Minnesota Challenge provides rest

The Gophers will sit most of their top competitors this weekend.

David Nelson

With Big Ten championships looming for both the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, the athletes competing at the conference meet will get some much-needed rest this weekend.

Some of the teams’ top performers will sit out at the Minnesota Challenge over the weekend. Thus, the the competition will give swimmers who don’t usually compete at meets a chance to showcase their talent.

“We’ll have some underclassmen do some things at this meet that will this year earn them a spot on next year’s Big Ten team,” head coach Kelly Kremer said. “I’m excited to see all of them perform well, and I know they all will.”

A season ago, then-junior Derek Toomey raced a personal best in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 19.83 seconds at the Minnesota Challenge.

This meet also gives the underclassmen a chance to see their growth from the start of the season to now.

“I’m looking forward to putting down some good times and just performing at my absolute best,” freshman Spencer Mattox said. “It’s an opportunity to swim and really show … the best effort and the best bit of swimming you can do.”

Mattox said the opportunity to show off to the coaches is in the back of his mind.

“It’s a chance to show what I’ve got going — what kind of contribution I can make,” he said.

Gophers junior Kiera Janzen, who won’t be participating this weekend, said she’s looking forward to watching some of her teammates swimming in their off-events.

“It’s kind of fun because you don’t have any expectations when you’re racing events like that,” Janzen said. “I think people are going to do great.”