Men’s team dominates in home invite

The men’s team won 17 out of 18 events in the three-day invitational.

Krista Theis

Two different strategies led to two different outcomes for Minnesota’s men’s and women’s swimming teams at the Minnesota Invitational this weekend.

The men dominated the three-day event, finishing in first place with an impressive 1,702 points. The women came through strong to tie Wisconsin for third place with an overall score of 636 points.

The men’s swimmers met coach Dennis Dale’s high expectations on this weekend, winning all but one of the 18 events.

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Ohio State invitational
WHEN: Friday, Dec. 1 to Sunday, Dec. 3
WHERE: Columbus, Ohio

The men’s team started Friday night off with a one-two punch in the 200-meter freestyle felay. Winning the event with a time of 1:21.42 was the team of sophomore Colin Lee-To, senior Igor Cerensek, and juniors Mike Woodson and Tyler Schmidt. The ‘B’ relay finished a close second, hitting the wall in 1:22.33.

Next, the Gophers took complete control of the 500-meter freestyle, sending 17 swimmers to the finals and occupying seven of the eight lanes in the final heat.

Freshman Ray Betuzzi finished first with a time of 4:27.56, followed by senior Zach Wood in second (4:30.47) and sophomore Evan Bernier in third (4:31.33).

Junior Jason Timmer won the 200-meter individual medley with a time of 1:50.85, while Cerensek took first in the 50-meter freestyle at 20.40.

Minnesota ended the night just as it started, finishing first and second in the 400-meter medley relay.

Saturday, the men’s team again took control of the relays, finishing first and second in the 200-meter medley relay and first in the 800-meter freestyle relay. Dale took the opportunity to mix up his ‘A’ and ‘B’ relays this weekend too, creating tighter races.

“It was fun to mix up the relays and swim with different guys,” senior Dan Berve said. “It was more competitive.”

Junior Russ Payne won the 400-meter individual medley, while Lee-To and junior David Plummer won the 200-meter breaststroke and backstroke, respectively.

Even with the success this weekend Cerensek said the team can still improve.

“We can do better than this,” Cerensek said.” I’m sure we’ll do better at Ohio State.”

The women’s team, despite swimming some off-events this weekend, had a few great performances as well.

Starting on Friday, the women’s team took third in the 200-meter freestyle relay with a time of 1:33.74.

On Saturday, senior Jennifer Hasling won the 100-meter backstroke in a time of 56.44.

Minnesota finished the night off with a second-place finish in the 800-meter freestyle relay. The team of sophomores Yuen Kobayashi, Meredith McCarthy, Jenny Shaughnessy and Christine Jennings clocked a time of 7:22.14, cutting three seconds off their season-best time and provisionally qualifying for the NCAA Championships.

The coaches said they went into the meet not with the intention of winning, but to use this meet to determine how the team was doing so far in the season.

Despite some great races, they said the team has work to do in preparation for the big meets at the end of the season but still thought the team swam well.

“To not be rested at all and have people performing at their best is always good,” coach Terry Nieszner said.