No. 10 Minnesota men’s swimming team deals with another tough test in No. 16 North Carolina

Two Gophers swimmers have already been Big Ten swimmer of the week.

Nick Gerhardt

Minnesota and their men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams have achieved high rankings in the polls with the help of their freshmen contributing immediately, and this weekend the freshmen will get tested against North Carolina.

The Gophers rank No. 10 in the current College Swim Coaches Association of America poll while the Tar Heels rank No. 16. The match should remain tight as the two teams appear closely talented.

Coach Dennis Dale believes that Minnesota holds the edge over North Carolina but if his team can perform in their strong events they ought to win.

“If we win all the events we’re favored, that’s at least half the points. So if we can win those then win some of the others we should prevail,” he said.

The butterfly event remains an area of concern for Dale because the Tar Heels have strong swimmers in that event but the possible return from injury of sophomore Alex Wold may just even the battle.

The rise of the men’s team has coincided with the elevated effort of freshman Curt Carlson as he became the second swimmer on the squad to earn Big Ten swimmer of the week honors after his performance in the 100 and 200 freestyle events against Iowa.

“That’s a great way to start your Big Ten career. I don’t think he expected to step into the limelight right away,” Dale said of Carlson.

Nick Gerhardt

Women stay strong at No. 9

Minnesota reached its highest ranking in school history after their meet with Iowa two weeks ago and did not falter in their competition with No. 22 Notre Dame last Friday, but No. 11 ranked North Carolina will give them a fight this weekend.

“North Carolina swims very fast in the fall, they always have,” co-head coach Terry Nieszner said. “They’re very deep in their freestyle and the sprint.”

While the speed of the Tar Heels concerns Nieszner she has no qualms about her strong freshmen class which has had much to do with the team’s success.

“Sometimes it takes your freshmen the first semester to come around, but this class has come in and made an impact immediately,” she said.

Nick Gerhardt

Women’s basketball hosts second exhibition

Things could get really ugly this Sunday at Williams Arena.

The Minnesota women’s basketball team, fresh off a 86-60 thumping of Minnesota State Mankato on Thursday night will play host to Australia Showtime Skins at Williams arena at 6 p.m. in its second and final exhibition games of the season.

The Australia team includes several high school players and their presence at Williams Arena likely would not have happened had Minnesota sophomore center and Perth, Australia native Zoe Harper not been recruited by coach Pam Borton.

Paul J. Cordes