Tune-up before Big Tens brings in-state teams to U

Only four Division I teams will compete this weekend.

Samuel Gordon

The Minnesota swimming and diving teams will be hosting the Minnesota Challenge this weekend, their final event before the Big Ten Championships later this month.   

The challenge is a unique event in that colleges from all over the state, no matter the division, will be competing. Despite that, menâÄôs coach Dennis Dale isnâÄôt taking the meet lightly.

âÄúMost of our athletes are swimming their prime events, although some athletes have already recorded times in their prime events that they are happy with going into the Big Ten [Championships],âÄù Dale said. âÄúWe have some of our better athletes swimming their prime events. We have some prime athletes swimming off events and we have some athletes trying to make the Big Ten travel squad.

âÄúEverybodyâÄôs competing.âÄù

The Minnesota Challenge will be the last regular season home event and the last ever event at home for the seniors. 

âÄúItâÄôs kind of hard to believe IâÄôm a senior already,âÄù said All-American Michael Richards. âÄúGoing into this meet, weâÄôre preparing for a championship season. And while itâÄôs not the last meet of the season, itâÄôs not the most important either, but itâÄôs certainly significant for me.âÄù

As far as the actual meet is concerned, Richards knows its importance with the Big Ten Championships looming.

âÄúItâÄôs kind of like the last dress rehearsal. We want to make sure were doing everything technically right. We want to make sure weâÄôre prepared,âÄù Richards said.

The two day event will start at 6 p.m. on Friday and continue on Saturday at noon, where there will be a senior recognition ceremony.

Other Notes

The 17-team meet will feature 10 other teams from Minnesota. Aside from the Gophers, the University of North Dakota, South Dakota State University and the University of Illinois will be the only other Division I teams in attendance.

Minnesota junior Kelci Bryant received her third Big Ten Diver of the Week Award of the season for her performance at Purdue.  Bryant won the 1-meter and 3-meter dives, posting a season-high score in the 3-meter.