Both men’s and women’s swim and dive win Minnesota Invitational

Both the men’s and women’s teams finished in first place against Iowa.

Sophomore Tuomos Pokkinen swims the 200 yard butterfly race during the Minnesota Invitational on Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Jean K Freeman Aquatic Center.

Ellen Schmidt

Sophomore Tuomos Pokkinen swims the 200 yard butterfly race during the Minnesota Invitational on Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Jean K Freeman Aquatic Center.

Erik Nelson

Late in the men’s 400-yard freestyle relay on Saturday night, the Minnesota bench loudly cheered on Tuomas Pokkinen to finish first as he was closing in on the final stretch. The sophomore got first place to complete the ‘A’ relay team’s win. 

“I told my teammates to get me a good lead because it’s going to be a hard 100 [yards]. It was one of my fastest relays ever,” Pokkinen said. 

The men’s team (2-3, 2-2 Big Ten) finished first and registered 1,264 points, three more than Iowa (3-0, 3-0 Big Ten). The ‘A’ relay team of Pokkinen, Cale Berkoff, Tim Sates and Kyle Van Niekerk finished the 400-yard freestyle relay in 2:54.12.

Pokkinen said the team did better against Iowa than in its previous meet on Oct. 27. In October, Minnesota lost to Iowa 162-138.

“This time, it was hard for them to win. We did well,” Pokkinen said. We did better than we did [in October].”

Senior Conner McHugh finished first in the 200-yard breaststroke. He set a new personal record on Thursday night in the 200-yard individual medley, finishing the race in 1:47.39. 

Pokkinen finished first in the 100-yard butterfly on Friday night, finishing the race in 47.08 seconds. Junior Bowen Becker finished first in the 100-yard freestyle on Saturday night. His time of 43.02 was the second-fastest time in the Big Ten this season.

Both Minnesota teams finished in first place ahead of Iowa, the only other university competing this weekend. The women’s team (4-1, 3-1 Big Ten) finished with 1,360.5 points, while Iowa (2-2, 1-2 Big Ten) finished with 1,128.5 points.

Senior Brooke Zeiger led off Thursday by finishing first in the 1,650-yard freestyle, recording a time of 16:13.70. Freshman Mackenzie Padington and senior Danielle Nack both won two events. 

On Friday, Padington set a Minnesota record in the 200-yard freestyle. Her time of 1:44.15 broke the record held by Nack. Nack’s time was 1:44.39.

“I did a lot better than I thought I would have. That time blew my mind,” Padington said. “I’m so proud to have done that.”

Head coach Kelly Kremer said he was impressed with the efforts of both teams this weekend. He told the team he will talk to them on Monday about the meet.

“I wanted them to get a really good warm-down in. I was proud of them [and told them] to get a lost of rest this weekend and be smart,” Kremer said.

Minnesota will not swim again until Jan. 6 when the team faces Hawaii in Honolulu, Hawaii. The start time for the meet has yet to be determined. Minnesota’s next home meet will be on Jan. 13 against Denver. It will start at 3 p.m.