Feb. 26, 2013
Indiana Set to Host the Championships
The University of Indiana is set to host the 2013 Big Ten Men's Swimming and Diving Championships February 27- March 2 at the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center in Bloomington, Ind.
The facility opened in 1996 with the 44,651 square foot aquatics center used by Indiana's varsity swimming and diving programs. The Counsilman Aquatics Center features an eight-lane Olympic-sized pool spanning 30,512 square feet with depth ranging from seven to eight feet to allow for greater speed. The Billingsley Diving Center, complete with one of the country's few indoor diving towers, features two one-meter and three-meter springboards as well as one-, three-, five-, seven- and 10-meter platforms.
The facility already has played host to the 1996, 2001 and 2012 NCAA Zone C Diving competition, the 1997, 1999 and 2006 Big Ten Men's Swimming and Diving Championships, Junior Nationals and the 1998, 2001, 2005 and 2011 Big Ten Women's Swimming and Diving Championships.
Gophers at the Big Ten Championships
The Maroon and Gold have had continued success at the Big Ten Championships, finishing in the top four every year since 1989. They have taken home the title nine different times, most recently in 2007. Last year, the Gophers finished in fourth-place at the Championships with 403 team points at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center Pool in Iowa City, Iowa. Minnesota returns 11 scorers from last season's team, including Mikey Ross, who was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team.
Live Results and Video
Live results and live video from the 2013 Big Ten Men's Swimming and Diving Championships can be found at www.bigten.org, as well as the Big Ten Championship Central page on iuhoosiers.com. All sessions, with the exception of Saturday's finals, will be streamed live at the tournament central page.
Big Ten Network Coverage
The Big Ten Network will air the final session of the Big Ten Men's Swimming and Diving Championships on tape delay on Saturday, March 9 at 10:00 a.m.
The Final Showdown
Minnesota has seven seniors that will be competing in their final Big Ten Championships. Among the veterans is diver Mikey Ross, who was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team after finishing runner-up on the 3-meter board at last year's Championships. Senior captain Jared Anderson and Josh Hall will be two to watch in the breaststroke events, Hall coming off a third-place finish in the 200 breast and Anderson finishing in sixth in the 100 breast in 2012. Hrvoje Capan and Ben Griggs will take on their final Big Ten relays in which they've secured top finishes in all season long.
Juniors Making a Splash
Led by team co-captain Derek Toomey, the junior class is looking to make its mark at the Big Ten Championships this season. Toomey has not only been an intregral component to most of Minnesota's successful relay teams, but he is also a staple as the Gophers' top freestyle sprinter. He has already posted a sub-20 second 50 freestyle time and has hovered near the NCAA provisional qualifying time of 20.19 nearly all season. Toomey is joined by Larry Formosa, who was a member of Minnesota's eighth-place 200 medley relay team last season, and Sandy Whitaker, who placed 22nd overall in the 100 butterfly at last year's championships. Whitaker has secured three title for the Gophers this season and has become the team's staple in the butterfly events in the second half of the season.
The Gophers' sophomore class is ready to return to their second Big Ten Championships with a year of experience under their caps. Among the class are standouts Luke Bushman, Max Cartwright, Brandon Hatanaka, Carl Newenhouse, Felix Samuels and CJ Smith. At last year's Championships, Cartwright finished ninth in the 100 breast and 11th in the 200 breast, while Smith earned a fourth-place finish in the 1,650, the event he holds the top-time of the season in for the Gophers. Jordan Lesser is another sophomore to watch on the diving boards, being named the Big Ten Diver of the Week earlier this season.
Minnesota has eight freshmen who will compete in their first Big Ten Championships of their careers. Ben Bravence, Ryan Miksch, Greg Norsten and Logan Redondo are among the bunch looking to make their name at the Championships. Redondo has swam top-times in the distance freestyle events this year for the Gophers while Bravence has had a great freshman season, being a clutch middle distance freestyle swimmer. Norsten and Redondo have each received the honor of the Big Ten Freshman of the Week this season as well. The Gopher's freshmen have always played an important role at the Big Ten Championships and have the high expectations of continuing the task.
Preview for NCAAs
The Gophers have all of their focus on the Big Ten Championships, but it's hard to forget that it is the next step towards NCAAs. Last year, Minnesota sent eight men to the NCAA Championships, coming home with a 24th place finish and 15 All-American accolades. Out of those eight men, five remain on the Gopher's roster heading into Big Tens.
Dennis Dale, the Dean of the Big Ten
Minnesota head coach Dennis Dale, the dean of Big Ten, coaches in his 28th season. He has led the Golden Gophers to seven Big Ten titles in the last 15 years. A six-time Big Ten Coach of the Year, Dale guided the Gophers to back-to-back Big Ten titles in 2004 and 2005, bringing Minnesota's run to four in five years.
This season, the Golden Gophers are 4-1 when facing off with Big Ten Conference teams, which includes wins over Iowa and Purdue and two victories against Wisconsin. Minnesota's only league loss came at the hands of defending Big Ten Champion Michigan in its first dual of the season in early October.