#16/15 Minnesota Sweeps Big Ten Quad

The No.16 Minnesota men's swimming and diving team finished the weekend strong, winning five of the ten events on the final day of the Big Ten Triple Duals Saturday afternoon at the University Aquatic Center. The Gophers defeated Wisconsin, 243-104, and also clinched the victory over Purdue, 191.5-161.5.

"I am very, very happy with the way the men performed," Minnesota men's and women's head coach Kelly Kremer said. "We treated it as two completely separate days. They came into today like it was a new day and continued the same intensity through the entire session. I could not be more pleased. It's nice to be in your home pool and pick up a Big Ten dual meet."

The Gopher's 200 freestyle relay team of Zach Bolin, Derek Toomey, Ben Griggs and Hrvoje Capan took second behind Purdue, but posted a NCAA provisional time of 1:20.85. Bolin also remained the champion of the 100 freestyle as he beat out Purdue's Danny Tucker to win with his best time of the season, posting a NCAA provisional qualifying time of 44.22.

Wisconsin's Dan Lester beat out Minnesota's Kyler Van Swol (48.53) and Larry Formosa (50.58) in the 100 butterfly, posting a 48.33.

"It's always interesting. It's one thing to beat someone in the beginning of the season, but once you're all ready at the end of the year, it's always different," Van Swol commented on competing against people he'll see again. "You never know what's going to happen."

The Gophers took control over the 500 freestyle, as Matt Benecki took the title in 4:27.70 and CJ Smith came in second in 4:28.78.

"Smith won the 1000 yesterday and then came back today and swam a great 500," head men's coach Dennis Dale said. "He and Benecki really gave us a good 1-2 punch."

Josh Hall claimed the title in the 200 breaststroke, posting his best time on the season of 2:00.57, as Jared Anderson took third (2:02.15).

"Josh Hall was a man this weekend. He won both breaststrokes for us; he was awesome. He showed up when we needed him," Dale said on Hall's performance.

Minnesota's 400 freestyle relay team made up of Bolin, Capan, Griggs and Toomey posted their best time of the season, a NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 2:57.91, to beat out Purdue by just .08.

Minnesota's Michael Ross took second in 1 meter diving with a NCAA Zone Diving qualifying mark of 338.40. Purdue's Jamie Bissett took the title with a score of 361.00. Kristoffer Jorgensen won the men's platform diving with a mark of 348.3.

The Gophers host the Minnesota Challenge Feb. 3-4 at the University Aquatic Center.

The No. 15 Minnesota women's swimming and diving team remained undefeated as they claimed a trio of victories at the Big Ten Quad Duals Saturday at the University Aquatic Center. The Gophers won seven of the ten events, concluding with victories over Wisconsin, 238-128, Illinois, 314.5-51.5, and Purdue 253-118.

"We're very happy with our performance coming off of our training," Minnesota women's head coach Terry Nieszner said. "Overall, we had some outstanding performances."

In the 400 individual medley, Minnesota's Kristen Steenvoorden claimed the victory with a time of 4:21.56, while Elizabeth Weitz (4:22.21) took second.

The Gophers finished one, two, three in the 200 backstroke, as Tess Behrens brought home the title with her best time of the season of 1:59.71, while Katie Anton came in close behind in second (2:00.32) and Hannah Whitehead in third (2:01.50).

Minnesota dominated the 100 butterfly as Rebecca Weiland placed first in 55.41, while Tori Simenec followed closely behind in second with a time of 55.48.

Kiera Janzen posted her best time of the season on her way to winning the 500 freestyle in 4:48.67, with Ashley Steenvoorden placing second in 4:48.98.

Haley Spencer placed second in the 200 breaststroke (2:13.78) just behind Wisconsin's Ashley Wanland (2:13.21).

The Gopher's 400 freestyle relay team, made up of Plant, Simenec, Erin Caflisch and Behrens took first with an impressive NCAA provisional qualifying time of 3:21.82

Maggie Keefer continued to perform strong as she led the Gophers in 3 meter diving. The sophomore finished in first place with a NCAA Zone Diving qualifying mark of 340.05. Katie Grunawalt followed in second as she also posted a NCAA Zone qualifying mark of 315.45. Grunawalt claimed the title in platform diving with a mark of 268.95.

"Both yesterday and today, I felt really on," Keefer said of her performance. "We just got back from winter training and now we're constantly seeing improvements. All the hard work is paying off. All of us are diving really well right now."

The Gophers host the Minnesota Challenge Feb. 3-4, before they travel to Iowa Feb. 22-25 to compete in the Big Ten Championships.

"Right now, going in (to the Big Ten Championships), we need to focus on details," Nieszner said. "We've done the work and done everything we need to do to be successful. Now, it's just fine-tuning details and making sure everything is technically sound."

