Zeiger building off of strong freshman year

The swimmer took sixth in the NCAA Championships last year in the 400 IM.

Thomas Jaakola

Brooke Zeiger started her sophomore year right where she ended last year.
 
As a freshman, she set the school record in the 400 individual medley, won a Big Ten individual championship and earned All-American honors as a freshman. 
 
She has carried that success over to her second season. 
 
Zeiger has six individual victories in the first half of the season — in addition to three runner-up finishes — and has been one of the swimming team’s biggest scorers.
 
“She’s our top individual on the swimming side,” head coach Kelly Kremer said. “From a leadership standpoint, I think she does a really nice job of leading by example, coming to the pool and working hard each day. Overall, she’s really important to our program.”
 
Zeiger broke the school record in the 400 individual medley in the Big Ten Championships last year, swimming a time of 4:03.28 to take first place in the conference.
 
She then carried her momentum to the NCAA Championships, placing sixth in the event to earn All-American honors.
 
Zeiger won all of her three events at the Gophers’ first meet this year at Florida State: the 200 freestyle, the 200 backstroke and the 400 individual medley.
 
She also won the 200 individual medley two weeks later at Wisconsin and cut three seconds off of her time in the 200 backstroke while finishing second in the event.
 
The Rhode Island native also swam her fastest 200 freestyle time of the year at the team’s last dual meet at Iowa and said changes to her technique have allowed her to keep improving.
 
“I’ve been working on my breathing patterns. I still haven’t mastered it, but I feel like I’ve gotten better at not breathing into my turns,” Zeiger said. “I’ve improved a little bit on my kicking. I came in as a freshman as a horrible kicker, and that’s really helped me.”
 
The tweaks to her technique helped her succeed during her most recent performance at the Arena Pro Swim Series on campus in mid-November.
 
Zeiger broke the school record in the 400-meter long-course individual medley in the preliminaries with a time of 4:44.54. She broke the record again later that same day in the finals, swimming a time of 4:42.49 to finish fourth overall. 
 
“Brooke is able to make such a huge impact not only because she is an incredibly talented athlete but also because her focus and determination are apparent at every practice,” senior Samantha Harding said.
 
Zeiger and the Gophers have one meet remaining this semester, taking place this weekend at home.
 
The team will then have an entire month off to prepare for the rest of the regular season — though Zeiger is thinking beyond that already.
 
“I think, time-wise, I’d really like to swim fast at Big Ten,” Zeiger said. “I’d really like to break the Big Ten record for the 400 [individual medley]. When it comes to NCAAs, I’d like to place higher and just go into the meet more confident and more excited to race.”