Gophers defeat Iowa State without top guns

This weekend gave the team’s freshmen an opportunity to prove themselves.

by Betsy Helfand

The Gophers swimming and diving team posted a commanding 199-100 victory over Iowa State on Saturday at Beyer Pool with wins in 13-of-16 events.

With stars Ashley Steenvoorden and Haley Spencer in Mexico for the Pan American Games and many upperclassmen left at home, Minnesota headed to Iowa State shorthanded, but still came out with the win.

Freshman Katie Anton and junior Elizabeth Weitz both posted first-place finishes in two separate events.

Anton won the 100-yard and the 200-yard backstroke with times of 57.81 seconds and 2:02.17, respectively.

The team sported a different look than the one that defeated Michigan on Oct. 7-8.

âÄúWe left some people at home so it allowed some people to step up and prove themselves, which I think people did,âÄù head coach Terry Nieszner said. âÄúWe had some great performances.âÄù

Many of those left in Minnesota were upperclassmen, which gave several freshmen the opportunity to prove themselves.

âÄúWe wanted to give people the opportunity to compete in scoring events, kids who havenâÄôt had that opportunity. We also wanted to bring our freshmen to see where they are at, giving them a little bit more experience, and some experience to travel,âÄù Nieszner said.

The GophersâÄô freshman class did not disappoint, combining for seven of MinnesotaâÄôs 13 wins, including a relay with two freshmen.

âÄúHaving freshmen win events is always fun âĦ WeâÄôve been very impressed with our freshman class. [These results] show our depth and strength of our younger kids,âÄù Nieszner said.

Clare Chamberlain won her first collegiate event Saturday in the 200-yard individual medley.

âÄúIt felt great to go out there, swim my best, win one for the team and help contribute to our win against Iowa State,âÄù Chamberlain said, adding that the win was a âÄúreal confidence booster.âÄù

Freshman Kiera Janzen set a meet record in the 1,000-yard freestyle with a time of 10:03.51. Freshmen Devin Ste. Marie and Christie Clarke also posted individual event wins, and were part of the winning 400-yard freestyle relay.

Sophomore Tess Behrens was also on that relay. She was named last weekâÄôs Big Ten Big Ten Swimmer of the Week and continued her impressive start to the season.

She also won the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 52.45.

Maggie Keefer, last weekâÄôs Big Ten Diver of the Week, won the one-meter dive for the second week in a row, setting a meet record and a NCAA Zone Diving qualifying mark of 305.92 in the process.

Nieszner said the team needs to focus on sharpening details as the season progresses.

Still, with the freshman talent and returning group of older swimmers and divers, Nieszner said she believes that the current team has the potential to finish in the top-10 at the NCAA Championships. The team finished ninth a year ago.

âÄúItâÄôs definitely a goal for us,âÄù Nieszner said. âÄúItâÄôs definitely a challenge and we love a challenge. ItâÄôs what we want to do and weâÄôre going to do everything we can to do it.âÄù

The Gophers return to action Oct. 21 at the University Aquatic Center for another Big 12 matchup, this time against Kansas.