Guillermo Blanco’s new Purdue freshman-record time while winning the 400 IM and a victory from the men’s 200 free relay highlighted the second and final day of the Big Ten Quad for the Purdue swimming and diving teams Saturday afternoon.

Both Purdue teams finished the weekend with a head-to-head dual meet win. The 17th-ranked men topped Wisconsin and the women were victorious over Illinois.

Blanco completed his successful weekend with a trio of top five individual finishes Saturday. After taking second in the 200 IM Friday evening, Blanco won the 400 IM, finished second in the 100 backstroke and took fourth in the 200 breaststroke Saturday. His time of 3:52.62 in the 400 IM eclipsed the program’s longest-standing freshman record. Matt Brown’s time of 3:53.93 had stood since 1994. Blanco’s time was also the fifth fastest in team history.

Although designated as the Purdue men’s B Relay, the 200 free relay foursome of G. Daniel Michael, Ben Ziolkowski, Noah Pashley & Blake Johnson won the event with a time of 1:20.02. Ben Wachtel, Ziolkowski, Matt Friede and Danny Tucker later finished second in the 400 free relay as the designated B grouping.

A personal season-best time from Lauren Nichols in the 100 freestyle and a strong showing from Rhiannon Sheets in the 100 fly highlighted the day for the Purdue women. Nichols took fourth in the 100 free with a mark of 50.84. Sheets was part of a tight three-way finish in the 100 fly, settling for third in an event that saw the top three finishers touch within .19 hundredths of a second.

The Purdue men had competitors finish two-three-four in both the 100 free and 200 back. Tucker’s season-best time of 44.76 in the 100 free led the way, with Friede and Wachtel finishing close behind. Blanco, Tyler Gertz and Brian Kiel later duplicated the finish in the 200 back, with Blanco and Gertz both recording season-best marks.

Lauren Gustafson, Carly Mercer and Nichols all swam on both top-performing relays for the Purdue women, helping the foursomes finish second in the 200 and 400 free relays.

Selected members of both Purdue teams will be in action the weekend of Feb. 11-12 at the Ohio State Winter Invite. Otherwise, the Boilermakers will continue to train for the Big Ten Championships. The women’s meet is set for Feb. 15-18 and the men’s meet is slated for Feb. 22-25. The University of Iowa will host both Big Ten Championships meets this season.

#17 Purdue 236, Wisconsin 111
#16 Minnesota 191.5, #17 Purdue 161.5
#16 Minnesota 243, Wisconsin 104

Purdue 287, Illinois 79
#19 Wisconsin 187, Purdue 177
#15 Minnesota 253, Purdue 118
#15 Minnesota 238, #19 Wisconsin 128
#19 Wisconsin 260, Illinois 93
#15 Minnesota 314.5, Illinois 51.5

The Fighting Illini swimming and diving team fell to Minnesota (314.5-51.5), Purdue (287-79) and Wisconsin (260-93) in the final day of action at Big Ten Quad Duals on Saturday. With the losses, the Orange and Blue fall to 5-7 on the season.

"I thought we did a very good job of coming back on the second day and being able to get ourselves ready to go," Illini head coach Sue Novitsky said. "I thought we competed well, and it was a great rehearsal for us for the Big Ten Championships. We had some really good swims today. A lot of people continued to step it up and put together all of the little details we’ve been working on."

Sophomore Jessica Holz led the Illini, placing fifth in the 200 back with a personal-best, team-leading time (2:01.57), making her the fifth-fastest individual to swim the event in school history.

Senior Brittany McGowan swam to a fifth-place finish in the 100 fly with a time of 56.94, while a pair of Illini finished 10th in their respective events, including sophomore Erica Lynn in the 200 breast (2:22.74) and senior Kristen Manias in the 100 free (52.31).

Finishing just out of the top 10 was freshman Alison Meng, who placed 11th in the 100 fly (58.01). Meanwhile, four Illini swimmers finished 12th in their individual events, including Kathleen Knight in the 100 fly (58.13), Erin Rodriguez in the 400 IM (4:31.79), Courtney Pope in the 100 free (52.46) and Alyssa Toland in the 500 free (5:10.58).

The Illini relay teams began the meet on a strong note for the Orange and Blue, placing fourth (1:35.12) and eighth (1:36.86) in the 200 free relay. The teams also finished in fourth (3:27.69) and eighth (3:31.37) in the 400 free relay to finish up the day.

On the boards, the Illini were led by junior Keri Eberhardt, who placed 11th with a personal-best platform dive score of 148.15, which is the sixth-highest platform score in school history.

"Overall, I thought we had a lot of people improve on their times from the last couple of weeks," Novitsky said. "I think we’re headed in the right direction. Now it’s about keeping them healthy and resting them, and continuing to have that focused practice."

The Illini return to Minneapolis next weekend to compete in the Minnesota Challenge. The competition will take place all day on Friday, Feb. 3 and Saturday, Feb. 4. at the University Aquatic Center.