No. 15 Gophers Win Big Ten Women's Swimming and Diving Championships Title
Feb. 18, 2012
With 680.5 team points, the No. 15-ranked Minnesota women's swimming and diving team claimed the 2012 Big Ten Women's Swimming and Diving Championships title Saturday night at the University of Iowa Recreation and Wellness Pool. Sophomore Maggie Keefer was named the Diver of the Championships, while Kelly Kremer and Terry Nieszner were named the Swimming Coaches of the Year.
"(Winning the Big Ten Championship) was really great," Nieszner said. "It was a total team effort and it couldn't have been better. I am just so happy, especially for our seniors. Like I said, it was a total team effort, both swimming and diving combined. It was just a great performance and a great championship."
The Gophers had two individual champions in Tess Behrens and Haley Spencer on the final night of competition, while the squad picked up three NCAA automatic qualifying times and 25 NCAA provisional qualifying times on the day.
Spencer had an outstanding outing Saturday, as the junior not only won the 200-yard breaststroke title by nearly a second, but she also totaled two of Minnesota's automatic qualifying times on the day. Spencer posted a time of 2:08.68 in the preliminary round of the 200-yard breaststroke, and, in her strongest event, she blew past the competition to claim her first Big Ten Championship with a pool record of 2:07.58. Emma Jackson finished in 10th place with a provisional qualifying time of 2:12.66 and Elizabeth Weitz finished in 14th place with a provisional time of 2:14.89.
Behrens claimed her second Big Ten Championship title in as many days in the 200-yard backstroke, touching the wall in a program-record time of 1:53.34. The mark was also a NCAA automatic qualifying time and a pool record, while Katie Anton finished the event in 10th place in 1:56.46, a provisional qualifying mark.
Senior Ashley Steenvoorden opened the night with a second-place finish in the 1650-yard freestyle. Her time of 16:06.96 was a NCAA provisional qualifying time and was not only the fastest time for the Gophers in the event this season, but was also the third-fastest time in program-history. Loren Brandon and Hannah Whitehead rounded out the top-five with fourth and fifth-place finishes, respectively, with NCAA provisional qualifying times of 16:11.24 and 16:12.42. Kristen Steenvoorden, Kiera Janzen, Lissa Tommerdahl and Hailey Szews also posted provisional qualifying times for the Maroon and Gold in the event. Steenvoorden placed ninth in 16:20.07 and Janzen clocked in at 16:22.13 in 10th place. Tommerdahl finished in 12th with a time of 16:26.68 and Szews followed in 13th place with a time of 16:27.18.
In the 100-yard freestyle, Erin Caflisch was the top finisher for the Golden Gophers as she placed fifth in 49.03. Jessica Plant tied for 12th place in 49.77, while Blake Zieger claimed 16th-place honors with a time of 50.04. Heidi Busack, Lauren Weis and Marissa Davies rounded out the event with 18th, 22nd and 24th-place finishes.
Freshman Devin Ste. Marie picked up a NCAA "B" qualifying time of 1:59.65 and a ninth-place finish in the 200-yard butterfly, with Kaela Anderson holding on for a 13th-place finish with a time of 2:01.37.
In platform diving, Maggie Keefer picked up a fourth-place finish with a score of 288.15, and Sarah McCrady was close behind in seventh place with a score of 281.80. Katie Grunawalt's score of 270.0 was good for 12th place.
Minnesota closed out the night with a strong showing in the 400-yard freestyle relay, with the team of Plant, Simenec, Caflisch and Behrens taking home third-place honors with a program record and provisional qualifying time of 3:16.22.
Final Team Results
Freshman of the Year: Becky Stoughton, Iowa
2012 All-Big Ten Teams