U in 2nd at Big Ten swimming

Jim Schortemeyer

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Predictability has been the name of the game through day one at the Big Ten women’s swimming and diving championships.
As expected, sixth-ranked Michigan is proving to be the best the conference has to offer. The Wolverines lead second-place Minnesota by a margin of 231.5 to 168.
The Gophers had a bevy of unexpected results on Thursday. Minnesota’s 400-yard medley relay team, which won a Big Ten championship last year, placed a disappointing second to Michigan, losing by 0.5 seconds.
Senior captains Olga Splichalova and Kim Wilson placed third and fifth, respectively, in the 500 freestyle, slightly below expectations. Splichalova, bothered by a chronic shoulder problem, had won two 500-yard Big Ten titles prior to this year’s event.
Two other events hurt the Gophers in particular. In the 50 freestyle, Michigan took first, third and sixth, en route to 47.5 of its total points.
Meanwhile, in the 200 individual medley, the Wolverines took first, sixth and eighth while Minnesota managed only a fourth-place finish.
Pleasant news for the Gophers came in the diving competition Thursday night. Junior T.D. Rowe beat out all divers on the one-meter diving board for her first Big Ten championship. The win could put Rowe on a hot streak for the remaining scored diving competition, the three-meter, held today.
In team competition, places one through four bear a striking resemblance to the national rankings. After Michigan, the 10th-ranked Gophers hold a fair lead of 22 points over No. 14 Northwestern. The Wildcats, in turn, are leading No. 15 Wisconsin by the same margin.
Minnesota still has some hope of beating Michigan, which has won the last 11 Big Ten titles, as many of the Gophers’ best events are yet to come.
Gretchen Hegener is undefeated since last year in the 100 and 200 breaststroke, and will be swimming the 100 today.
The meet concludes Saturday.