Plummer in search of first Big Ten title

The senior has been ever so close in the past is confident this year is his time.

Nick Gerhardt

The list of senior swimmer David Plummer’s accomplishments reads like a novel, but there’s still one chapter he would like to finish before his time ends at Minnesota.

Plummer, a 10-time All American, who holds the school record in the 100-yard and 200-yard backstroke, has yet to win an individual Big Ten title.

“I’m still looking for the big win,” Plummer said. “I’ve never really got a national or a conference win.”

He’s participated at the highest levels of college competition since his freshman year, yet has not come across the big win at this stage of his career.

“He definitely has a good chance this year to get a win in the 200 backstroke,” senior teammate Erich Welton said. “He’s got all the right tools to make it happen.”

Freshman year, Plummer finished second behind Michigan’s Chris DeJong, who set a meet record the previous year, in the 200 backstroke, which continues to stand as his best finish at the conference championships.

Although he finished second, he still managed to break the Minnesota record in the event; and that wasn’t the only time.

Plummer’s performance at the Big Ten championships as a freshman demonstrated that coaches could count on him during crunch time.

“David is generally a big meet swimmer,” coach Dennis Dale said. “When we get to the big meets, he is generally on his game. I’ve never seen him not on his game.”

Plummer continued to shine and break records his sophomore year as he advanced to the NCAA championships and finished fifth in the 200 backstroke, the best finish of any Gophers swimmer that year.

Teammate Adam Mitchell broke Plummer’s previous 200 backstroke record at the conference championships that same season, but Plummer had the final say as he bested that time by nearly a second at the NCAA championships.

Then, last year, Plummer broke school records on consecutive days at the NCAA championships. He set the Minnesota record in the 100 backstroke with his lead leg of the 400 medley relay, and then advanced himself to the finals of the 200 backstroke by setting the record for a third time, en route to a fifth place overall finish.

“He doesn’t roll over and play dead for anybody in the big meets,” Dale said. “He doesn’t like to lose.”

Competing at a high level and swimming well began early for Plummer, who began swimming at age 5 in Oklahoma.

“Early on I had some success out of the blue in high school and made a national cut before a lot of other kids my age did.” Plummer said. “I just had success early on and got a lot of experience before some other people, so I had some opportunities open up.”

One such opportunity included a trip to Bangkok where he participated in the 2007 World University Games.

Plummer became the first Gophers athlete since 2005 to be named to the Team USA roster of the World University Games.

While there, he finished second in the B finals in the 50 backstroke, and fourth in the B finals of the 100 backstroke.

Plummer will participate in the Olympic qualifiers this summer along with 11 teammates and will make a decision as to his future in swimming at the conclusion of those meets.

“Just to be able to compete against the guys I compete against is really great,” he said. “It’s tough competition and brings out the best in me.”