Croaston leads U’s NCAA results

by Josh Linehan

The boisterous crowd at the Minnesota Aquatic Center on Thursday night meant one thing.
Though they were being outdrawn nearly 10 to 1 by a high school basketball tournament across the street, these folks took their swimming and diving seriously.
They were there to make some noise. Back and forth went Auburn and Texas, in the pool and in the stands, until Texas took the lead by winning the last event of the evening, the 400-meter medley relay.
With the victory, the Longhorns claimed the lead, with 173 points, after the first day of the NCAA men’s swimming and diving championships. Auburn is in second with 151 points
The host Gophers were a solid, and somewhat surprising eighth with 63 points. Minnesota, ranked 13th in the nation, was led by the efforts of diver Dan Croaston who finished fifth in the 1-meter springboard diving competition.
Croaston. a junior, said while he had room for improvement in his dives, he was pleased with his performance.
“It was pretty good. Fifth place is definitely better than last year, (when Croaston finished eleventh in the same event)” he said.
The diver also testified to the strength of the competition at the national level. Only 20 points separated the sixth- and second-place divers.
“It’s the biggest meet of the year, and it’s always close,” Croaston said. “It went almost by five points each. That’s really only a half of a point on a couple of dives.”
The close competition continued in all events, as teams pushed each other to new heights.
Freshman Anthony Ervin of California set a new world record in the 50 freestyle, finishing in 21.21, a tenth of a second better than the old mark.
Minnesota’s Ricardo Dornelas finished 14th in the event, swimming in the consolation round.
The Gophers had two other chances to score points on the evening. The 200 free relay team placed seventh in the finals with a time of 1:29.90. California won the event in 1:25:14.
Minnesota’s 400 medley relay team also earned a spot in the finals but finished last in the event with a time of 3:38:24.
This year marked the first time the NCAA finals were swam in meters instead of yards. Technically, every final swam was an NCAA record. The new format also opened the door for world records to be set such as Ervin’s new world mark.
Competition continues today and Saturday, with preliminaries in the afternoons and evenings.

Josh Linehan welcomes comments at [email protected].