Gophers fall short in NC

Both the men’s and women’s teams lost to North Carolina State over the weekend.

Danny Chen

The Gophers entered their meet against North Carolina State this weekend undefeated — they had won six consecutive dual meets.

But that came to an abrupt halt, as the Wolfpack beat the Gophers 199-154.

Junior Kierra Smith had first-place finishes in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke and 400-yard individual medley.

But her performance wasn’t enough to boost the rest of the team in the meet, which was its first after the winter break.

The Gophers traveled to Hawaii to train over the break, and Smith said everyone performs a little differently after such a trip.

At the latest meet, she said she tried to focus on the little things.

“I was focusing on my breaststroke and trying to keep them as streamlined as possible,” Smith said, “and on my dive, [trying to be] streamlined into the water. I want to get them right for the end season and the Big Ten [championship].”

Head coach Kelly Kremer said he was very impressed with Smith’s performance, despite the team loss.

“There’s a reason why she’s one of the best swimmers in the country,” Kremer said. “She was so tough in the 400-[yard individual medley], an event that she doesn’t really specialize in. It’s a long event, and it’s tough, but she attacked that swim from start to finish.”

Men suffer third loss

The men’s team seemed a little rusty in the pool against North Carolina State.

The Gophers lost 201-143, dropping their record to 4-3.

Kremer said from start to finish, the team gave everything that they had and competed well.

“From a performance standpoint, nobody ever likes to drop a dual,” Kremer said. “Clearly you want to win, but we fell short of it. In terms of fight and effort, things that we need to do to position ourselves for a great [postseason], our team is right where we want to be.”

Senior CJ Smith displayed the toughness that Kremer was describing, winning the 500-yard freestyle and taking second in the 1,000-yard freestyle.

“We faced a great opponent in NC State,” Smith said. “But I think the most important thing for us is to not really care about [the other team] at all. Swimming is a sport where you just have to worry about yourselves and perform the best that you can.”