MINNEAPOLIS - The Gopher men’s swimming and diving team welcomes 13 new student-athletes to the team for the 2016-17 season. This week, the Gophers introduce Tuomas Pokkinen, a native of Espoo, Finland.
Pokkinen joins the Gophers after swimming for his high school, Makelanrinteen Lukio, where he competed under coach Matti Mäki. He recorded impressive times in events such as the 100-butterfly (53.51 LCM and 51.82 SCM), the 50-butterfly (24.02 LCM), the 50-freestyle (23.68 LCM), the 100-freestyle (49.44 SCM), and the 100 IM (54.40).
Pokkinen also competed at the 2014 Berlin Europeans semifinal in the 50-fly, and represented Finland at two Len European Championships. He is a two-time national champion in the 100 IM (2014-15).
Gopher Sports: What are you most looking forward to about being a Gopher athlete?
Tuomas Pokkinen: I am most looking forward to being able to compete at a high level and at the same time be successful in my studies. I also am very new to this teamwork style setup for swimming, so I am looking forward to what that brings.
GS: What do you hope to accomplish this season?
TP: I would want to learn how to do very fast underwaters because I have mostly been a long course swimmer, and I would also like to finish top-five at Big Tens.
GS: What was it like to compete at the Berlin Europeans semifinal?
TP: Competing at Berlin Europeans semifinal was honestly surprisingly easy for me. I was a first-timer there, so not much was expected of me. Making it to the semifinal was more than I hoped for.
GS: What was it like winning national championships in Finland?
TP: I have won several Finnish national titles. Winning the first one was very special, but to be honest, Finnish level of swimming is not super high and if I want to reach my goals as an athlete, winning Finnish national titles is not enough.
GS: How did it feel to represent your country at the Len European Championships?
TP: Representing Finland has been a nice experience and I am looking forward to it in the future, but I am anxious to see what representing the Gophers will bring.
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