Gophers in First Place, Win Three Titles

Go Gophers!
Tori Simenec is the 2013 Big Ten Champion in the 200 IM

Go Gophers!
Tori Simenec is the 2013 Big Ten Champion in the 200 IM
Go Gophers!

Feb. 21, 2013

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Following the second day of competition at the Big Ten Women's Swimming and Diving Championships, the No. 12 Gophers have taken the lead with 303.5 points. Minnesota notched three Big Ten titles on the night in the 200 medley relay, 200 IM and 1 meter diving, as well as breaking school records in each of the swimming events.

"We're really excited," head coach Kelly Kremer said. "We got the meet off to a great start with the 200 medley relay (yesterday), we haven't won that in a long time and under a school record time. We broke a lot of school records today and we broke some records that were held by legends at Minnesota. I could not be happier with the start of this meet, but we're only three sessions in and have four to go so we hope to keep the ball rolling."

The Gopher's first-place 200 freestyle relay team swam a record-breaking race to kick off the night. Rebecca Weiland, Erin Caflisch, Blake Zeiger and Lauren Votava broke the school record, meet record and Big Ten record to claim the title with a time of 1:28.43. The time was also a NCAA "A" qualifying time.

"The 200 free relay, it's been quite a while since we won that relay in the Big Ten so it was great, and under school record time," Kremer stated. "What a great way to start the session and we just kept it going."

Sophomore Tori Simenec was crowned the 2013 Big Ten Champion in the 200 IM after her impressive 1:57.11 swim, which broke another school record for Minnesota. The Gophers also dominated the consolation final of the event, finishing in the top three spots. Haley Spencer led the pack for ninth-place with a time of 1:58.57, followed by Kierra Smith in 10th (1:59.29) and Elizabeth Weitz in 11th (1:59.43).

"In the 200 IM, Tori Simenec told me at some point in the middle of this year, `I really think I can win the 200 IM this year'," Kremer described. "That was in her mind and she went out and made it happen. That was fantastic."

The Gophers earned a third title on the night after Maggie Keefer was named the Big Ten Champion in 1 meter diving. Her score of 351.45 marks a career-best for the junior. Fellow divers Katy Etterman finished fifth with a score of 316.60 while Katie Grunawalt notched a 298.45 for eighth.

"Finishing up with diving, Maggie could not have been more consistent and on fire tonight," Kremer said. "The rest of our divers too finished off the night great."

It was a neck-to-neck battle in the championship heat of the 500 freestyle between Kiera Janzen and Indiana's Lindsay Vrooman. Janzen finished runner-up in the event with a new school record and NCAA "A" qualifying time of 4:35.70. Freshman Samantha Harding claimed third-place honors with a 4:40.24 and Lauren Weis finished seventh in a time of 4:45.42. In the consolation final, Minnesota's Loren Brandon touched the wall at 4:44.56 for 11th place.

"Kiera Janzen, she ended up second but she was under the Big Ten record," Kremer mentioned. "She was also under our school record, which we've had some legendary 500 freestyles here. Kiera is a sophomore and to be under those guys now is really something."

The 50 free wrapped up the racing events for the night in which Rebecca Weiland earned the top spot for the Gophers. The sophomore claimed third-place honors with yet another school record of 22.24. Erin Caflish followed with a time of 22.29 for fourth while Blake Zeiger swam a 22.73 for eighth.

"Just a great start to the meet but we have more than half to go, we just have to keep it going," Kremer said about the Championships.

Indiana sits in second with 211.5 points, followed by Penn State in third (175), Purdue in fourth (142.5) and Ohio State in fifth (132).

Day three of the Championships begins Friday with prelims at 11 am and finals at 6:30 pm. The order of events are 400 medley relay, 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back and 3 meter diving.