Georgia Invite no problem for Minnesota

Dan Miller

Like the entire Florida State men’s swimming and diving team, Minnesota junior swimmer Adam Mitchell was shaved and tapered for the Georgia Invitational.

Mitchell, who said he was hoping for NCAA bids in his strongest events, automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 200-yard individual medley while provisionally qualifying for the 200 backstroke and 400 IM.

Mitchell and the 7th-ranked Gophers had another impressive performance in Athens, Ga., winning the meet with 1,215.5 points.

Florida State was second with 860.5 points.

Blowing the competition away Friday, Mitchell won the 200 IM in 1:46.59 – nearly four seconds faster than his closest competitor.

Senior Terry Silkaitis automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships in two races. He won the 100 freestyle in 43.27 and recorded the nation’s third-best time in the 200 freestyle, finishing in 1:35.98.

Minnesota’s 800 free relay was again strong, posting the nation’s best time in 6:27.21. The Gophers team of Mitchell, Sean McCaffrey, Justin Mortimer and Silkaitis has the fastest time this season by more than four seconds.

“We certainly dominated the races,” Minnesota coach Dennis Dale said. “We got some competition, but we came in wanting to be in the driver’s seat, and that’s what we did.”

The Gophers will be practicing for the next couple weeks leading up to final exams, which begin Dec. 16. On Jan. 1, they will travel to Hawaii for a winter training trip.

Dale said he is not worried that the Gophers will lose any focus during this time.

“We will get back to hard work after finals,” he said. “These guys don’t lose focus, that’s just the way it is.”

Women take third

Minnesota’s women’s swimming and diving team finished with 597 points in the Georgia Invitational, placing third.

Top-ranked Georgia won the meet with 1,288 and was followed by No. 8 California (893) and Minnesota.

Junior Kate Hardt provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 200 free with a time of 1.50:21.

Freshman Jessica Livingston finished first in three-meter diving with a score of 500.80 in the finals.

The Gophers will also be on a winter training trip in Hawaii on Jan. 1. They return to take on Ohio State and Michigan State on Jan. 22 in Columbus, Ohio.