Men’s streak of top-15 finishes ends at 20

Minnesota finished 24th at the NCAA championships.

Megan Ryan

 

The Minnesota men’s swimming and diving team did not finish the season as strongly as it had hoped.

The team placed 24th at the NCAA championships with 31 points, which ended the Gophers’ streak of 20 top-15 finishes at the championships. This year’s event took place in Federal Way, Wash.“I don’t think we had the type of performance that is reflective of the team that we have. I think we are a much better team than we had here,” head men’s and women’s coach Kelly Kremer said. “We’ll take this and learn from it and be much more motivated moving forward and have a better performance next year.”

Defending champion University of California–Berkeley won again this year with 535.5 points. Texas (491) and Stanford (426.5) rounded out the top three.

On the last day of the three-day competition, seven of Minnesota’s eight men competing earned All-American honors.

“They all did a great job today. If we had had three days like today, we would have been much better off,” Kremer said Saturday night.

In the final session, freshman CJ Smith finished 13th in the 1,650-yard freestyle with a time of 14:52.73. Smith also competed in the 500 freestyle but did not make the final.

“To go 15:02 at the conference meet [in the 1,650 freestyle], that was a huge time drop for him. And to drop another 10 seconds tonight, it was really a big moment like that to perform at that level,” Kremer said.

The 400 freestyle relay team of Derek Toomey, Zach Bolin, Hrvoje Capan and Ben Griggs placed 15th at 2:54.85 on the final day. The team also placed 12th on the first day in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:18.47.

“Our sprinters did a nice job, but I think if you asked every one of them, they all feel like they need to be better,” Kremer said.

Toomey, Griggs and Bolin did not swim a fast enough preliminary to make the final of the 50 freestyle.

The 800 freestyle relay of Toomey, Bolin, Capan and Kyler Van Swol clocked 6:30.18 in 16th place.

Van Swol also touched the wall in 12th at 1:44.42 in the 200 butterfly. He swam the 100 butterfly as well but did not qualify for the final.

Mikey Ross placed 11th on platform diving with a score of 347.9. He was Minnesota’s only diver to make a final in any of the three diving events.

“Mikey Ross today on platform was just outstanding. We needed him to step up … and I think the experience he gained today scoring on platform is just great,” Kremer said.

In all, the team finished the season dissatisfied.

“I think all of us are going to leave the season just a little bit disappointed,” Kremer said. “I think we’re better than this. More than anything, I hope that it makes everyone just a little bit hungrier and a little bit tougher.”