The Gophers men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams will compete against Iowa on Friday at the University Aquatic Center.
For the men, the dual meet is a shot at redemption.
Last year, Minnesota lost to the Hawkeyes for the first time in “a long time,” head men’s and women’s coach Kelly Kremer said.
“There is no question they left Iowa with a little bit of a bad taste in their mouth,” Kremer said. “They didn’t enjoy losing, and they saw how much Iowa enjoyed winning.”
The Hawkeyes beat the Gophers 160.5-139.5 last season.
“We weren’t too happy about losing last year,” junior Kyler Van Swol said. “So we’re not going to let it happen this year. We’ll do all we can to make sure it doesn’t happen.”
The Gophers started off the season with a loss to defending Big Ten champion Michigan and then took two weeks off from competition. Last weekend, they returned with a 191-100 victory over the Badgers.
“This year’s a new year,” Kremer said. “Maybe we’d like to start a new streak this year and not let [Iowa] continue the one they’re on.”
Van Swol won the 200-yard butterfly at last year’s meet. He said he thinks he can win the 100 butterfly this time. The swimmer that beat him in the 100 butterfly graduated.
As for the defending champion women’s team, Kremer said it may have a target on its back after starting the season undefeated.
“I think what we’re seeing from our women is maybe the team to be reckoned with in the Big Ten,” Kremer said. “And I’m sure people are going to be shooting for them.”
However, Kremer said the team isn’t distracted by dual-meet pressure. Instead, he said the women are already preparing for the postseason — including hopefully breaking the top eight at the NCAA championships.
Senior Haley Spencer said her team also creates short-term goals to help it keep dual meets intense.
“We make small goals before the meets,” Spencer said. “We look at the meet as [if] it’s going to be a competitive meet because these are the goals we want to reach.”
Spencer said it was hard to tell if other Big Ten teams were gunning for the Gophers now that they lead the conference.
“These are teams that we’ve been dueling for years now, and they do know the type of team we are,” Spencer said.
Some Iowa swimmers would challenge the Gophers, Spencer said. She cited sophomore Becky Stoughton — last year’s Big Ten Freshman of the Year — as tough competition for the freestyle swimmers.