Minnesota swim and dive teams split season-opening meet

The men’s team won the border battle while the women fell short.

Junior Connor McHugh swimming the men's 200 meter breaststroke at the Gophers' first meet of the season against the Wisconsin Badgers at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatics Center on Oct 13. 2016.

Meagan Lynch

Junior Connor McHugh swimming the men’s 200 meter breaststroke at the Gophers’ first meet of the season against the Wisconsin Badgers at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatics Center on Oct 13. 2016.

Alyssa Hodenfield

The University of Minnesota swimming and diving teams held their season opener against Wisconsin Thursday afternoon.

The men’s team defeated rival Wisconsin 185-115, but the women fell short and lost by a close 158-142 total.

“I’m proud of both teams. It’s the details that we’ve been working on every day, and to see it come through here where it counts, we know we’re making progress,” said head coach Kelly Kremer.

Senior Daryl Turner was an important asset to the Minnesota men’s team Thursday afternoon. He won the 100-yard backstroke by almost three seconds with a time of 48.21 and also claimed a victory in the 100-yard butterfly with a 47.85 mark.

Turner also anchored the 400-yard freestyle relay and finished strong to lock in the victory for the relay team of Turner, senior Noah Busch, senior Paul Fair and sophomore Bowe Becker.

“It felt really good. I wasn’t really knowing what to expect going from the 100 fly to [the relay],” Turner said. “It’s a pretty quick turnaround, but I just had to trust in my training and work on the details and underwaters, and then it all turned out well in the end.”

The breaststroke events were a strong suit for both Minnesota teams Thursday, even through the women’s team lost..

Freshman Lindsey Horejsi won her first collegiate race in the form of the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:01.54. Senior Kierra Smith and junior Rae Bullinger came in behind Horejsi for the second and third spots.

Smith earned her first victory back in the Minnesota pool after taking an Olympic year in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:12.18.

McHugh took the top spot for the men in the 100 and the 200 breaststroke.

Minnesota was successful on the diving boards as well, securing the top spots in 1-meter and 3-meter for both the men’s and women’s contests. Senior divers Yu Zhou and Matt Barnard were key scorers for the team.

“I think this year I’m more confident, and I think I’m just enjoying the performance better than the result,” Zhou said. “Being a senior, I will do my best to help the team score the points. That’s my goal.”

The teams were originally scheduled to open their seasons in Florida last weekend but were unable to because of Hurricane Matthew.

Missing the contest set the teams back a week in scheduling but had little effect on training for the border battle meet.

“I think [missing the Florida meet] didn’t hurt us, and it didn’t help us,” Kremer said. “I think [the teams] were ready to go today, and they gave the best effort. I think this was a really good way to start our Big Ten season.”

Both teams will take the week off from competing to prepare for home meets against Iowa on Oct. 28 and 29.

“We’re going to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” Kremer said. “[We’ll] talk to each individual about some of the things that we have to work on as we move through the season, and hopefully we’ll keep seeing the progress as we go. I know at Iowa I just want to see us be a little bit better.”