Minnesota Challenge marks beginning of home stretch

Matt Perkins

The competition at this weekend’s Minnesota Challenge won’t provide much of a challenge to Minnesota’s men’s swimming and diving team.

Instead, the eighth-ranked Gophers will create their own challenge ” improving on things they’ve seemed to have no trouble with this season.

“Right now we are at the point where we are trying to get better on the little things that can plague a team,” coach Dennis Dale said. “We need to get better at stuff like our relay exchanges and turns.”

That may be news to the Gophers A and B relay teams who have done nothing but dominate their competition this season.

The Gophers have not lost a single relay event this season ” a perfect 23 of 23.

Believing the team can get better in the relay events is a scary thought for Gophers’ opponents.

Minnesota’s winning ways in the relays are even scarier if you consider that the Gophers B team has won two of the 23 relay events, and even the Gophers D team got a win in the 400 free relay at the Minnesota Invitational back in November.

“I think the thing that we have to be most impressed with is not the fact that we are winning all of the events, but that we are getting the seconds and the thirds,” Dale said. “That’s something these guys take a lot of pride in working on.”

Women begin to rest

Minnesota’s women’s swimming and diving team has begun to rest most of its team.

In preparation for the Big Ten Championships at the end of the month, the Gophers are slowing down the pace a bit to save most of their energy.

“The only group that isn’t going to rest yet is our distance group,” co-coach Kelly Kremer said. “The rest is going to get us ready for Big Tens.”

And last weekend’s quad duals against Wisconsin, Purdue and Illinois have only made Minnesota more eager to get back in the pool against the best in the Big Ten.

But the women are going to rest, so now it’s just a matter of figuring out what works best for each individual.

“It’s an individual thing as far as how people react to the rest,” co-coach Terry Nieszner said. “What we aren’t worried about is our performance level dropping off. We fully expect everyone to come ready to compete.”