Men expecting triple-dual test in home waters of the Aquatic Center

Matt Perkins

For Minnesota’s men’s swimming and diving team, this weekend’s triple duals serve as a test.

And Gophers coach Dennis Dale said pass or fail, they need the test above all else.

The Gophers host Wisconsin and Purdue this weekend, beginning at 6 tonight at the University Aquatic Center. The meet concludes noon Saturday.

According to Dale, it will be the team’s first true test in over a month.

“Without taking anything away from what we did down in Hawaii, we need a test,” Dale said. “Purdue is a highly ranked opponent. I think we have great depth, but they’re going to make everything close.”

Purdue comes into the meet ranked 15th, pending upcoming changes in the rankings, while the Gophers are ranked eighth.

And luckily for Minnesota, the team will have a nice little cheat sheet alongside them ” a home crowd.

The Gophers have not swam in front of a home crowd since Nov. 20 when they hosted the Minnesota Invitational.

“It is just nice to be swimming back in the Big Ten,” Dale said. “It’s going to be nice racing again in front of our home crowd. We could use that right about now.”

The meet will be as much of a test outside the pool as it will be in it, as Dale said the three-day meets are important in preparing for the Championships that are just a month away.

“Minnesota, Wisconsin and Purdue is one of those meets they’ve been swimming since I was an athlete,” Dale said. “It’s always a great competition.”

Women host quad duals

Last season, Minnesota’s women’s swimming and diving team finished sixth at the Big Ten Championships, more than 100 points behind fifth-place Purdue.

And when you’re that far back from moving up one spot from the sixth-place position, you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you.

That’s something Gophers co-coach Kelly Kremer knows all about heading into this weekend’s quad duals test against Purdue, Wisconsin and Illinois. The women host the event at the University Aquatic Center, which starts at 6 tonight and finishes at noon Saturday.

“Wisconsin and Purdue are a lot stronger than we are,” Kremer said. “But it’s going to be good for us to see where we are and how big that gap is. From there we can figure out how we are going to go about closing it.”

Gophers co-coach Terry Nieszner said the team has already shown signs of improvement this season.

“We are improving dramatically individually,” Nieszner said. “We aren’t sure if that’s going to reflect on how the team finishes just yet.”

And to prepare for the season’s dramatic finish ” the Big Ten Championships ” Minnesota has already started to taper and rest.

“You can see some really different performances,” Nieszner said. “Not everyone responds the same way when beginning to rest. The one thing that’s certain is these girls are always going to give it 110 percent.”