Gophers win Ohio State Invitational

Krista Theis

The Minnesota men’s swimming and diving team continued its winning streak as it won the Ohio State Invitational this past weekend.

The ninth-ranked Gophers finished the meet with 1,193.5 points, beating out No. 19 Ohio State and No. 21 Notre Dame among others.

Minnesota spent its last meet of the fall breaking pool records and working on qualifying for the 2007 NCAA Championships in March.

The men’s team continued to dominate in the relay events, breaking numerous pool records, including the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:27.64, the 800-yard freestyle relay in 6:29.80 and the 400-yard medley relay in 3:13.79.

Coach Dennis Dale said he was very pleased with how the relays are performing this season.

“Most of our relays are in the top three in the country,” Dale said. “We only know of a few teams who are ahead of us, so we’re sitting really nice with the relays.”

The freshman class also came through with some great swims this weekend, and Dale said he thought they all had their best meets of the season.

There were many impressive swims, Dale said, including junior David Plummer’s first-place finish in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 1:44.45.

Dale said the men swam really well in the 100-yard freestyle and 200-yard butterfly, scoring major points by placing five swimmers in the top eight in each event.

Women finish third

The Minnesota women’s swimming and diving team had many season and lifetime-best swims at the Georgia Invitational this weekend.

No. 21 Minnesota finished the weekend in third place behind No. 1 Georgia and No. 3 California – right where coach Terry Nieszner said she hoped her team would be.

Although Nieszner and coach Kelly Kremer said they were looking forward to watching their swimmers come together in the relay events, they were very pleased with the number of successful individual swims the women had over the weekend.

“Individually there were just too many good events and that’s the kind of meet you want to have as coaches,” Kremer said.

Many of the great swims this weekend ensured some Gophers a spot in the 2007 NCAA Championships.

Sophomore Yuen Kobayashi automatically qualified for the meet twice when she swam two season-best times. One came in the 500-yard freestyle (4:44.61), in which she placed third and the other was in 1650-yard freestyle (16:18.83), which she won.

In the 400-yard individual medley, sophomore Jenny Shaughnessy swam a career-best time of 4:13.44, which automatically qualified her for the NCAA meet. She not only won both the preliminary and final heats, but managed to drop three seconds off her time between the two heats, which really impressed Kremer.

“Jenny Shaughnessy’s 400 (individual medley) at 4:13 was an outstanding effort,” he said.

Another swimmer who impressed Kremer was junior Roxane Akradi who placed second in the 200-yard backstroke with a provisional qualifying time of 54.68. It was a significant improvement in her lifetime-best because she had never gone under 55 seconds before, Kremer said.

The Georgia Invitational marked the last meet of the fall for the women’s team, and Shaughnessy said she thinks her teammates were pleased with their swims and where they are in the season.

“I think overall everyone was really happy with how the meet went,” Shaughnessy said. “We either met or exceeded our expectations.”