Feb. 3, 2012
The No. 15 Minnesota women's swimming and diving team posted some impressive times in the opening session of the Minnesota Challenge Friday night at the University Aquatic Center, with the Gophers claiming three first-place finishes in front of the home crowd.
"We have a few of our student-athletes resting here, so it gets the rest of the team excited because it starts the process of having people swim at their best all year, and we had that tonight," men's and women's head coach Kelly Kremer said. "We really had some of our swimmers swim the best that they had all year and it gets the whole team excited to see how fast they'll go when they're fully prepared. What we saw tonight is a great indicator of things to come."
The 200 freestyle relay team of Melissa Nelson, Lauren Greenberg, Cory Miller and Danielle James placed second in the opening event of the day with a time of 1:36.70, behind St. Cloud State who claimed the title in 1:35.43.
The Gophers finished 1-2-3 in the 500 freestyle, with Kristen Steenvoorden setting a meet record and placing first by clocking in at 4:48.84. Jessica Plant followed in second place in 4:56.00 and Hailey Szews finished third with a time of 4:56.85.
In the 200 individual medley, Tori Simenec blew past the competition with a first-place finish. Her time of 2:01.40 was a NCAA provisional qualifying mark and also broke the meet record by nearly two seconds. Elizabeth Weitz took home second-place honors in 2:04.40, while Cory Miller placed fourth with a time of 2:08.43.
"I was surprised with how I did tonight," Simenec said following the event. "I was not planning on going that fast, but that is always a pleasant surprise when you go faster than you expected. I have only swam in that event once before this season, so I wanted to get in another swim before Big Tens."
The Gopher women closed out the night by claiming the title in the 400 medley relay, with the team of Nelson, Greenberg, Chloe Portela and Devin Ste. Marie finishing in 3:49.39.
Minnesota continues competition in the Minnesota Challenge Saturday with the morning session set to begin at 11:00 a.m. and the evening session set for 6:00 p.m.