Women qualify 16 for NCAA meet

The men qualified eight swimmers and divers.

Minnesota's Maggie Keefer and Katie Grunawalt dive Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, at the University Aquatic Center.

Ichigo Takikawa, Daily File Photo

Minnesota’s Maggie Keefer and Katie Grunawalt dive Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, at the University Aquatic Center.

Nate Gotlieb

The Gophers women’s swimming and diving team will send a school-record 16 swimmers and divers to the NCAA championships, thanks in part to the efforts of divers Maggie Keefer and Sarah McCrady.

Keefer and McCrady, both juniors, qualified for the championships this week at the NCAA Zone D diving meet in Houston. Keefer qualified Tuesday by placing second in the 1-meter diving competition, and McCrady qualified with a second-place finish in platform diving Wednesday.

The Gophers qualified 14 swimmers for the championships, the second-most by any team.

“This is one of the better teams that we’ve ever put together,” head coach Kelly Kremer said.

The Gophers posted their best finish at the NCAA championships — ninth — in 2011. That season, the Gophers sent 15 swimmers and divers to the championships.

Kremer said he thinks the team has a chance to place in the top 10 again this season.

“It’s going to require a true team effort,” he said. “Everybody that goes is going to have to contribute.”

Keefer has qualified for the championships in each of her three seasons at Minnesota. She scored in all three events at last year’s championships, including a fifth-place finish in 1-meter diving.

Senior Haley Spencer, who won the 200-yard breaststroke at the 2011 NCAA championships, and junior Tess Behrens, a five-time All-American, also qualified for the championships.

In total, Minnesota qualified three seniors, four juniors, six sophomores and three freshmen — Samantha Harding, Kierra Smith and Lauren Votava, who will make their first appearances.

The Gophers won their second consecutive Big Ten championship last month at the University Aquatic Center, winning nearly half of the events and scoring the most points by a team at the Big Ten meet since 1996.

Men qualify eight

The Gophers men’s swimming and diving team has qualified six swimmers and two divers for the NCAA championships, which start March 28 in Indianapolis.

Two Gophers divers — senior Mikey Ross and sophomore Jordan Lesser — qualified for the championships at the zone diving meet.

Lesser earned a spot Wednesday by placing third in platform diving. Ross qualified Monday by placing third in 1-meter diving.

The NCAA announced Wednesday that six Gophers swimmers qualified for the championships: senior Jared Anderson, sophomore Max Cartwright, senior Josh Hall, freshman Logan Redondo, sophomore CJ Smith and junior Derek Toomey.

The men finished 24th at the championships last season.