Swimmers record multiple PR times at Minnesota Invite

Minnesota Invite finishes off the fall season for the Gophers’ swim and dive teams.

The Gopher swim team hosts an invitational meet Jean K. Freeman center on Friday, Nov. 30.

Jasmin Kemp

The Gopher swim team hosts an invitational meet Jean K. Freeman center on Friday, Nov. 30.

Danielle Pederson

Energetic teams, a lively crowd and Gophers alumni filled the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center this past Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 

The Gophers swim and dive team concluded its last home meet of the season. The weekend consisted of numerous Minnesota PR’s, first-place finishes and lots of excitement. A diving competition was not a part of this year’s event.

“It was more of a relaxed weekend. Not everyone was swimming, but I think the people who chose to swim swam really well. I think we’re all excited [about our performances],” said freshman Max McHugh.

Participating in the meet were swimmers from Utah, South Dakota State, San Jose State, St. Olaf and Carleton College. No other Big Ten teams were in attendance.

A smaller crowd sat in the stands for night three of the event due to snowfall, but the audience brought the energy nonetheless. Eight Minnesota swimmers raced in the A-finals Saturday night.

Junior Nick Saulnier placed fourth in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 44.64 and set his second PR of the meet. McHugh won the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:56.19.

Freshman Emma Linscott finished the 200-yard butterfly in 2:05.95 and recorded her second PR of the meet and placed sixth overall.

On day two of the meet, Gopher swimmers participated in the finals of multiple events. The spectators were cheering loudly and even sang a rendition of “Sweet Caroline.” 

Junior Tevyn Waddell entered the finals of the 200-yard freestyle with the fourth fastest time. It was her first time participating in the event since her junior year in high school. She set a personal record and captured first place with a time of 1:46.58 in the final.

Together, McHugh and junior Lindsey Kozelsky took both the men’s and women’s 100-yard breaststroke titles with the respective times of 52.14 and 59.73. McHugh currently holds the second fastest time in the nation.

“PR” was the key term on day one of the Minnesota Invite. Three of the 10 Minnesota swimmers competing set individual personal record times.

Setting a PR in the 50-yard freestyle was sophomore Eitan Yudashkin. He swam a time of 20.36 in the prelims and finished fourth overall with a time of 20.59.

“It just shows that the hard work they’ve put in during the fall has really paid off,” said Senior Associate Head Coach Terry Ganley.

Saulnier finished sixth in the 200-yard individual medley. He touched the wall two seconds before his teammate Cale Berkoff who had a PR time of 1:53.43.

Gophers alumni Dan Berve (2007 graduate) and David Plummer (2008 graduate) were in attendance and assisted as timers during the Invite.

“It’s actually really cool to look up into the stands and see all the Gopher gear,” Saulnier said. “It’s super cool to walk behind the blocks and see a familiar face that you know and remember that I’m in their shoes and following in their footsteps.”

The Gophers have a month of practices until they fly to Hawaii for their annual training trip in mid-January.