Clean sweep yields convincing win for swimmers and divers

Gophers sweep all 16 events in 206-87 win against Kansas.

Betsy Helfand

The Gophers swimming and diving team improved to 3-0 after handily beating Kansas 206-87 on Oct. 20 at the University Aquatic Center.

Head coach Terry Nieszner said she credits the 16-event sweep to the teamâÄôs balance.

âÄúWe seem to be âÄî at least so far âÄî pretty strong,âÄù Nieszner said. âÄúWe have balance across the board and we have been able to compete very well even though Haley [Spencer] and Ashley [Steenvoorden] arenâÄôt with us right now.âÄù

Spencer and Steenvoorden competed at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, this past week.

Sophomore Tess Behrens and freshman Tori Simenec led the Minnesota charge with three wins each against Kansas.

Behrens won the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 54.22 seconds, an NCAA provisional qualifying time; and the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:00:35. She was also part of the winning 200-yard medley.

After last weekâÄôs meet against Iowa State in which freshmen accounted for seven of the GophersâÄô 13 event wins, MinnesotaâÄôs freshman class had another impressive showing.

Simenec won the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:03.38, the 100-yard butterfly (55:43), and participated in the 400-yard freestyle relay that finished first.

Freshmen Jessica Plant (200-yard freestyle and 200-yard individual medley), Blake Zeiger (50-yard freestyle), Keira Janzen (500-yard freestyle) and Becca Weiland (200-yard medley relay) also had first place finishes. Sophomore Maggie Keefer continued her successful season by winning the 1-meter dive for the third consecutive meet with an NCAA Zone Diving qualifying mark of 303.15.

âÄúI performed better than I expected. I wasnâÄôt really diving well all week so my performance yesterday was actually pretty unexpected,âÄù Keefer said.

Keefer has been named the Big Ten Diver of the Week for the past two weeks, an honor she described as âÄúawesome.âÄù

âÄúI didnâÄôt even know it was possible, so to earn it twice is just unreal to me,âÄù Keefer said.

The team now moves from non-conference competition to meets with Big Ten teams.

âÄúNow we need to focus on technique. They need to focus on details,âÄù Nieszner said. âÄúWeâÄôre swimming well right now but to compete at the level we want to, we have to step it up again another notch and sharpen our technique and details.âÄù

After two consecutive Big 12 meets, the Gophers will travel Oct. 28 to Madison, Wis., for their second Big Ten dual meet of the season.