Minnesota swim and dive teams defeat Hawkeyes at home

Minnesota’s teams beat Iowa by 144 points combined.

Sophomore Danielle Nack competes in the Women's 100 Yard Backstroke during the 2016 Minnesota Challenge at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016.

Niti Gupta, Daily File Photo

Sophomore Danielle Nack competes in the Women’s 100 Yard Backstroke during the 2016 Minnesota Challenge at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016.

Alyssa Hodenfield

The Minnesota swim and dive teams had a week off between their most recent meets, but came back from the break strong.

Both squads hosted Iowa over the weekend and came out with victories. The men competed Friday evening and defeated the Hawkeyes 185.5 to 113.5. The Gophers won all but two of the 16 events.

“I think we’ve got such an incredible conference of swimming and diving,” said head coach Kelly Kremer. “We’re the best diving conference in the country and we’re starting to kind of show that we’re the best, if not certainly among the best conferences in swimming as well.

Minnesota dominated the breaststroke event at the meet, taking the top four spots in the 100 and the top three in the 200.

Junior Conner McHugh was a top scorer in both breaststroke events and took first in the 100 with a time of 54.60. He was followed by senior teammates Nick Hatanaka (56.00) and John Bushman (56.06).

McHugh also finished the 200 breaststroke in 1:57.50 ahead of Bushman (2:00.44) and senior Jakub Maly (2:03.39).

Senior Matt Barnard was a strong competitor in both the 1- and 3-meter diving contests, followed by sophomore Alan LeBlang.

“I think we showed improvement over the last two weeks,” Kremer said. “We are going to keep emphasizing all year. I think we carried from Wisconsin into this week … very well, working on the little things.”

The Minnesota women’s swim and dive team had its turn against Iowa Saturday morning. The Gophers defeated the Hawkeyes 186-114 and took 11 out of the 16 events.

Freshman Sarah Bacon won both the 1- and 3-meter diving events, followed by senior Lexi Tenenbaum.

The victories were big for Bacon because the Iowa dual was just her second collegiate meet.

“So far at the meets this year I haven’t dove my best,” Bacon said. “On both boards today I felt like I hit every dive, so it felt really good.”

Freestyle was also a strong event for Minnesota. Junior Danielle Nack took both the 200 (1:49:30) and 100 freestyle (50.31), and she also contributed to the 200 medley and 200 free relay teams, which won their respective events.

Both men’s and women’s teams will stay at home to take on North Dakota Friday evening.

“I’m just proud of our team,” Kremer said. “I think everybody is doing everything they can to get a little better every day, and it’s showing up. I feel like we’re ahead of where we were a year ago at this time, and everything is on track to have an awesome season.”