind in a time of 17:38.04 in second, the A boat was third in 17:45.11 and the C boat was fifth in 17:50.61.

The Gophers’ third second-place finish of the event came in the Novice Eight race, in which the A boat clocked in at 17:18.06. Wisconsin won its third event of the day in a time of 17:04.59.

Minnesota’s B boat finished in seventh place in a time of 18:18.89.

Minnesota next travels to Boston for the Head of the Charles regatta, Oct. 24 – the second day of the two-day event.

Mortimer wins gold, bronze

Minnesota swimming and diving senior Justin Mortimer took home a gold and a bronze medal from the FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships Saturday in Indianapolis.

Mortimer earned his gold medal while anchoring the U.S. team in the 800-meter freestyle relay, which won the race with a time of 7:03.71 and edged second-place Australia by a mere .07 seconds.

Mortimer’s bronze medal came in the 400-meter freestyle. He had a time of 3:44.70 and passed the Czech Republic’s Kvetoslav Svoboda in the final lap to secure the medal.

Another U.S. swimmer – Chad Carvin – who was also on Mortimer’s gold-winning 800-meter team, won the silver medal in the 400-meter.

Mortimer, who will be a senior for the Gophers in the 2004-05 season, will be competing in the 1500-meter freestyle today.

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