Carnival feel absent from this year’s Rutgers Invitational

In past years, the event has included cannonball contests and clown diving.

by Samuel Gordon

The Gophers womenâÄôs swimming and diving team looks to defend its title this weekend at the third-annual Rutgers Invitational in New Brunswick, NJ.

The event, which is designed to showcase many of the nationâÄôs top teams from various conferences, will feature No. 14 Minnesota, Harvard, Toledo, Rider, and Saint Francis, as well as the host, Rutgers.

The invitational, which was inaugurated in Jan. 2009, was originally constructed as a swimming carnival, similar to the ones that former Yale head coach Bob Kiphuth created in the 1950s. In addition to popularizing the carnival concept, Kiphuth also founded Swimming World Magazine in 1951. The invitational was essentially created to pay homage to him and his impact on the sport.

Swimming World Magazine had partnered with Rutgers to host the event for its first two years, but will not do so this year.

This yearâÄôs invitational will likely have a more serious tone than last year, when there was a cannonball contest, clown diving, and a search and rescue demonstration. This weekendâÄôs competition will do without those exhibitions. However, younger swimmers and divers âÄî mostly elementary and middle school students âÄî will get to showcase their talents in their own events that will be mixed in throughout the meet.

This will be a homecoming of sorts for Minnesota swimmers and twin sisters Ashley and Kristen Steenvoorden. The juniors are both natives of East Brunswick, NJ and graduates of East Brunswick High School, where they had decorated high school careers.

The Gophers are hoping to continue to build on their recent success, an impressive victory over the University of Missouri, in which they won by a score of 196-101. Minnesota took 14-of-16 events, and improved their dual meet record to 6-1 in the process.


Junior Kelci Bryant was named Big Ten Diver of the Week for her performance against Missouri. The reigning NCAA 3-meter champion won both the 3-meter and 1-meter diving event. This marks the second time this season that Bryant has earned the award.