Gophers Win Third Straight B1G Championship

Go Gophers! Kierra Smith (left) and coach Kelly Kremer led Minnesota to its third straight Big Ten Championship.
Go Gophers!
Kierra Smith (left) and coach Kelly Kremer led Minnesota to its third straight Big Ten Championship.
Go Gophers!

Feb. 22, 2014

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Minnesota claimed its third consecutive Big Ten Women's Swimming & Diving Championship Saturday night, dominating the four-day meet. The Gophers finished with a score of 760 points while Indiana was a strong second with 649 points. Penn State was third with 484 points and Ohio State was fourth with 374.

Kierra Smith (left) and coach Kelly Kremer led Minnesota to its third straight Big Ten Championship.


The Gophers relied on great depth and posted at least one finalist in every event to rack up their sixth overall team title, which ranks second overall behind Michigan's 14. Wisconsin's Ivy Martin was named the Big Ten Swimmer of the Championships after winning the 50 and 100 freestyles, breaking conference records in both events while Purdue's Casey Matthews and Minnesota's Maggie Keefer split the Diver of the Championships honor. Indiana's Gia Delasandro was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year after winning the 200 butterfly in a conference record time and placed second in the 100 butterfly.

Indiana junior Lindsay Vrooman became a three-time Big Ten champion in the 1650 freestyle with a time of 15:55.20 but she was challenged by Minnesota sophomore Sam Harding, who touched second in 15:58.12. Swimming in the early heats of the mile, Minnesota freshman Breanne Siwicki placed third in a time of 16:11.32. Northwestern freshman Lauren Abruzzo also impressed, finishing fourth in 16:15.29 for the top Wildcat finish of the meet. Penn State junior Megan Silverling was fifth in 16:15.88 and Ohio State freshman Lindsey Clary was sixth in 16:17.14.

Indiana continued its Saturday night charge in the 200 backstroke with an amazing 1-2-3-4 finish. Brooklynn Snodgrass completed a sweep of the backstroke events, cruising to the win in 1:51.43 while Alexandria Day was second in 1:54.67. Cynthia Pammett was third in 1:55.20 and Justine Ress was fourth in 1:55.27. Junior Dorina Szekeres also placed seventh for Indiana as the Hoosiers racked up an astonishing 85 points in the event. The incredible showing pulled the Hoosiers within 68 points of overall leader Minnesota. The Penn State tandem of Katie Rowe (1:56.01) and Mackenzie Powers (1:56.18) took fifth and sixth and Minnesota's Tess Behrens was eighth in 1:57.49.

Wisconsin's Ivy Martin posted an incredible swim in the 100 freestyle, shattering the conference record in a time of 47.78. She dominated the field, easily beating runner-up Alyson Ackman of Penn State (48.34). Martin also won the 50 free on Thursday while Ackman won the 200 free on Friday. Indiana's Kaitlyn Flederbach took third in 48.54 and Ohio State's Michelle Williams was fourth in 49.06. Minnesota's Becca Weiland was fifth in 49.14 and Gopher senior Erin Caflisch was sixth in 49.30. Michigan's Zoe Mattingly was seventh in 49.48 and Wisconsin's Chase Kinney was eighth in 49.53. Minnesota was able to push its team scoring lead to 94 after the event.

Minnesota sophomore Kierra Smith finished a sweep of the breaststroke events, clocking an NCAA automatic time of 2:06.66 to claim the Big Ten title in the 200 breast. She won by more than three seconds over runner-up Melissa Rodriguez of Penn State who touched the wall in 2:09.54. Indiana's Bronwyn Pasloski was third in 2:09.69 and Michigan senior Angela Chokran was fourth in 2:11.61. Ohio State freshman Taylor Vargo was fifth in 2:11.62 and Purdue junior Francesca Marr was sixth in 2:12.12. Ohio State junior Ashley Vance was seventh in 2:12.48 and Iowa senior Karolina Wartalowicz was eighth in 2:13.33.

