Four Minnesota swimmers and divers win Big Ten conference weekly awards

by Megan Ryan

Four swimmers and divers from the University of Minnesota swimming & diving teams earned honors from the Big Ten conference this week. The men’s and women’s Gophers’ dominate performance at last weekend’s Minnesota Challenge meet is what garnered the conference’s attention.

The women’s team swept all three awards. Senior Melissa Nelson achieved the Swimmer of the Week title for the first time this season. She won three events at the Minnesota Challenge: the 100-yard butterfly, 100 backstroke, and 400 medley relay. Nelson also had second place finishes in four other events.

The Freshman of the Week is Tori Simenec. She not only placed first in the 200 individual medley, but also broke the meet record and posted an NCAA provisional qualifying time of two minutes 1.4 seconds. This is the third time the Big Ten named Simenec Freshman of the Week this season.

Sophomore Maggie Keefer collected her fourth Diver of the week accolade this season and fifth overall. Keefer won the three-meter dive last weekend. She broke the meet record, recorded the highest diving mark of the season for the Gophers, and scored a NCAA Zone qualifying result. Keefer also scored another NCAA Zone qualifying mark and placed second in the one-meter dive.

Kristoffer Jorgensen won his first Diver of the Week award for the men’s team. The senior championed both one-meter and three-meter diving at the weekend and reached NCAA Zone qualifying scores for both. His one-meter score was also a season-high for the Gophers.

Both teams will take the upcoming weekend off in preparation for the Big Ten Championship meets in Iowa City, Iowa. The women will compete Feb. 15-18 and the men follow Feb. 22-25.