Nov. 10, 2012
Following the second day of competition at the Minnesota Grand Prix, the Gophers performed yet another strong night of racing. The Gophers earned first place honors in three events on the night at the University Aquatic Center.
“Our team is swimming very, very well for this time of year and for the preparation of this meet, so we’re really, really happy,” men’s and women’s head coach Kelly Kremer said. “We really have, the last two nights, had a lot of swims that make me feel confident of about what’s to come in February and March. I think this is a team we can feel really good about where we’re at.”
The Gophers’ men’s and women’s 800 free relay teams earned first-place honors on the night. The women’s team, made up of Tori Simenec, Jessica Plant, Lauren Weis and Kiera Janzen claimed the title with a time of 7:15.93. The men’s team of Kyler Van Swol, Ben Bravence, Logan Redondo and Hrvoje Capan brought in the victory at 6:43.29.
Freshman Kierra Smith had a big night for Minnesota, beating out all other competitors by over three seconds in the 200 breast for a first-place finish of 2:08.11. Emma Jackson came in fifth in the event at 2:19.33 and Elizabeth Weitz finished seventh with a time of 2:19.64.
On the men’s side, the Gophers went 2-3-4 in the 200 breast as Josh Hall earned the runner-up spot with a time of 1:59.84. Max Cartwright and Jared Anderson finished neck-to-neck in third and fourth with times of 2:00.07 and 2:00.08.
In the women’s 200 fly, Simenec finished in third place with a time of 1:58.24. Following behind was Annalise Colton in fourth (1:59.89) and Devin Ste. Marie in seventh (2:03.23).
Kyler Van Swol finished runner-up in the men’s 200 fly with an impressive time of 1:47.07. Brandon Hatanaka earned third place honors for the Gophers as 1:49.69, while Alex Cisneros finished eighth (1:52.17).
In the men’s 50 free, Derek Toomey led all Gophers by finishing in third place with a time of 20.17. Capan (20.83), Felix Samuels (20.95) and Ben Griggs (20.97) claimed the fifth, sixth and seventh spots in the event.
The Gopher women went 2-3-4 in the 50 free. Erin Caflisch followed closely behind Olympian Missy Franklin (22.15) with a second-place finish of 22.75. Becca Weiland earned the third place spot (22.88) and Blake Zeiger claimed fourth place honors (23.25).
Franklin spoke about her experience in the Grand Prix and shared her thoughts on Minnesota.
“It’s amazing,” the Olympian said. “It’s so much fun and it’s so cool. Seeing the people here and having them cheer, just come and be a spectator at meets, I think that’s so awesome. The fans are really what make the meets so much fun and what makes it worth it for the athletes.
“This is my third time here at the Minnesota Grand Prix and this is one of my favorite pools. I absolutely love it. I think it’s a really, really fast pool. My whole team is doing absolutely amazing. All the other swimmers are doing great too, so it’s just awesome to be here and I love coming back here every year.”
The women’s 500 free was won by Minnesota alum Ashley Steenvoorden with a time of 4:38.45. Current Gopher Janzen followed up in fourth at 4:47.46 as well as Lauren Weis claiming eighth (4:55.62).
In the men’s 500 free, CJ Smith touched the wall at 4:29.17 for fourth place and Logan Redondo claimed the eight place spot with a time of 4:34.66.
Minnesota had three swimmers compete in the same 100 back heat as Missy Franklin, who won the event with a time of 50.97. Tess Behrens came up with a third-place finish (53.67), followed by Jessica Plant in sixth (56.51) and Haley Pietila in seventh (56.52).
Minnesota’s Luke Bushman swam a seventh place 49.85 in the 100 back. The transfer out of Penn State swam in the same heat as Olympian Ryan Lochte, who won the event with a time of 46.21.
“Backstroke, it was a solid swim,” Lochte said. “It’s probably right around my best of the season for this time, so I’m happy with it. But, all I really wanted to get out of this meet was a lot of racing.”
Lochte also talked about his entire experience here at the University Aquatic Center.
“I come to these meets basically for the fans,” Lochte said. “If it wasn’t for the fans I wouldn’t be here where I’m at right now. It’s always good, especially coming to Minnesota. I’ve been coming here for about six or seven years. The crowd is great and the fans are great. It’s definitely a lot of fun.”
The Minnesota Grand Prix will finish up tomorrow with prelims beginning at 9 am and finals taking place at 5 pm.
US Nationals Start on Tuesday
Eleven Golden Gophers, including several program record holders, will compete in Indianapolis this week.
Gophers Receive CSCAA Scholar All-America Recognition
Both the men's and women's teams earned academic distinction from the coaches association.
Former swim coach Eckelkamp Passes Away
Gopher Athletics is saddened to learn that former assistant men's swimming and diving coach Steve Eckelkamp has passed away at his home on June 10, in Mount Juliet, Tenn.