Feb. 15, 2012
No. 15 Minnesota opened competition at the 2012 Big Ten Women's Swimming and Diving Championships in Iowa City, Iowa, Wednesday night by posting NCAA Provisional Qualifying times in both the 200-yard medley relay and the 800-yard freestyle relay, putting the Gophers in third place with 66 points through two events scored.
We are very happy with how we started off," head coach Terry Nieszner said. "We are swimming really well, we are swimming very fast and we are where we want to be following the 200 medley relay, and our 800 free relay looks faster than last year. We are very happy with our start."
The 200-yard medley relay team of Tess Behrens, Haley Spencer, Rebecca Weiland and Erin Caflisch placed third in the first event of the league championship with a NCAA "B" qualifying time of 1:38.24, the squad's fastest time this season. Wisconsin won the event with a pool record time of 1:37.34, while Ohio State followed in second place in 1:37.76.
In the 800-yard freestyle relay, the team of Jessica Plant, Tori Simenec, Lauren Weis and Hannah Whitehead cut nearly 14 seconds off of the Gophers' fastest time of the year to place second with another provisional qualifying mark of 7:02.97. Indiana claimed the Big Ten title with a meet, Big Ten and pool record of 7:00.82, which also was a NCAA automatic qualifying time.
Through the first day of competition, Wisconsin holds the team-lead in points with 72, followed by Indiana in second with 68 points and the Gophers in third with 66 points. Ohio State and Penn State round out the top-five after two events with 64 and 54 points, respectively.
Day two of the Big Ten Championships begins at 11:00 a.m. Thursday morning with the preliminary round of the 500-yard freestyle. Senior Ashley Steenvoorden
is a two-time Big Ten Champion in the 500-yard freestyle and holds the Big Ten record in the event. Finals for Day Two will begin at 6:30 p.m.
The Gophers will also compete in the 200-yard IM, 50-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle relay and 1 meter diving Thursday.