The Gophers menâÄôs swimming and diving team was back in action on Saturday for the first time since its training session and meet against Hawaii on Dec. 30, and head coach Dennis Dale wasnâÄôt exactly impressed with what he saw.
âÄúI think we were a little tired coming off the training trip. We werenâÄôt as sharp as I would have liked us to be,âÄù Dale said. The fatigue, however, didnâÄôt stop the menâÄôs team from routing Missouri. Minnesota won 13-of-16 events en route to defeating the Tigers 189-109. The victory improved MinnesotaâÄôs record to 4-1 in dual meets.
Gophers swimmers captured the top four spots in the 1,650- and 100-yard freestyles, and took the top three spots in the 50- and 500-yard freestyles. Sophomore Matt Benecki won the 1,650 with a time of 15:48.38.
Senior Chris Peterson edged Benecki in the 500, finishing in 4:38.07, to BeneckiâÄôs 4:38.18. Senior All-American Michael Richards, fresh off being named Big Ten Swimmer of the Week, won both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events.
âÄúItâÄôs nice to have somebody whoâÄôs ready to step up every time we have a race,âÄù Dale said. âÄúHe doesnâÄôt back down from anybody.âÄù
Richards, the school record holder in the 50-yard freestyle, won the event with a time of 20.25, and won the 100 in 45.59 seconds. In addition to his individual success, Richards also anchored both relay teams to victories on Saturday. He teamed with Nadav Kochavi, Ivan Kutesa and Kevin Baseheart to win the 200 medley relay in 1:30.53. Richards and Baseheart teamed with Curt Carlson and Zach Bolin to win the 200 freestyle relay in 1:22.49.
Missouri diver David Bonuchi won the three-meter dive, with Minnesota senior Drew Brown finishing second. Brown also finished second in the one-meter dive, behind MissouriâÄôs Dante Brown.
The Gophers womenâÄôs team took 14-of-16 events to defeat Missouri just as comfortably as the men, 196-101. Senior Kaylee Jamison won both the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly with times of 23.54 and 55.19 respectively. She also was part of the victorious 200 medley and freestyle relays. All-American Ashley Steenvoorden had a big day, winning both the 200- and 500-yard freestyle races.
Reigning national champion and former Olympian Kelci Bryant won both the one-meter and three-meter dives, posting season-best scores in the process.
The victory over Missouri improved the Gophers women to 6-1 in dual meets.