Minnesota takes multiple wins in Columbus

The men claimed second and the women won the Ohio State Invitational.

by Mark Mowery

After a long break between competitions, the menâÄôs and womenâÄôs swimming and diving teams headed to the Ohio State Invitational hoping to make a statement. They did. The men captured a second place team finish, behind only host Ohio State. On Friday, junior Michael Richards won the 50-meter freestyle in 19.92 seconds while junior Curt Carlson took second place in 20.17. Both gained NCAA-B meet qualifying times. Other strong finishes included the 200-free relay team of Richards, Carlson, junior Kevin Baseheart and junior Goran Majlat who took second place with a B-qualifying time of 1:19.77 and the 400-medley relay team of sophomore Karl Burdis , junior Ivan Gutesa , Baseheart and Carlson who also took second with a B-qualifying time of 3:15.09. Senior captain Alex Wold led the Gophers on the second day of the Invitational with a win in the 800-free relay (with Carlson, senior Ray Betuzzi and Baseheart) and a second-place 400 individual medley finish. The final day of competition saw Michael McBroom continue a successful freshman year, winning the 1,650-free with a B-qualifying time. Carlson added another victory in the 100-free. In the final event of competition, the Gophers took first, winning the 400-free relay behind Carlson, Richards, Baseheart and sophomore Zach Bolin . On the womenâÄôs side of the pool, Minnesota succeeded in every aspect of competition including relays, individual races and diving. The Gophers took home a first place finish in convincing fashion. Day one of the invitational saw a dominating performance by the Gophers, winning five of the six events and posting multiple NCAA qualifying times. The first event set the tone for success as the 200-free relay team of junior Alison Eggers , junior Meagan Radecke , junior Kaylee Jamison and sophomore Marissa Davies finished with a B-qualifying time of 1:31.98. Other winners on the day included sophomore Ashley Steenvoorden in the 500-free, junior Jillian Tyler in the 200-IM, sophomore diver Kelci Bryant in 3-meter diving, and the 400-medley relay team composed of sophomore Hannah Whitehead , Tyler, Jamison and Eggers. All swimmersâÄô times were NCAA-B qualifying times. Saturday at the invitational, the Minnesota squad showed no signs of slowing down, taking seven of eight events on the day. The Gophers capped a winning weekend with a successful Sunday winning three events. Steenvoorden won the 1,650-free in a B-qualifying time of 16:16.21 as Minnesota swimmers took first through fourth in the event. Other winners for the Gophers on Sunday included Tyler in the 200-breaststroke and junior Molly Belk in the 200-fly. Though the team was dominant this weekend, co-head coach Terry Nieszner was focused on the bigger picture. âÄúWe had some people perform very, very well and exceed our expectations,âÄù Nieszner said. âÄú[For] other people, it was just a little bit of a check point to see what we have to improve on.âÄù The squad finished 341 points in front of second place Ohio State totaling 1,125 points to the BuckeyesâÄô 784. âÄúIt gives us confidence going into the second half of the season, knowing where weâÄôre at right now,âÄù Nieszner said of the GophersâÄô success. âÄúItâÄôs kind of a double edge sword; it gives us confidence, but at the same time it lets you know thereâÄôs still a lot of work to be done.âÄù Neither team will swim until the New Year, with the menâÄôs team visiting Hawaii on Jan. 10 and the womenâÄôs team attending the Rutgers/Swim World Carnival Jan. 22 and 23.