Feb. 20, 2014
Minnesota took a step towards a third consecutive Big Ten championship Friday night, taking a 47-point lead after the second day of competition at University Aquatic Center in Minneapolis. The Gophers have 258 points while Indiana is second with 211 points and Penn State is third with 157 points. Ohio State is fourth with 151 points and Wisconsin is fifth with 144.
The Gophers put at least two swimmers in each of the championship finals and had three runner-up performances on Friday night. Wisconsin won two events this evening (200 free relay and 50 free).
Wisconsin began the night with a victory in the 200 freestyle relay, it's first title in the event since 2010 and just its fourth in the history of the Championships. Ivy Martin led off the Badgers in 21.69 to give Wisconsin a healthy lead entering the second leg where Chase Kinney went a 22.08 to give Wisconsin more than a .40-second lead on Penn State. Aja Van Hout went a 22.19 and Emma Paulson anchored the relay in 22.79 to hold off a charging Minnesota to win in 1:28.75. Minnesota, the defending champion, took second in 1:28.86 (Becca Weiland, Blake Zeiger, Erin Caflisch, Tess Behrens) while Indiana was third in 1:29.49 and Penn State was fourth in 1:29.51. After the relay, Minnesota and Indiana were tied for third in the team standings with 106 points.
Indiana senior Lindsay Vrooman won the 500 freestyle title for the second consecutive year, touching first in an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 4:36.91. Vrooman pulled away from a tightly-bunched field in the final 150 to become the seventh Big Ten back-to-back winner in the 500 free. Minnesota's Sam Harding was second in 4:38.06 and Ohio State's Alexandra Norris was third in 4:39.88. Minnesota's Kiera Janzen touched fourth in 4:42.21 and Penn State's Alyson Ackman was fifth in 4:42.53. Rounding out the championship final was Penn State's Katelyn Sowinski (4:45.14), Indiana's Stephanie Marchuk (4:45.52) and Indiana's Haley Lips (4:48.67). Minnesota opened a slim three-point lead on Indiana after the event (152-149).
Ashley Vance became the first Ohio State swimmer to win the 200 individual medley since 1988. The junior touched the wall first in 1:56.91 to slip by the Michigan tandem of Marni Oldershaw (1:57.11) and Courtney Beidler (1:57.21). Minnesota's Kierra Smith was fourth in 1:57.86 and Indiana's Dorina Szekeres was fifth in 1:58.07. Minnesota's Tori Simenec (1:58.15), Penn State's Gabrielle Shishkoff (1:58.74) and Indiana's Bronwyn Pasloski (2:00.27) rounded out the championship final. After the event, Minnesota and Indiana were tied with 184 team points and Penn State was third with 144 points.
Wisconsin junior Ivy Martin dominated the 50 freestyle for the second straight year, blowing away the field in 21.68. The time was just .10 off her time from prelims that established a new Big Ten record. Minnesota's Becca Weiland was the runner-up in 22.27 and Ohio State's Michelle Williams was third in 22.46. Wisconsin also grabbed fourth place as freshman Chase Kinney touched in 22.48 while Indiana senior Kaitlyn Flederbach was fifth in 22.50. Penn State's Carolyn Fittin (22.55) was sixth and Minnesota's Erin Caflisch and Blake Zeiger tied for seventh in 22.73. Minnesota scored 46 points in the event to take the team lead with 230 points while Indiana was second with 198 points heading into the finals of 1-meter diving.
Purdue's Casey Matthews claimed the title on the 1-meter springboard with a score of 351.25. Purdue was a point scoring machine in the event with all four of their divers finishing in the top five. Mary Elizabeth Dunnichay was third (333.10), MacKenzie Tweardy was fourth (329.90) and Michelle Cabassol was fifth (324.65). Minnesota's Maggie Keefer, the 2013 champion, was a close second place finisher with a score of 339.05. Minnesota extended its team lead to 47 points over Indiana after diving.
Team Standings After Day Two
1. Minnesota 258
2. Indiana 211
3. Penn State 157
4. Ohio State 151
5. Wisconsin 144
6. Purdue 138
7. Michigan 131
8. Nebraska 81
8. Iowa 81
10. Michigan State 47
11. Northwestern 45
12. Illnois 36
Gophers Close 2016 Minnesota Challenge
The Golden Gophers tallied 35 personal records over the three-session meet.
Gophers Open Minnesota Challenge
Minnesota swimming and diving turned in six men's personal bests and four women's personal bests on the first night of the Minnesota Challenge.
Gophers to Host Minnesota Challenge
The Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center will host the 2016 Minnesota Challenge this Friday and Saturday.