U set to host Big Ten swimming and diving meet

Four-day event returns to aquatic center for the first time since 1999

Minnesota’s women’s swimming and diving team has traveled across the country all season in a grueling schedule, building an impressive 4-1 Big Ten record away from the comforts of the University Aquatic Center. Tonight the Gophers host their biggest event so far this season: the Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships.

Although No. 25 Minnesota has not yet hosted a Big Ten opponent, the Gophers have swum well away from home.

In addition to the Gophers, the championships will feature four other teams in the top 25, including No. 9 Wisconsin, No. 11 Penn State, No. 13 Indiana and No. 17 Michigan.

The Gophers have only faced one of those teams, losing to Wisconsin in a quad dual hosted by the Badgers on Jan. 30-31. However, Minnesota won the other two duals in that event against Purdue and Illinois.

Another win at Iowa on Feb. 1 gave the Gophers three wins in four days and momentum heading into tonight’s opening of the championships.

The events begin tonight with two relay finals at 7 p.m., and run through Saturday.

Preliminary swimming events begin at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Diving begins at 1:30 p.m. each day, and both finals are scheduled to start at 7 p.m. each night.

Tonight’s events include the finals of the 200-yard medley relay and the 800-yard freestyle relay.

Minnesota will look for a solid start to the championships with an experienced 200-yard medley relay team consisting of three seniors: Megan Moore, Melissa Schold and Sarah Bohlsen. The Gophers enter the finals with the fifth seed, clocking a 1:44.10 time. Wisconsin is the top seed at 1:41.43.

The Gophers will enjoy the advantage of swimming in the familiar waters of the Aquatic Center in front of their home crowd at an event where 12 records were broken last year.

Minnesota finished sixth in last year’s championships, but was just three points shy of a fifth-place tie with tournament host Purdue.