The University of Minnesota men's swimming and diving team finished third at the Big Ten Championships this evening at Purdue's Boilermaker Aquatic Complex. The Gophers finished with 507 points while breaking four school records and winning two conference titles. The Gophers finished behind Michigan (829) and Ohio State (521). Purdue was fourth (494) and Indiana was fifth (449.5). Curt Carlson and Mike Holmes led Minnesota with runner-up finishes on the final night.
Minnesota extended a streak of 21 consecutive years with a top three finish at the Big Ten Championships. The Gophers won two Big Ten titles, had 19 championship finalists and 15 consolation finalists.
Nadav Kochavi lowered his prelim time in the 200 butterfly to tie for third place with Michigan's Curtis Dauw in a time of 1:44.42. Alex Wold dropped almost a second off his prelim time to place sixth in 1:44.67. Kochavi is the third-fastest Gopher ever in the event while Wold is fourth. Kochavi wrapped up an outstanding first Big Ten meet, finaling in all three of his individual events and contributing to the 200 medley relay championship. He scored 45.5 points individually for the Gophers. Wold also finaled in all three of his events, scoring 44 points individually.
Kevin Baseheart also turned in a great swim to win the consolation final in a career-low 1:46.55.
For the third straight year, Mike Holmes took runner-up honors in the 1650 freestyle to Michigan's Matt Patton. This year's edition was a fantastic race with Patton holding off Holmes by just 1.54 seconds. The two raced neck-and-neck for most of the mile-long race with Patton emerging in 14:57.09 while Holmes touched the wall in 14:58.63, the second-best time of his career. David Hawker dropped 14 seconds off his career-low time to place 18th in 15:27.01 and Michael Daup placed 26th in 15:37.22. Nico Zebley also finished 32nd in 15:58.80.
Curt Carlson posted a runner-up finish in the 100 freestyle with a time of 43.02. He was edged at the finish by Michigan's Bobby Savulich, who posted a time of 42.87. Carlson shattered the school record in the prelims at 42.82 but he couldn't quite match the time at night. Steve Miller also placed eighth in 43.72. The Gophers got a boost from Michael Richards who won the consolation final in a time of 43.45, duplicating the time he posted in the prelims. Ray Betuzzi also finished in a tie for 14th with a time of 44.10.
Also competing in the C Final, Zach Bolin took 19th in 44.91 and Dominique Massie-Martel took 20th in a career-best 44.92.
Cole Young racked up 393.80 points in the 10-meter platform finals to finish sixth, tying his career-best finish. Young was consistent throughout his entire list and finished with his best dive, scoring 78.20 on a back 2 1/2 somersault, 1 1/2 twist pike. Young finishes his Big Ten career as a three-time finalist and a nine-time scorer at the Championships. Drew Brown placed 10th in the consolation final with a score of 376.10. He moved up from 13th in the prelims to five Minnesota seven huge team points. Young and Brown scored in all of their events during the Championships.
Karl Burdis led Minnesota in the 200 backstroke, placing 11th in a career-best 1:45.63. Burdis became the ninth-fastest performer in school history. Josh Griffey swam in the C Final and placed 21st in 1:47.75.
In the 200 breaststroke, Ivan Gutesa led the Gophers with a 10th place finish in 1:58.66, just off the time he posted in the prelims. Mark Solfelt also finished 15th in 2:00.51. In the C Final, Richard Hills finished 19th in 2:00.60 and Zach Weis took 23rd in 2:01.95.
In the final event of the Championships, the Gophers took second in the 400 freestyle relay in an NCAA automatic time of 2:52.20. Kevin Baseheart, Curt Carlson, Steve Miller and Michael Richards finished just behind Michigan's effort of 2:51.28. Penn State was third in 2:53.70. The runner-up finish iced a third-place finish for the Gophers.
Colin Lee-To, Kochavi, Anthony Portela and Miller earned All-Big Ten First Team honors while Burdis, Carlson, Holmes and Baseheart earned All-Big Ten Second Team accolades.
Minnesota's NCAA swimming qualifiers will head to the NCAA Championships in College Station, March 26-28. The Gopher divers will attempt to qualify for the NCAA meet and the Zone C Championships March 13-15 at University Aquatic Center.
NOTES: Minnesota's 200 free relay team posted an NCAA automatic qualifying time in a time trial after the prelims session. The time of 1:17.19 broke the school record. The team consisted of Colin Lee-To, Michael Richards, Curt Carlson and Steve Miller...Lee-To became Minnesota's first Big Ten champion since 2006, taking the 100 breaststroke on Friday...Minnesota broke the Big Ten record in winning the 200 medley relay on Friday as well.