Gophers sit in fifth after two days of Big Ten championships

Junior captain Derek Toomey set a pool record Thursday morning.

by Nate Gotlieb

Junior captain Derek Toomey finished third in the 50-yard freestyle, and the Gophers sit in fifth place out of 10 teams after two days of the Big Ten championships in Bloomington, Ind.

Michigan leads the championships with 316 team points, followed by Indiana (237), Ohio State (170), Purdue (144) and Minnesota (133).

The No. 3 Wolverines have won five of the first seven events and are looking to claim their third straight Big Ten title this weekend.

Toomey set a personal record and a pool record in the preliminaries of the 50 freestyle Thursday morning. His time of 19.25 seconds earned him the top seed for Thursday night’s finals and automatically qualified him for the NCAA championships in March.

Toomey took third in the event Thursday night (19.40), finishing 0.15 seconds behind Michigan’s Bruno Ortiz (19.27).

Toomey said that he panicked a little at the beginning of 50 freestyle Thursday night when his hands separated after he dove into the pool.

“I think my stroke just became pretty inefficient,” Toomey said.  “And I just never got up to my optimal speed in the race.”

Freshman diver Manny Pollard took fourth place in the 1-meter dive, earning a career-best score.  Sophomore CJ Smith and freshman Logan Redondo finished 12th and 13th, respectively, in the 500 freestyle.

The Gophers closed the night with a sixth-place finish in the 400 medley relay.   

Michigan won three events Thursday, including the 500 freestyle, 50 freestyle and 400 medley relay.  No. 8 Indiana won the 200 individual medley and the 1-meter dive.

Day three of the championships kicks off on Friday morning with the preliminary rounds of the 400 individual medley, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke and 3-meter diving trials.  The finals for those events begin at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.

The championships run through Saturday night at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatics Center in Bloomington.