Men glide to pair of wins in home triple-dual meet

Matt Perkins

Hosting Purdue and Wisconsin for a triple dual at the University Aquatic Center this weekend, Minnesota’s swimming and diving team staked their claim as the best team in the Big Ten.

And that message was loud and clear through the relay events.

The eighth-ranked Gophers began the meet with a win in the 200-yard medley relay and closed out the meet with a 1-2 finish in the 400 freestyle relay.

Minnesota had a stronghold on the weekend, topping No.15 Purdue 219-134 and Wisconsin 281-72 while winning 13 of 20 events.

“If I had to rate us on a scale of 1 to 10 right now, I would say we’re about an 8.5,” coach Dennis Dale said. “What was really good to see that was when we were tested, we responded well.”

However, the Gophers did not perform well in the diving competitions.

Minnesota’s Shaun Kennedy placed the highest on the weekend with a third-place finish in the 1-meter diving event, but points-wise that was no consolation.

“Diving is a very tricky sport,” diving coach Jason Baumann said. “It’s one of those things where you can put together five good dives but have one bad one that makes the difference.”

But perhaps the difference was a bit simpler ” Purdue is the better diving team.

The Boilermakers took first and second place in the 1-meter diving event, and took the top four spots in the 3-meter event. They added an exclamation point with a win on the platform.

But despite Purdue’s dominance on the boards, Minnesota’s dominance in the pool proved too much to overcome.

Adam Mitchell led the way for the Gophers, winning all four of his individual events, touching the wall first in the 400 individual medley, 200 backstroke, 200 free and 200 IM.

Mitchell also swam the first leg for the Gophers’ 400 free relay A team that won the weekend’s last event by nearly five seconds.

“Winning a lot of the events was good for us,” Dale said. “But it was all of the second- and third-place finishes that can really take our confidence to the next level.”

Women down but not out

Minnesota’s women’s swimming and diving team convincingly topped Illinois 256-96 over the weekend at the University Aquatic Center.

But the Gophers win wasn’t nearly as impressive as their narrow losses to No. 9 Wisconsin and No. 14 Purdue.

Minnesota fell 179-174 to Wisconsin and 192-161 to Purdue, but the team’s performance was encouraging.

“I think we set ourselves up to swim very, very well at Big Tens,” coach Terry Nieszner said. “This meet gave us the confidence we needed because we know now we can compete with the really good teams.”

Freshmen Yuen Kobayashi and Christine Jennings went 1-2 in both the 500 and 1000 free events, with Jennings winning the 500 and Kobayashi winning the 1000.

“There’s still a big gap between us and the elite teams,” Kremer said. “But we’re a confident team right now and we’re swimming great.”