Last year, the Minnesota swimming and diving programs started having Gophers swimmers throw white shirts adorned with the team logo into the crowd after winning an event.
Saturday night at the University Aquatic Center, T-shirts were flying into the stands as the No. 10 women’s swimming and diving team won 10 individual events and one relay crown on its way to a 186-118 victory over No. 11 Nebraska.
Minnesota dominated the meet, winning by 68 points over the Cornhuskers. The victory is also the team’s ninth in 14 career matchups against Nebraska. With the win, the Gophers improved to 4-0 overall while the ‘Huskers fell to 1-1 on the season.
“We’re very excited that our team is swimming so well,” Coach Jean Freeman said. “Nebraska just really didn’t provide us as much competition as we thought they would.”
Freshman Jenny Hennen paced the team with three first-place finishes in her first regular-season meet at the Aquatic Center. Hennen won the 50-, 100- and 200-yard freestyle events, receiving NCAA consideration times in all three events.
“I am very impressed with her,” Freeman said. “She knows what to do at the end. She really puts the pressure on (the other swimmers).”
Olga Splichalova won individual titles in the 500 and 1,000 freestyles, and Gretchen Hegener took first in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke events for the Gophers.
Splichalova swam under the NCAA consideration standard, and Hegener had her second NCAA automatic qualifying time in the 100 breaststroke. Hegener also received an NCAA consideration time in the 200.
For Minnesota, the convincing victory over yet another top 25 team confirms that they are for real.
“That was the most exciting thing that’s happened to me since I’ve been here,” senior Jessica Grass said. “Beating Nebraska makes me feel like we deserve our top 10 ranking.”
Minnesota hopes that there are plenty more T-shirts flying into the stands this weekend as they host the Minnesota Invitational at the Aquatic Center.