Swimmers hold their own on Texas road trip

Brian Stensaas

Ask and ye shall receive.
Going into this weekend’s Texas Invitational, both Minnesota swimming and diving coaches said they asked their respective team members to turn in fast times this weekend.
They must have asked nicely.
The Gophers turned in a total of 17 NCAA consideration times and one NCAA automatic time through the first two days of competition in Austin.
Women’s coach Jean Freeman said there was a bit of Minnesota pride showing deep in the heart of Texas.
“We’re swimming very fast, much faster than we were (two weeks ago),” she said. “We’re holding our own down here and that’s something you can hold your head high about swimming against some of these teams.”
Namely, the Gophers have had to contend with a strong Arizona team. The Wildcats won six events through Saturday.
“Arizona is so powerful here,” she said. “On paper it’s one thing, but when you see it in person, it’s a whole new level.”
For the women’s team, senior Jenny Hennen and sophomore Jinny Smedstad both turned in a pair of NCAA consideration times. Hennen turned in consideration times in the 100-yard butterfly and the 50 freestyle, while Smedstad swam to a consideration mark in the 400 individual medley and the 400 freestyle. Seniors Terri Jashinsky and Andrea Simakova joined Hennen in the 100 butterfly to give Minnesota three NCAA consideration times in that event.
Carrying over from past meets, the women’s relay teams continue to shine. Through Saturday, all four of Minnesota’s ‘A’ relay teams turned in consideration times.

Men’s swimming and diving
Highlighting the first two days of competition for the men was junior Alex Massura’s time of 53.18 and second-place finish in the 100 backstroke. The time automatically enters him in the NCAA championship meet. Freshman Todd Smolinski turned in a consideration time in the same event.
Senior Yoav Meiri notched consideration times in two events, the 400 IM and the 100 butterfly. Junior diver Dan Croaston took second place in the 3-meter springboard competition.
The Gophers will not compete in another event until after the new year, but they will welcome 2000 with a bang. Both swim teams will take off for the annual Hawaii training trip Jan. 2 and condition until Jan. 15. The divers will be in Texas over the same stretch.
The next scheduled event is Jan. 22 against Iowa at the Aquatic Center.

Brian Stensaas covers swimming and diving and welcomes comments at [email protected]