Time is the essence for men’s swim team

by Ryan Schuster

The clock, and not the opposing team, will be the Gophers men’s swimming team’s primary opponent this weekend at the University Aquatic Center.
“It’s a meet that the times we swim are more important than the place the team gets,” junior Manolis Lentaris said. “It will kind of test us and see where we are at this season.”
No. 11 Minnesota is coming off of a 175-125 victory over No. 16 Nebraska in a dual meet held Saturday at the Aquatic Center and is undefeated so far this year at 2-0. Lentaris and sophomore Martin Zielinski have combined to win 10 of the 11 individual events in which they have been entered this season. They have also won three of the four relays in which they have competed.
Even if the Gophers concentrate more on times than on a team victory, they should have little trouble getting the win.
Minnesota’s stiffest competition this weekend at the Minnesota Invitational should come from Iowa State and Florida Atlantic. The Cyclones are ranked 27th in the Nov. 13 Speedo America Swimming Poll, while the Panthers are 30th. Wisconsin, Utah, North Dakota, Carleton and St. Olaf will also compete against the Gophers this weekend.
“We expect good competition,” Gophers coach Dennis Dale said. “Each of those teams have some quality athletes, but I think we’re the only team (ranked) in the top 20. I’m expecting that our depth will help us win the meet. When everything comes out in the wash, we’re going to win the title.”
Last year, Minnesota won the invitational, taking first in 15 of the 21 events. Wisconsin was third, Iowa State took fourth, St. Olaf finished sixth and North Dakota took seventh to round out the field.
“It’s going to be tougher to win titles at this event for us,” Dale said. “Depth is a factor. At a dual meet, you have to win events. Here, depth is more important.”
This weekend the team with the most depth should walk away with the trophy. It won’t be surprising if that team is Minnesota.