Kobayashi sets school record in weekend dual meet victory over Ohio State

Matt Perkins

On a day when seniors were being recognized for their achievements, it was a freshman who stole the show.

Minnesota’s women’s swimming and diving team topped Ohio State 184-114 on Saturday at the University Aquatic Center, thanks in large part to freshman Yuen Kobayashi’s record-setting performances.

Kobayashi set Minnesota’s school record in the 1,000-yard freestyle, also taking a Minnesota-Ohio State meet record in the 500 free.

“The last time I set a school record I lost in the finals,” Kobayashi said. “I am just so happy with my coaches and everything they are doing for me.”

Minnesota jumped out to an early 15-2 lead after finishing first and second in the 200 medley relay. The Gophers A team touched the wall first with a time of 1 minute 45.22 seconds, and the B team was just behind at 1:46.47.

And from there Kobayashi helped the Gophers build on the lead.

Posting a winning time of 9:45.79 in the 1,000 free, Kobayashi beat the Minnesota record by nearly four full seconds. And 20 seconds later, Christine Jennings touched the wall in second place.

The event gave the Gophers plenty of breathing room after two events.

“I was pleased with the way our team came out of the gates,” co-coach Kelly Kremer said. “We built an early lead and didn’t fall back on it.”

Instead the Gophers only got stronger.

Minnesota won 10 of 16 events on the day, finishing first and second in five of the events.

Helping the Gophers was the fact that the Buckeyes only brought one diver to compete, with other divers sidelined because of injuries.

Minnesota took advantage with freshman Erica Schiffler taking first place in the 3-meter diving event and second in the 1-meter.

“Unfortunately Ohio State only brought one competitor,” diving coach Jason Baumann said. “We are a little off and have a few things we need to work on to get better down the stretch.”

The Buckeyes tried closing in on Minnesota by taking first in the 100 breaststroke, and finishing 1-2 in the 200 breast.

But then came the 500 free and Kobayashi.

The freshman clocked in a winning time of 4:48.98, with Jennings again finishing second for the Gophers.

Other notables for Minnesota were seniors Kate Hardt, who posted a winning and personal best time of 1:50.78 in the 200 free, and Katie Wind, who won both the 100 and 200 backstrokes.

“Our seniors are our leaders in and out of the pool,” co-coach Terry Nieszner said. “They are true leaders because they lead by example.”

It was a fitting end to the meet when Minnesota’s A team touched the wall first in the 400 free relay.

Why so fitting?

Because three of the four members of the Gophers 400 free relay team are freshmen.

In fact four of the 14 individual events were won by Gophers freshmen ” with Kobayashi leading the way.

“It’s not just her though, it’s the entire team,” Kremer said. “The entire team wants to take it up a notch. It’s a building process and isn’t going to happen overnight. But we’re on our way.”