Men seek redemption at NCAA meet

The Gophers had their worst NCAA finish since 1990 last season.

Nate Gotlieb

The Gophers men’s swimming and diving team heads to the NCAA championships this weekend with the memory of a disappointing finish last season on its mind.

The team took 24th place at the championships last season, its worst NCAA finish since 1990.

“All we talked about this year was being better,” head coach Kelly Kremer said. “If we could move up the list, we’ll be happy with where we finish, providing that we perform well all the way through.”

Minnesota will send six swimmers and two divers to the 2013 championships, which begin Thursday morning at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis.

Captain Jared Anderson will compete in the championships for the first time in his career.  The senior breaststroker said he hopes to score in an event by placing in the top 16, which would also earn him All-America honors.

“If I’m here, I want to be doing something for the team and putting points on the board,” he said.

Joining Anderson at the championships are fellow seniors Josh Hall and diver Mikey Ross, as well as junior captain Derek Toomey and four underclassmen.

Hall will also participate in the championships for the first time. Ross competed in the championships for the first time last season and finished 11th in platform diving. He said he’s hoping to score in all three diving events this weekend.

Toomey is the most experienced member of Minnesota’s NCAA roster, having appeared in the championships in each of his three seasons at Minnesota. He has earned six All-America honors as part of relay teams and said he is hoping to score in an individual event this weekend.

Toomey finished third in both the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle at the Big Ten championships last month. 

Minnesota will also look for contributions from its four underclassmen. Sophomore CJ Smith will make his second appearance at the championships after finishing 13th in the 1,650 freestyle last season.

Sophomores Max Cartwright and Jordan Lesser and freshman Logan Redondo will make their first NCAA appearances this weekend.

Keefer earns Big Ten Diver of the Year

Junior diver Maggie Keefer  got a pleasant surprise Tuesday when she learned she had earned Big Ten Diver of the Year honors.

Keefer’s roommate and fellow diver sophomore Katy Etterman told her via text message that she had won the award.

“I was actually pretty shocked,” Keefer said. “I didn’t even know that there was a diver of the year, but now that I know, it’s a really great accomplishment.”

Keefer finished second in 1-meter diving and sixth in 3-meter diving at the NCAA championships earlier this month. She won titles in both events at the Big Ten championships in February.