Diver Yu Zhou looks to lead Minnesota Challenge

It will be the last meet for the Gophers divers before the Big Ten Championships.

Alyssa Hodenfield

The Minnesota swimming and diving team will host the Minnesota Challenge meet at Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center this weekend, and all eyes are on the divers.

While some swimmers will participate in the second day of competition, head coach Kelly Kremer said the diving teams will be the main competitors for Minnesota.

“It’s really just a chance to compete and get one more race in and for our divers to get a chance to run through the list again and do some fine-tuning going into the championship season,” Kremer said.

Senior diver Yu Zhou will be competing this weekend and hopes to use the competition to prepare herself for the Big Ten Championship.

“It’s our last home meet,” Zhou said. “It’s very good practice for me to get ready for Big Tens, and it’s also very good practice for the team to get ready too.”

Zhou was successful last weekend at the Triple Dual against Purdue and Northwestern in West Lafayette, Indiana.

The senior took first in both the 1-meter (312.65) and 3-meter (344.05) events and placed third in the exhibition platform diving event.

Zhou is building on what has been an already successful career at Minnesota.

Zhou was the 2014 3-meter NCAA Champion and is a five-time Big Ten Champion. She was also named the NCAA Diver of the Year in 2015 and has been the Big Ten Diver of the Year for the past two seasons.

She hopes to continue her progress in the championship season this year.

“The most important thing for me is just to keep healthy. I already have past experience, so I know how to handle a three-day meet [when it comes to the Championships],” Zhou said. “We’ve been practicing the whole season, and I think everyone is just trying to get ready to compete.”

The competition for the Minnesota Challenge will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday followed by the second day of competition on Saturday.

“[This weekend is] more of fine tuning and working on things that they want to make sure are ready heading into the Big Ten Championships,” Kremer said.