Gophers set records in tune-up meet

Matt Barnard set the program record in the 3-meter dive on Saturday.

Junior Ellen Bloom competes in the Womens 200 Yard 
Freestyle during Saturdays 2016 Minnesota Challenge at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center.

Image by Niti Gupta

Junior Ellen Bloom competes in the Women’s 200 Yard Freestyle during Saturday’s 2016 Minnesota Challenge at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center.

by Thomas Jaakola

The Gophers men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams combined to set 35 personal records at the Minnesota Challenge on Saturdayin their final tune-up before the Big Ten Championships.
“They’ve been consistent with their work, and we’ve gotten better as the year has gone on,” head coach Kelly Kremer said. “I think our [Big Ten Triple Dual] meet a week ago is kind of reflective of where we are as a team right now, and I just think they need some rest. … We need to really recover and get to the point where we can really just get to the Big Ten Championships and let the fruits of our labor, so to speak, come through.”
The women’s 200 medley relay of freshmen Dani Bergeson, Nicki Ciavarella, Zoe Avestruz and junior Abigail Raatz won the event in a time of 1:44.66.
Senior Lauren Votava took first in the 100 butterfly, swimming a time of 56.09.
“I didn’t go as fast as I wanted to, but I think that’s a good thing at this point leading up to Big Tens in two weeks,” Votava said. “It would have been nice to [get] a great time, but our focus is on performing our best at conference, and I’m feeling really confident about where I and the entire team are at right now. We’re really excited.”
The women also took the top six spots in the 500 freestyle, led by freshman Erin Emery, who won the event with a personal-best time of 4:53.40. Senior Samantha Harding followed in second place in 5:00.40.
Junior Lexi Tenenbaum won the 1-meter event in diving with 314.25 points, beating out teammates freshman Mariam Khamis and senior Jessica Ramberg.
“They’ve prepared great. Now we just need to put the finishing touches on it,” Kremer said.
Barnard breaks school record
The divers led the men’s team, with junior Matt Barnard setting a school record in the 3-meter dive with 450.95 points.
Seniors Manny Pollard and Dylan Zoe also set personal records in the event with scores of 436.15 and 419.35 points, respectively.
In swimming, sophomore Conner McHugh won the 100 breaststroke with a time of 55.88.
“I feel like I’ve prepared well over the course of the season and have had consistent times while racing tired,” McHugh said. “I’m looking forward to feeling rested and know the men’s team and I are excited to have it all come together finally.”
Senior John Bushman won the 400 individual medley by more than 23 seconds, finishing in a time of 3:50.08.
The Gophers also took first through sixth in the 500 freestyle, led by freshman Nick Plachinski, who won the event with a personal-best time of 4:33.11.