Minnesota finishes fifth in Big Ten Championships at Jean K. Freeman Aquatics Center

Indiana finished in first place with 1,658 points.

Senior Conner McHugh swims the 200 Yard Breaststroke during the Minnesota Invitational on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 at the Jean K Freeman Aquatic Center.

Ellen Schmidt

Senior Conner McHugh swims the 200 Yard Breaststroke during the Minnesota Invitational on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 at the Jean K Freeman Aquatic Center.

Erik Nelson

Indiana jumped into the diving pool with t-shirts and caps after four days of competition at Jean K. Freeman Aquatics Center.

The Hoosiers finished in first place with 1,658 points at the 2018 Big Ten Swimming Championships. Minnesota finished in fifth place with 712.5 points.

“[Indiana was] well coached,” head coach Kelly Kremer said. “They were favored coming in here, so it wasn’t a surprise. They delivered, they performed awesome on the boards and in the swimming pool.”

Minnesota won eight medals — one gold, five silvers and two bronzes. On Wednesday, a relay team of Bowen Becker, Conner McHugh, Tuomas Pokkinen and Matthew Thomas finished first in the 200-yard medley relay. The team finished the race in 1:24.25, which broke a school record.

“It was cool starting off the relay with a second-place finish,” Pokkinen said. “It puts us in a good spot for NCAAs a month from now.”

On Thursday, another relay team of Becker, McHugh, Thomas and freshman Tom Donker finished second in the men’s 400-yard medley relay. The team finished the race in 3:06.90.

McHugh was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team. He said he was honored.

“Being able to do that at my home pool senior year is a great finish,” McHugh said.

In addition to his two team medals, McHugh won a silver medal and a bronze medal. He won bronze on Friday in the 100-yard breaststroke, finishing in 51.68 seconds. He won silver on Saturday in the 200-yard breaststroke, finishing the race in 1:51.41.

Becker won a gold medal and a silver medal in addition to his three team medals. He won gold on Thursday in the 50-yard freestyle, finishing in 18.93 seconds. Becker’s victory broke both school and personal records. He won silver on Saturday in the 100-yard freestyle and finished the race in 41.61 seconds.

Becker was named to the All-Big Ten First Team. He said he wasn’t expecting to be honored at the end of the meet.

“It’s a good feeling,” Becker said. “[I] just skipped second team and went straight to first team.”

Junior Nick Yang won Minnesota’s only medal in the diving portion of the Big Ten Championships. Yang won silver in the platform diving competition on Saturday, receiving a score of 518.85.

McHugh and Becker weren’t the only Gophers named to All-Big Ten Teams. Donker, Pokkinen, Thomas and Yang were named to the All-Big Ten Second Team, too.

McHugh said he feels like he left this team in a better spot since he came to the Gophers four years ago.

“That’s why I wanted to represent the University of Minnesota,” McHugh said. “I left my mark in whatever way I could.”

Kremer said he is optimistic about next year’s team even though the Gophers will now prepare for the NCAA Championships in March.

“It’s a real bright future for us,” Kremer said. “We only have two seniors graduating. I’m looking forward to having a great NCAA meet and then moving on from there.”