Brooke Zeiger thrives in individual medley

Zeiger holds three Minnesota records, all of which are in medley races.

Gophers sophomore Brooke Zeiger competes in the women's 400 individual medley finals in the Jean K. Freeman Aquatics Center on Dec. 5, 2015.

Joe Sulik

Gophers sophomore Brooke Zeiger competes in the women’s 400 individual medley finals in the Jean K. Freeman Aquatics Center on Dec. 5, 2015.

Erik Nelson

Senior Brooke Zeiger grew up swimming at country club and YMCA pools. 

“I enjoy it because it’s very competitive. It’s very difficult,” Zeiger said. “I enjoy the challenge that it provides every single day.”

For the senior, her competitive practice paid off at the Division I level, especially in medley races. 

Zeiger holds Minnesota records for the 400-yard individual medley (IM), the 200-meter IM and the 400-meter IM. On Dec. 3, 2016, she set the Big Ten record for the fastest time in the 1,650-yard freestyle, finishing the race in 15 minutes and 44 seconds.

Zeiger said one of her favorite memories of swimming for Minnesota came during her freshman year at the 2015 Big Ten Championships. She won the 400-yard IM and broke Minnesota’s school record, finishing the race in 4:03.28.

“It was my first experience at a huge collegiate meet. Everyone was so excited to be there. [My teammates] weren’t hung up on winning,” she said. “We worked as a team and we had fantastic races that year. It was so much fun to be a part of that.”

Both of her parents swam for the University of Maine and her brother Blake swam for Minnesota from 2011 to 2015. Zeiger’s parents inspired her to take up swimming in college.

“They were always there whenever I had a bad swim. They were there to tell me how to improve or comfort me,” Zeiger said. “They were there to offer advice.”

Zeiger is majoring in child psychology and plans to attend graduate school. She hopes to earn a master’s degree in social work and wants to work with children who are recovering from substance abuse. When she isn’t swimming or studying, Zeiger enjoys baking and watching movies.

Senior Danielle Nack said Zeiger brings energy to the team while she’s on the bench.

“Sometimes swimming can get kind of boring and kind of sad,” Nack said. “Our schedule’s so crazy, but whenever she comes [to meets], her energy is very vivacious. I think she can inspire other people.”

Zeiger said she doesn’t know if she plans to swim competitively after graduation. She wants to do well at the Minnesota Invitational this Thursday, Friday and Saturday and work towards the NCAA championships in March.