Rest pays off for Gophers freshman swimmer

Ryan Schuster

After winning the 500-yard freestyle event Friday night at the University Aquatic Center, Gophers men’s swimmer, Bryan Carlson, decided he needed to rest up for the next day’s competition.
Carlson, a freshman, and the rest of the swimmers who did not make the travelling squad for the Big Ten championships in Bloomington, Ind., were competing in their last meet of the season at the Minnesota Challenge invitational. Unlike the rest of the team, they were shaved, tapered and rested.
Carlson stayed at his parents’ home in Rosemount to get away from his dorm room in noisy Frontier Hall, where he usually sleeps the night before a meet. The extra rest paid off as he continued his hot swimming Saturday by winning the second heat of the 100 and 200 freestyle events.
“Bryan had a great meet,” Gophers coach Dennis Dale said. “He has improved a great deal.”
Carlson, a St. Thomas Academy graduate, had season-best times in all three events in which he competed.
“It feels good,” Carlson said after Saturday’s competition. “It definitely is going to make me want to come back much stronger next season.”
Minnesota’s men’s and women’s swimming teams dominated the meet, despite holding out most of the team’s top competitors. Gophers Beth Shimanski (50 freestyle) and Jenny Hennen (100 butterfly) set new meet records.
The meet was open to individual athletes from local colleges but was not scored. Gustavus and St. Thomas brought several contestants to the meet, but neither school’s Division III athletes represented a threat for the Gophers’ teams. The No. 8 Gophers women (15-0, 7-0 in the Big Ten) will put their undefeated record on the line Feb. 20-22 at Big Tens.
Minnesota’s No. 9 men’s team (10-0, 4-0) also finished its regular season without a loss. The men will travel to Bloomington, Ind., for Big Tens, Feb. 27 through Mar. 1.
Men suffer rash of injuries
Minnesota’s men’s team has endured injuries to two of its top swimmers only two weeks before it competes at Big Tens. Junior freestyler and breaststroker Ty Bathurst and junior freestyle and individual medley swimmer Manolis Lentaris have both been hampered by minor ailments.
Bathurst hurt his lower back early last week lifting weights and re-injured it Friday night after he slipped on a patch of ice. Dale lists him as day-to-day, but hopes the two-time honorable mention All-American will be able to compete at the conference championships.
“He’ll be ready (mentally),” Dale said. “Our goal is to have him ready physically, though.”
Bathurst is currently ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten in the 50 freestyle, and No. 2 in the 100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke.
Lentaris separated his shoulder and also suffered an inflamed rotator cuff during the first week of practice after the team’s winter training trip in December. Despite sitting out several meets, he still has top-15 times in the conference in six different events.
The two-time All-American has been rehabilitating and riding an exercise bike to try to get back into shape. Lentaris swam in the 1,650 freestyle on Saturday to see how well his body has recovered. He finished third out of three swimmers in 17 minutes, 24.32 seconds, almost two minutes behind his best time of the season. Still, he is optimistic he will be able to compete at Big Tens.
“I’ll be fine for Big Tens,” Lentaris said. “I just want see how (the shoulder) responds because I haven’t swam any distance events for the past three weeks.”