Gophers defeat ASU

David Nelson

Blame it on the outdoor air or the adrenaline from their first swim meet, but something seemed to ignite the freshmen on the Gophers men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams.

In their first — and the team’s first — competition of the season, Minnesota outpaced Arizona State on both the men’s and women’s sides in Tempe, Ariz.

The men’s team took first by a final of 181-117, while the women won their meet 191-101 over the Sun Devils.

“We weren’t quite sure what to expect,” head coach Kelly Kremer said. “Coming away from that, I couldn’t be happier with how our team performed. It was the perfect start to the year.”

Freshmen Danielle Nack and Brooke Zeiger both accumulated two individual victories each.

Nack showed off her abilities as a swimmer by winning both the 100-yard and 200-yard butterfly events.

Zeiger, younger sister of senior Blake Zeiger, took first in the 200-yard individual medley and the 200-yard backstroke.

“I feel like they’re going to have an incredible freshman year,” junior Kierra Smith said.

Freshman Conner McHugh was phenomenal in his Gophers debut. He took first in the 100-yard breaststroke while finishing second in the 200-yard breaststroke.

Senior C.J. Smith said that he was impressed with the freshman’s debut.

“As a freshman going into your first dual meet, there’s always some nerves to shake off, and I don’t really think Conner had too many of them,” Smith said. “Conner is definitely someone to look out for in the Big Ten in the breaststrokes this year.”

Smith himself performed well in his first meet of the season, winning both distance freestyle events.

Kierra Smith added two of her own event victories on Saturday, as did fellow juniors Lauren Votava and Samantha Harding.

“It’s so great to see them having success in the pool,” Kierra Smith said of her classmates.

Gophers divers also added three individual event victories of their own.

The Gophers looked good in the first meet of the year, and confidence seemed to be as high as it did before they traveled to Tempe.

“So many individuals stood out,” Kremer said. “That’s how we ended up having a really dominant performance this weekend.”