Both swim teams down Wildcats

by Ryan Schuster

Minnesota’s women’s swimming and diving squad expected this weekend’s meet at Northwestern to be its toughest test until the Big Ten championships on Feb. 20-22. The team wasn’t disappointed.
The tenth-ranked Gophers narrowly edged the No. 14 Wildcats on Saturday in Evanston, Ill., 155-145. Less than a day later, Minnesota beat unranked Notre Dame 176-124 in South Bend, Ind.
The two victories improved Minnesota to 10-0 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten.
The Gophers were led on Saturday by three double event winners. Junior distance swimmer Olga Splichalova took first in the 500- and 1,000-yard freestyle events. Gretchen Hegener won the 100 and 200 breaststroke events. Senior diver Andrea Berg won the 1- and 3-meter dives. Minnesota’s win over the Wildcats was its first ever at Northwestern, ending a five-meet losing skid at Evanston, Ill., that has spanned 12 years.
The Gophers’ depth proved to be too much for the overmatched Fighting Irish on Sunday.
After three events, the Gophers led 33-22. Notre Dame came back to within two points twice and tied Minnesota at 94 after 10 events. The Gophers won the last six events, however, to win the meet by more than 50 points.
Splichalova again won two events Sunday, with wins in the 500 and 1,000 freestyle. Minnesota’s Carrie Hansen won both diving events.
The Gophers host Ohio State on Thursday at the Aquatic Center.

Men’s Swimming and Diving
The No. 10 Gophers men’s swimming and diving team had little trouble on Saturday against unranked Northwestern.
Minnesota won its first Big Ten dual meet of the season, as they dispatched the Wildcats 181.5-116.5 at the Norris Aquatic Center in Evanston, Ill.
The Gophers showcased their depth. No one Gophers swimmer or diver won more than one competition. The team still won by more than 60 points.
Seniors Matt Schlessman and Isaac Bjorklund, juniors Ty Bathurst and Matt Ninneman, sophomores Martin Zielinski and Jonathan McLeod and freshmen Bill Bishop and Yoav Meiri all won events for Minnesota.
Halfway through the Gophers’ five-month season, the team stands tall at 7-0 on the year and 1-0 in the Big Ten. With only three meets left before Big Tens, Minnesota looks poised for a run at its second-straight conference title.
Minnesota travels to Iowa City, Iowa, on Friday to take on the Hawkeyes.