No. 15 men’s swimming team looks to move up in rankings

Jim Schortemeyer

The men’s swimming and diving team, after easily defeating Hawaii and Northwestern over the holiday break, is starting the 1998 season with a flurry of action.
Today, the Gophers will be competing with Northwestern again, in a duel meet. On Saturday, the team will swim in the Gold Country Invitational, a meet featuring several Division II teams.
The meet in Honolulu was a chance for the men to show off their overall depth. They won eight of the 11 races, with a different swimmer winning each competition.
Sophomore Bill Bishop, a pre-race favorite in the 1000-yard freestyle, was less than pleased with his performance. The distance team has been training hard for a month and half, and the wear and tear is beginning to show.
“There’s that little brown bag in every race you reach into to pull something out,” Bishop said. “Right now, the bag’s empty.”
The meet against Northwestern should serve to get Minnesota in the right frame of mind for the remainder of the season.
“We know there will be lots of good races with Northwestern,” coach Dennis Dale said.
On Saturday, the men on the team have to wake up early in the morning to get a jump on Division II opponents such as Carlton, Concordia, and Wheaton at the Gold Country Invitational. The meet isn’t expected to be contested for the Gophers, who are ranked No. 15 in the nation. Therefore, there is expected to be a lineup shuffle on Saturday, as swimmers test new events, and those not on the travelling team try to show their best legs.
The Gophers have remained a constant in the polls this year, hovering around their current position. However, the polls are still in a bit of preseason form, with the real season just beginning. Minnesota, which has three returning All-Americans and December’s Big Ten Swimmer of the Month, Alex Massura, could move up as the year progresses. The only detraction to the Gophers’ season to date was their loss in November against Iowa, another ranked team.
Dale, one of the 12 coaches who votes in the poll, isn’t pleased with his team’s position in the rankings. He seemed confused by the low ranking for what he considers his best team ever.
“I would like us to be ranked where we deserve to be ranked,” he said. “I’m not sure why we’re underranked.”