Swimmers face rough water at NCAAs

by Brian Stensaas

The waves didn’t float Minnesota’s way on the first day of competition at the women’s NCAA swimming and diving competition at Indianapolis.
The Gophers managed just a 17th-place finish in the 200-meter freestyle relay, the team’s best effort in morning qualifying. Minnesota diver Tracy LaVoi earned the Gophers’ only point on the day. LaVoi finished 16th in the 1-meter diving competition, good for an honorable All-America honor and one point.
Only the 16 fastest times advance to the evening sessions, and Minnesota wasn’t anywhere close to making that cut with its individual performances.
Gophers sophomore Jinny Smedstad mustered the best showing individually, finishing 23rd in the 400 freestyle.
Already feeling the disappointment from the loss of Andrea Simokova, due to a paperwork mishap following the Go-Pher-It Invitational at the end of February, the sting throbbed further Thursday.
All is not lost for Minnesota yet. On paper, the strongest day for the Gophers could be today, with the 100 butterfly and the 400 individual medley on the docket.
Both Jenny Hennen and Terri Jashinsky will complete in the butterfly. Also swimming today is Katy Christoferson, who won the 400 IM at the Big Ten meet, held at the same pool a few weeks ago. Minnesota coach Jean Freeman said before the meet Christoferson was swimming the fastest of all the Gophers before the team left for Indianapolis.
Christoferson will be back in the pool Saturday to swim the 100 freestyle.
Minnesota won the Big Ten meet as a team this year for the second consecutive year. The Gophers finished tied for 24th at the NCAA meet last year, with two more participants than this year’s team.

Brian Stensaas covers swimming and diving and welcomes comments at [email protected].