Gophers sweep triple, quad duals in Wisconsin

The men’s and women’s teams backed up their ranking against quality opposition.

Nate Gotlieb

MADISON, Wis. — The Gophers men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams won all five of their dual meets this weekend at the Natatorium in Madison, Wis.

The men’s team defeated Purdue 209-144 and Wisconsin 196-157, improving to 6-1 in dual meets this season.

The women’s team defeated Purdue 268-85, Wisconsin 210-143 and Illinois 291-62 to improve to 10-0 in dual meets.

While the No. 16 Gophers women pulled away early in the weekend, it took an improved effort Saturday for the No. 15 men’s team to win.

Holding just a 10-point lead over unranked Wisconsin after Friday’s events, the Gophers pulled away behind strong races from sophomore CJ Smith and junior captain Derek Toomey.

Smith, who finished second in the 1,000-yard freestyle Friday, won the 500 freestyle Saturday.

While Smith was the only Gophers men’s swimmer to win a race Saturday, Toomey finished second in the 100 freestyle and the 400 freestyle relay, helping Minnesota solidify its lead over Wisconsin.

“A lot of guys stepped up today,” Smith said Saturday.

The men’s team also improved on the boards. After an off-night Friday, two Gophers divers placed in the top three in the 1-meter dive Saturday.

“The male divers today were so much stronger and more consistent than they were yesterday,” head men’s and women’s coach Kelly Kremer said. “They just came in much more focused.”

On the women’s side, freshman Kierra Smith won the 200 breaststroke and the 400 individual medley Saturday, and senior captain Haley Spencer won the 100 breaststroke and placed second behind Smith in the 200 breaststroke.

Sophomore Tori Simenec won the 200 freestyle and 200 IM, and sophomore Rebecca Weiland set a Natatorium record with her 100 butterfly victory Saturday.

Sophomore swimmer Kiera Janzen won three races over the weekend, including a victory Saturday in the 500 freestyle.

Janzen said she tried to swim a smarter race Saturday, saving more of her energy for the later part of the race.

“I was a little bit more conservative on the front end than I normally am so that I could build into it a little more and have some speed coming home,” Janzen said.

Janzen also won the 1,000 freestyle and the 800 freestyle relay.

Freshman diver Jessica Ramberg edged teammate Katie Grunawalt in the 3-meter dive Friday. Junior diver Sarah McCrady won the 1-meter dive Saturday.

Both the men and women will compete next weekend in the Minnesota Challenge at the University Aquatic Center, with less than a month until the Big Ten championships.

“[There is] lots we need to work on,” Kremer said. “But I think we’re in the right spot.”