Minnesota finishes fourth again

Michigan won for the second consecutive year.

Megan Ryan

 

The Gophers men’s swimming and diving team missed the podium over the weekend at the Big Ten championships.

The Gophers finished fourth, and Michigan won the conference title for the second consecutive year.

The Wolverines dominated the four-day meet with 738.5 points. Ohio State, (552.5), Indiana (549) and Minnesota (403) followed well behind.

“They’ve been the top-three teams in the Big Ten all year,” head men’s and women’s coach Kelly Kremer said. “Really, there was a battle for fourth — and we knew it — between a lot of teams. And we are fortunate to come out where we finished.”

Minnesota finished day one in a tie for fourth but then dropped to seventh place on day two. The team climbed back to fourth place in the final two days.

“Literally every session we got better,” Kremer said. “They clawed their way back from sixth to fourth [on the final day].”

Diver Kristoffer Jorgensen was the team’s lone Big Ten champion.

The senior won platform diving with a program record 430.65 points. He also finished 10th in one-meter and sixth in three-meter.

“I couldn’t really believe it when it happened,” Jorgensen said. “I just felt really good right before the final and then was in the zone in the final and hit most of my dives. It’s nice when all of your hard work pays off.”

Not only was it Jorgensen’s first Big Ten title, but it was also head diving coach Wenbo Chen’s first male Big Ten champion.

“I’m really happy about that. … It’s an exciting moment,” Chen said.

Mikey Ross placed second on three-meter and ninth on platform. These big finishes came after the team struggled in the first event.

“The funny thing is, the first day we didn’t do a very good job. In one-meter we only had one person score,” Chen said. “By the end, they put everything together. We did well on three-meter and two people made the final and definitely did great on platform.”

Jorgensen made the Big Ten First Team, and Ross made the Second Team.

The qualified divers now have a week to prepare for the NCAA Zone Diving competition March 8-11.

In the pool, the Gophers had a few third-place finishes. Josh Hall touched the wall third in the 200-yard breaststroke. Zach Bolin did likewise in the 100 freestyle.

Bolin also took part in the third-place 400 freestyle relay with Derek Toomey, Hrvoje Capan and Ben Griggs. The 800 freestyle relay finished similarly with Mike Vernoia, Capan, Matt Papenfuss and Toomey.

“We have some guys that are in position now to make NCAAs,” Kremer said. “Our next step is to really get back to the pool and get back to campus on Monday and go back to work and prepare to have our best meet of the season out in Seattle.”

The NCAA championships are March 22-24 in Federal Way, Wash.