Women’s swimming and diving wins

The Gophers avenged an early season loss to Kansas, winning Saturday 215-85.

Brian Stensaas

It’s been said that revenge is a dish best served cold. But in the case of Minnesota’s women’s swimming and diving team, it was served wet.

The Gophers avenged an early season loss to Kansas in the Minnesota Invitational by walloping the Jayhawks 215-85 in a Saturday dual meet at the University aquatic center. The win comes just one week after Minnesota completed its grueling two-week winter training trip to Hawaii.

Coach Jean Freeman admitted she thought the meet would be closer than it panned out to be, but she was thoroughly pleased with the outcome.

“They’re tired, no doubt about it,” Freeman said. “But we swam very well. This represented the hard work they have put in.”

In a team meeting before the meet, the Gophers set a goal of finishing 1-2-3 in the 50-yard freestyle – an event in which Kansas placed the top two finishers at the invitational.

Freeman said the goal was a lofty one, but her sprinters came through to take the top three spots.

Katy Coombe won the event in 23.91, followed by Jennifer Hasling (24.12) and Sara Vine (24.14).

While the 50-free was fast-paced and exciting, Freeman said the 100-yard backstroke held two events prior was the turning point.

A close race throughout was eventually won by Minnesota’s Megan Moore, who defeated Whitney Sondall by four-hundredths of a second.

In all, Minnesota placed first in 15 of 16 events, including setting two meet records.

Moore’s 2:02.90 in the 200 backstroke topped her own meet mark set last year while Minnesota’s “A” 200 medley relay team’s time of 1:45.06 shattered a seven-year-old record of 1:47.13.

In addition to Moore, two other Gophers notched multiple wins.

Team captain Juleen Rodakowski won both the 200 individual medley and the 200 butterfly, while Melissa Schold won both the 100 and 200 breaststroke.

In the diving well, Shannon Jackson’s 289.58 won the 1-meter competition while Rebecca Cornthwaite notched a 308.60 on the 3-meter board.

After postponing their dual with Iowa to this Sunday and already having scheduled a triple-dual event at Wisconsin on Friday and Saturday, the Gophers will swim three consecutive days this weekend.

It will be exhausting, yes. But there’s likely nothing better to prepare for the Big Ten championships Feb. 18-21 at the aquatic center.

“We have to really work on fine-tuning the little things (this weekend),” Rodakowski said. “If we just look at it in little chunks rather than thinking we have to go three straight days, we’ll be fine.”