Feb. 21, 2014
Minnesota took another step toward a third consecutive Big Ten championship Friday night, taking a 129-point lead after the third day of competition at University Aquatic Center in Minneapolis. Minnesota relied on great depth, qualifying 15 athletes for the championship finals, while posting two individual champions.
The Gophers have 526 points while Indiana is second with 397 points and Penn State is third with 314 points. Michigan is fourth with 272 points and Ohio State is fifth with 261 points. Purdue is sixth with 253 and Wisconsin seventh with 230.
Indiana started the night with a dominating showing in the 400 medley relay, winning the event by nearly three seconds over second place Penn State. The Indiana team of Brooklynn Snodgrass, Bronwyn Pasloski, Gia Dalesandro and Kaitlyn Flederbach turned a new Big Ten record with a time of 3:30.30 and also automatically qualifies the Hoosier relay for the NCAA Championships. The swim broke the previous mark of 3:31.26, set in 2009 by Indiana. Penn State was second with a tie of 3:33.27 and Minnesota was third in 3:34.00. Both achieved NCAA automatic times. Michigan was fourth in 3:35.55 and Wisconsin was fifth in 3:35.66. With 40 team points, Indiana trimmed Minnesota's overall lead to 39 points (290-251).
Michigan's Courtney Beidler ended a run of four straight Indiana titles in the 400 individual medley by winning with a time of 4:07.42. Her Wolverine teammate Marni Oldershaw was a close second in 4:08.50 while Indiana's Dorina Szekeres was third in 4:08.68. Penn State's Gabi Shiskoff was fourth in 4:09.52 and Minnesota's Breanne Siwicki was fifth in 4:10.17. The Gophers had two more finalists in the event and they finished sixth with Samantha Harding (4:10.22) and seventh with Hailey Szews (4:13.39). Purdue's Nika-Karlina Petric was eighth in 4:15.82. Minnesota's overall team lead swelled to 62 points.
Penn State's Mackenzie Powers set a new Big Ten record en route to her first individual Big Ten title in the 100 butterfly with a time of 51.56. Powers held off Indiana freshman Gia Dalesandro (51.75) at the wall while 2013 champion Becca Weiland was third in a time of 52.11. Minnesota's Tori Simenec was fourth in 52.63 and Wisconsin's Rebecka Palm was fifth in 53.02. Penn State's Kathryn Rowe was sixth in 53.09, Minnesota's Devin Ste. Marie was seventh (53.58) and Wisconsin's Ivy Martin was eighth (53.80). The Gophers racked up 47 points in the event and expanded its overall team lead to 92 points.
Penn State sophomore Alyson Ackman repeated as the conference champion in the 200 freestyle, winning in a time of 1:44.11, topping her 2013 winning time of 1:44.83. Ackman never trailed in the event. Minnesota's Jessica Plant was the runner-up in 1:45.22 and Lindsay Vrooman of Indiana was third in 1:45.29. Ohio State's Alexandra Norris was fourth in 1:45.62 and Minnesota's Kiera Janzen was fifth in 1:45.99. Minnesota also took sixth and seventh with Lauren Votava (1:46.58) and Madeline Hoch (1:46.84) while Purdue's Rhiannon Sheets was eighth in 1:47.21. After 11 events, Minnesota had 432 points while Indiana was second with 316.
Sophomore Kierra Smith continued Minnesota's dominance in the 100 breaststroke, finishing first in 59.80. Smith gave Minnesota its seventh champion in the event over the last eight years. Smith charged past Indiana's Bronwyn Pasloski with an amazing 15.51 over the final 25 yards. Pasloski finished in 59.90 while Michigan's Angela Chokran was third in 1:00.22 and Penn State's Melissa Rodriguez was fourth in 1:00.25. Iowa's Emma Sougstad was fifth in 1:01.05 while the Ohio State tandem of Taylor Vargo (1:01.20) and Ashley Vance (1:01.75) were seventh and eighth. Anna Meinholz of Wisconsin rounded out the final in 1:02.08.
Indiana sophomore Brooklynn Snodgrass repeated as the Big Ten champion in the 100 backstroke, winning easily in 51.65, an NCAA automatic time. Penn State's Mackenzie Powers continued an incredible night, finishing second in 52.19. Michigan's Zoe Mattingly was third in 52.83 and her teammate Alexandra Deloof was fourth in 52.84. Indiana went 5-6-8 with Justine Ress (53.33), Alexandria Day (53.91) and Cynthia Pammett (54.31). Minnesota's Tess Behrens was seventh in 54.00. The Hoosiers accumulated 53 points in the event to close the gap with Minnesota to 80 points through 13 events.
Purdue and Minnesota posted the top six finishers in three-meter diving. Minnesota's Maggie Keefer dominated the overall competition to repeat as the Big Ten champion. Keefer accumulated 386.75 points to finish 33.25 points ahead of Purdue's Casey Matthews (353.50). Matthews and Keefer finished reverse order on Thursday night with Matthews taking the 1-meter title. Purdue's Mary Elizabeth Dunnichay was third with 345.75 points and Minnesota's Sarah McCrady was fourth with 328.35 points. Minnesota's Katy Etterman was fifth with 325.50 points and Purdue's Michelle Cabassol was sixth with 317.20 points. Ohio State's Taylor Ford was seventh (313.15) and Michigan's Carey Chen was eighth (293.55).
Team Standings After Day 3
1. Minnesota 526
2. Indiana 397
3. Penn State 314
4. Michigan 272
5. Ohio State 261
6. Purdue 253
7. Wisconsin 230
8. Iowa 142
9. Nebraska 110
10. Michigan State 70
11. Northwestern 68
12. Illinois 57
Big Ten Sportsmanship Award Winners
Alyssa Toland - Illinois
Stephanie Armstrong - Indiana
Lindsay Seemann - Iowa
Courtney Beidler - Michigan
Jessica Wellick - Michigan State
Hailey Szews - Minnesota
Katt Sickle - Nebraska
Jackie Powell - Northwestern
Ashley Vance - Ohio State
Casey Francis - Penn State
Francesca Marr - Purdue
Katie Delaney - Wisconsin
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.
Zhou Tabbed B1G Diver of the Week
The junior has earned this conference honor eight times this season and 11 times in her career.