Steenvoorden, Spencer to compete in Pan Am Games

by Betsy Helfand

Ashley Steenvoorden and Haley Spencer of the women’s swimming and diving team will compete this week in the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Steenvoorden will swim in the 400-meter freestyle Oct. 17, and Spencer will compete on Oct. 20 in the 200-meter breaststroke. Both earned their spots after performances at the ConocoPhillips National Championships in August.

This will be the first time either represents the United States in their careers. Men’s and women’s head swimming coach Kelly Kremer will serve as one of Team USA’s assistant coaches. Former Gophers swimmer Christine Jennings will also compete in the Games, in the open water 10k.

“With [Steenvoorden] and [Spencer] there and Kelly on the coaching staff, it definitely lifts our program to another level again,” women’s head coach Terry Nieszner said.“We’re on the international scene now, and I think it’s also great for our underclassmen to see that if [Spencer] and [Steenvoorden] can do it, [the freshmen] can do it too. It just raises the bar and it’s good for the entire program.”