2014 Big Ten Championships Preview
Feb. 25, 2014
Off To Michigan
The Minnesota Men's Swimming and Diving Program is off to Ann Arbor, Michigan today for 2014 Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships that will be hosted by the Wolverines beginning tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m.
The Canham Natatorium is a state-of-the art swimming and diving facility. It is home to last year's B1G and NCAA Champion, Michigan, who is favored to win the Big Ten Championships this weekend.
2013 Big Ten Flashback
Last year, the Gophers took fourth at Big Tens. In fact, the team has had a top-four finish at these Championships every year dating back to 1989. A year ago, freshman diver Manny Pollard had a fourth-place finish on the one-meter board. Derek Toomey had a Big Ten record-setting 100 free prelim race and earned a bronze medal in the event.
Head Coach Kelly Kremer describes this year's team as an improved and more consistent group that he and Head Coach Dennis Dale are eager to see compete in the Big Ten Championships this weekend. Kremer feels the team has worked extremely hard on their relays, and will definitely be what to watch for in the upcoming days.
The Golden Gophers are currently ranked No. 11 by both the NCAA and CSCAA.
Seniors standouts Derek Toomey and Kyler Van Swol lead the Gophers in their final season at Minnesota. Captain Toomey holds the Minnesota record in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of (42.60), and is looking to knock down past teammate and role model, Michael Richards' 50 free record (19.05) - Toomey's best time is a 19.10.
Kyler Van Swol is a member of the USA Swimming National Team. He is the team's strongest butterfly swimmer; those individual 100 and 200 swims will be ones to watch along with the Gophers' relays.
Juniors Back At It
Distance freestyle swimmer, CJ Smith, joined by Alex Cisneros, Brandon Hatanaka, Erik Larsen, Garin Marlow, and Carl Newenhouse at the Big Ten Championships. This group has depth in distance, backstroke, diving, butterfly, IM - every specialty - and will certainly be working towards those final heats. CJ Smith says he's looking forward to that 1650 freestyle swim, stating "It's the true distance event, and I'm ready to have fun with it and give it my all."
Success in Sophomores
Second-season athletes Manny Pollard and Dylan Zoe will look to dive into high places as they compete in the one-meter, three-meter, and platform diving events this week. Manny has been awarded Big Ten Diver of the Week several times and will certainly be one to watch.
The largest portion of Minnesota 2014 Big Ten team will come from the outstanding ten rookies on the roster.
Four-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week, Daryl Turner, stated that the Gopher freshmen's efforts are what to watch for this weekend, and that he is excited to see how they can prove themselves in the big meet. Turner will be a key backstroke swimmer in the individual backstroke and medley relay races, as well as another great sprint freestyle addition in the free relays as well.
Matt Barnard, an Australian native, joined the Minnesota diving group this semester. In the few meets he has competed in as a Gopher, Barnard has already been contributing some major points.