Invite should be good prep for Big Ten, NCAAs

After a long Thanksgiving weekend, the Minnesota menâÄôs and womenâÄôs swimming and diving teams will be jumping into competition again this weekend in Columbus, Ohio. Both teams will compete in the Ohio State Invitational, going up against other schools from around the nation and Big Ten. The meet will follow the same lineup as the NCAA and Big Ten conference meets. Fourteen schools will compete in the menâÄôs meet and 12 will compete in the womenâÄôs meet. Among the men to watch this weekend is sophomore diver Drew Brown. Brown took the top spot in menâÄôs 1-meter diving in the GophersâÄô last dual meet. He also set two records at the Minnesota Grand Prix two weeks ago in 3-meter and platform competition. Mike Holmes also had a terrific showing at the Grand Prix. He took first place in the 1-mile freestyle by less than one second. He will have the opportunity to compete in the same event this weekend. WomenâÄôs co-head coach Kelly Kramer said this weekendâÄôs meet will give the team a chance to prepare for the NCAAs. âÄúGetting some great, great performances this time of year is important to us,âÄù Kramer said. âÄúItâÄôll set us up well for the end of the season.âÄù Senior swimmer Kait Strickland said sheâÄôs anticipating faster times this weekend and wants to see the team take advantage of good competition and good facilities. âÄúIâÄôm focused on just enjoying the meet and getting to see a lot of the girls I havenâÄôt gotten to see swim,âÄù Strickland said. Strickland placed fifth in the 200 -meter individual medley at the Minnesota Grand Prix. She said she hopes faster times this weekend will gain national attention for the team. This weekendâÄôs invitational will follow a prelims/finals format. Preliminaries will begin at 11 a.m. Friday. The meet will wrap up with its last finals session at 6 p.m. Sunday.