Gophers pull ahead, break four school records during day two

The No. 12 Gophers swimming and diving team leads the Big Ten championships by 92 points after entering Thursday tied with No. 13 Indiana.

Nate Gotlieb

The Gophers took sole possession of first place Thursday at the women’s Big Ten swimming and diving championships, claiming four titles and setting four school records at the University Aquatic Center.

The No. 12 Gophers lead the championships with 303.5 points, followed No. 13 Indiana (211.50), No. 24 Penn State (175), Purdue (142.50) and No. 20 Ohio State (132).

“We broke some records that were held by kind of legends at Minnesota,” head coach Kelly Kremer said.  “Couldn’t not be happy with the start of this meet.”

The Gophers opened the night Thursday with a victory and a school record in the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:28.43).  The relay had the seventh-fastest time entering the event.

Junior Erin Caflisch swam a strong second leg of the relay, giving the Gophers a lead they didn’t relinquish.

Caflisch had broken the Gophers’ 50 freestyle record Thursday morning during the preliminary round of the 50 freestyle competition.  She earned fourth place in the 50 freestyle final Thursday night with a time of 22.29 seconds.

Wisconsin sophomore Ivy Martin won the event in 21.86 seconds, becoming the first Big Ten women’s swimmer to swim it under 22 seconds.

Gophers sophomores Tori Simenec and Kiera Janzen also broke school records Thursday.

Janzen set the school mark in the 500 freestyle (4:35.70), finishing second in the event, and Simenec broke the school record in her 200 individual medley victory (1:57.11).

Junior diver Maggie Keefer claimed the Gophers’ fourth title of the day, placing first in 1-meter springboard diving.

Wenbo Chen, the Gophers’ head diving coach, appeared thrilled with Keefer’s results, calling her performance “calm, confident and focused.”

As Keefer completed each of her six dives, Chen’s excitement was visible.

“[After] everything she [went] through this year and to end up like that, I’m happy, so, so happy for her,” Chen said.

Day three of the championships kicks off Friday at 11 a.m. with the preliminary rounds of the 400 individual medley, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke and 3-meter diving trials.  The finals for those events begin at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The championships run through Saturday night at the University Aquatic Center.