Despite unranked opponents, swim meet still a challenge

David La

Swimming is somewhat unique for its two-fold scoring system, in that a team can have a bad record but still produce outstanding individual performers.
So this weekend’s Quad Duals will remain a challenge for the Gophers women, even if two out of three opponents are unranked.
No. 14 Minnesota will swim against No. 16 Wisconsin, Illinois, and Purdue on Jan. 29-30 in Indianapolis. The Gophers’ team depth makes them a favorite, although enough individual flourishes from the opponents could spell an upset.
One such opponent is Darcy Adler of Illinois. Adler, a sophomore who swims the 100 breaststroke, has not lost in this event since Nov. 6; a streak of seven straight wins.
The Gophers will rely on their overall depth to be the difference in the Quad Duals, a factor in which coach Jean Freeman rests her confidence.
“There is competition in every event,” Freeman said. “But we’re going to hopefully be consistently knocking away everywhere.”
Minnesota will be knocking away with their group of swimmers, to be sure, but not to be overlooked is the recent performance of diver T.D. Rowe. The senior co-captain has been victorious on both the 1- and 3-meter boards for the last three meets.
“You have to be consistent,” Rowe said. “With diving it’s always anyone’s game, but I’m just as prepared as anyone.”
For those swimmers who may need extra motivation, assistant coach Terry Nieszner pointed out the opportunity to renew an old Big Ten rivalry.
“We’ve got that border battle with Wisconsin,” Nieszner said. “Just like any other of our sports.”
The Quad Duals will wrap up what has been an exciting January for the women’s team, what with a lopsided win in the Gold Country Invitational, a resounding defeat of Nebraska, a hotly-contested loss to Northwestern and a win over Iowa.
And with the Big Ten championships less than a month away, this weekend’s meet — coupled with the Minnesota Challenge early in February — are the last two competitive opportunities left for Minnesota to capitalize on and learn from.
What the Gophers would like to teach at the Quad Duals is simple math. Team depth is often greater than individual contributions