Feb. 22, 2013
The No. 12 Minnesota women's swimming and diving team extended their lead to 151 points Friday night at the Big Ten Championships. The Gophers claimed league titles in the 400 medley relay, 100 butterfly, 100 breaststroke and 3 meter diving, totaling their gold medal count to eight.
"We talked about it as a team each session, and now five sessions are done, and we have really had about as good of a meet as we could have expected," head coach Kelly Kremer said. "Anybody that would ask this year, I would let them know that we have a really great team. It's not just how well you dive or the swim times, it's the camaraderie and how hard and well we've prepared. We have a great team, a lot of really committed, elite athletes right now and it's just showing, it really is."
The Gopher's 400 medley relay team broke a school record while claiming first-place honors in the event. The victory team of Tess Behrens, Haley Spencer, Rebecca Weiland and Erin Caflisch finished in 3:31.45, a NCAA "A" qualifying time. Minnesota has won three out of the four relays at the Championships.
Samantha Harding, Minnesota's sportsmanship award winner of the Championships, finished runner-up in the 400 IM. Her time of 4:10.30 marked a NCAA "B" qualifying time and was Minnesota's best time of the season. Indiana's Dorina Szekeres won the event with a time of 4:07.91.
Rebecca Weiland continued to dominate the 100 fly on day three of the Championships. The sophomore broke the Big Ten record, as well as her own school and meet record in the finals Friday night with a NCAA "A" qualifying time of 51.61. Weiland was the first Gopher to be crowned the Big Ten Champion in the event since Terri Jashinsky claimed the title in 1999. This marked the sophomore's fourth Big Ten title of the Championships.
"I'm at a loss for words right now, it's still sinking it," Weiland said about her Big Ten titles. "I'm so excited, I really can't explain it. It's just peer joy at the moment right now. It's a really hard feeling to describe. Just all smiles, that's all I can think of right now."
The 100 fly was a strong sophomore showing all-around as Blake Zeiger finished in third-place in 52.70 and Tori Simenec touched the wall at 53.43 for sixth. In the consolation final, Devin Ste. Marie finished in ninth (54.02), while Annalise Colton came in 11th (54.36).
Kiera Janzen led the Gophers in the 200 free with a time of 1:45.20 on the night, finishing runner-up to Penn State's Alyson Ackman (1:44.83). Lauren Weis touched the wall at 1:46.03 for fourth-place and Jessica Plant followed in fifth at 1:46.23. Lauren Votava finished ninth (1:46.60), while Erin Caflisch finished 16th (1:50.08) in the consolation final of the event.
Senior Haley Spencer was named the Big Ten Champion in the 100 breast after swimming a NCAA "A" qualifying time of 59.15. The victory notched Spencer's third Big Ten title of the Championships. Minnesota freshman Kierra Smith also swam a strong heat to finish in third-place with a time of 1:00.59. In the consolation heat, senior Emma Jackson swam a 1:02.42 for 12th and Heidi Busack finished 15th (1:02.72).
In the final swimming event of the night, Minnesota's Tess Behrens finished in fifth-place with a NCAA "B" qualifying time of 53.44 in the 100 back. Indiana's Brooklyn Snodgrass won the event in 53.07.
3 meter diving closed out the night on a high for the Gophers as Maggie Keefer was crowned the Big Ten Champion on the board. With her score of 392.25, Keefer notched her second Big Ten title of the Championships. Katy Etterman finished eighth in the event with a score of 313.55, while Sarah McCrady finished 12th (331.60).
The 2013 Women's Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships concludes Saturday with preliminaries beginning at 11 am and finals at 6:30 pm. The order of events are as followed: 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 freestyle, 200 butterfly, platform diving and 1,650 freestyle.
"We still have two to go and we're going to treat those two sessions as new sessions," Kremer stated about the final day. "We're just going to try to do some of the same things we've done so far and things will work out well for us."
Minnesota leads the Championships with 573.5 points, followed by Indiana in second (422.5), Penn State in third (342.5), Ohio State in fourth (263) and Purdue in fifth (238.5).
"This is step one, we need to go on to NCAA's after this meet and show the country really what we've been doing to prepare for that meet," Kremer stated. "I am very, very happy with how they are doing because I think they deserve it, they really deserve it. It's nice to see it show. The staff deserves it, we've all worked so hard to prepare for the Championship season and I'm just really happy for all of them."
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