Women’s and men’s swimming and diving finish one and two at Iowa Invitational

A dominant start to the meet carries the Gophers through the weekend

Danielle Pederson

A strong start on day one of competition gave Minnesota swimming and diving the momentum it needed to dominate the rest of the meet.

The women took home gold and the men captured silver at the Iowa Invitational this past weekend.

“I was really happy with how the teams performed. I think we all needed a little confidence booster going into the rest of our season,” said senior Kaia Grobe. “Everybody swam really well, we got some school records, and as captain, it was awesome to see the energy of the team.”

The Gopher women finished the weekend ranked number one with a score of 1,136. The Gopher men fought back-and-forth with the home team Hawkeyes ultimately edging them out of second place with a score of 813 to Iowa’s 797.5.

On day three of competition, sophomore Mackenzie Padington won the 1650-yard freestyle with a time of 16:03.13 and beat the previous meet record. Junior Lindsey Kozelsky finished first in the 200-yard breaststroke and senior Zoe Avestruz contributed to the success by touching the wall at a time of 49.57 in the 100-yard freestyle swim and securing a first-place finish.

On day three for the men’s side, senior Bowen Becker captured his second event win in Iowa, as he swam a 42.99 in the 100-yard freestyle. Diver Nick Yang won all three events and concluded the meet with a score 398.85.

While day three secured the first and second place finishes, day one of competition initiated the overall success for the Gophers.

“If your first relay gets off to a great start, or your first prelim gets off to a great start, or your first round of diving, it just makes it a lot easier to get into the meet and gain confidence,” said head coach of men’s and women’s swimming and diving, Kelly Kremer. 

On day one in Iowa, the Gopher women claimed first place on the leaderboard and held constant that position throughout the rest of the weekend. The Gophers earned first-place finishes in six of the fourteen events.

The 200 yard freestyle relay team of Zoe Avestruz, Katherine Wagner, Grobe and Tevyn Waddell gave the Gophers their first win of the night with a time of 1:31.25. With a score of 307.55, junior Kristen Hayden finished in third place in the one-meter diving competition.

Becker recorded a 19.63 finish in the 50 yard freestyle and set a meet record. Yang and Alan LeBlang stood one and two in the point standings for three-meter diving.

Day two built upon day one’s success and the women and men continued to find ways to win.

The 200-yard medley relay team of Emily Cook, Kozelsky, Waddell and Avestruz finished with a time of 1:37.82. 

Freshman Max McHugh automatically qualified for the NCAA Championship in the 100 breaststroke, recording a time of 51.73.

Next, the Gophers will host the Minnesota Invite and are excited to have the support of family and friends in their next meet.

“The student-athletes compete and work so hard and it’s just nice when they can have a lot of people here supporting them,” said Kremer.

The Minnesota Invite begins Nov. 29th at Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center.