Another Big Ten record fell in the 200 butterfly as Indiana freshman Gia Dalesandro blew away the field in a time of 1:53.95, breaking the 2010 mark set by Indiana's Kate Fesenko of 1:54.85. Penn State sophomore Katie Rowe was second in 1:56.0 and Hoosier senior Brenna Maclean was third in 1:56.84. Minnesota junior Devin Ste. Marie was fourth in 1:56.93 and Indiana freshman Olivia Barker was fifth in 1:57.47. Wisconsin freshman Dana Grindall was sixth in 1:58.72 and Purdue junior Rhiannon Sheets was seventh in 1:58.86. Penn State freshman Katelyn Sowinski rounded out the final in 2:00.01.

Minnesota senior Sarah McCrady closed out her Big Ten career in dramatic fashion, nailing her final dive of the platform competition to win her first Big Ten title. McCrady scored mostly 8's on her final dive to clinch the title with a final score of 329.50. Indiana's Kate Hillman was a close second with a score of 322.25 and Purdue's MacKenzie Tweardy was third with 307.30 points. Iowa's Calli Head was fourth with a score of 289.60. Minnesota's Maggie Keefer closed out a strong meet with a fifth place finish and a score of 282.60.

The meet closed with a pulsating finish with four teams closely vying for the title in the 400 freestyle relay. Wisconsin held off Minnesota, Penn State and Indiana at the wall to win the event for the third time in the last four years. The Badgers' team of Aja Van Hout, Ivy Martin, Chase Kinney and Rebecka Palm touched the wall in 3:15.65. Minnesota (Lauren Votava, Becca Weiland, Erin Caflisch, Blake Zeiger) was a close second in 3:16.24 while Penn State (3:16.33), Indiana (3:16.70) and Ohio State (3:17.18) rounded out the top five.

Final Team Standings
1. Minnesota 760
2. Indiana 649
3. Penn State 484
4. Ohio State 374
5. Michigan 361
6. Wisconsin 338
7. Purdue 334
8. Iowa 199
9. Nebraska 145
10. Northwestern 110
11. Michigan State 87
12. Illinois 79

2014 Big Ten Swimming and Diving Awards
Diver of the Championships
Maggie Keefer, Minnesota (tie)
Casey Matthews, Purdue (tie)

Diving Coach of the Year
Adam Soldati, Purdue

Freshman of the Year
Gia Dalesandro, Indiana

Swimmer of the Championships
Ivy Martin, Wisconsin

Swimming Coach of the Year
Kelly Kremer, Minnesota

2014 First Team All-Big Ten
Gia Dalesandro, Indiana
Kaitlyn Flederbach, Indiana
Bronwyn Pasloski, Indiana
Brooklynn Snodgrass, Indiana
Lindsay Vrooman, Indiana
Courtney Beidler, Michigan
Kiera Janzen, Minnesota
Maggie Keefer, Minnesota
Sarah McCrady, Minnesota
Jessica Plant, Minnesota
Tori Simenec, Minnesota
Kierra Smith, Minnesota
Lauren Votava, Minnesota
Ashley Vance, Ohio State
Alyson Ackman, Penn State
Mackenzie Powers, Penn State
Casey Matthews, Purdue
Chase Kinney, Wisconsin
Ivy Martin, Wisconsin
Rebecka Palm, Wisconsin
Emma Paulson, Wisconsin
Aja Van Hout, Wisconsin

2014 Second Team All-Big Ten
Alexandria Day, Indiana
Kate Hillman, Indiana
Haley Lips, Indiana
Cynthia Pammett, Indiana
Marni Oldershaw, Michigan
Tess Behrens, Minnesota
Erin Caflisch, Minnesota
Samantha Harding, Minnesota
Rebecca Weiland, Minnesota
Blake Zeiger, Minnesota
Carolyn Fittin, Penn State
Melissa Rodriguez, Penn State
Kathryn Rowe, Penn State
Anna Meinholz, Wisconsin
Anne Tamblyn, Wisconsin

2014 Big Ten Top Point Scorers
Illinois: Alison Meng (7)
Indiana: Lindsay Vrooman (56)
Iowa: Joelle Christy (19)
Michigan: Courtney Beidler  (43)
Michigan State: Alison Menzies (9)
Minnesota: Kierra Smith (55)
Nebraska: Anna Filipcic (16)
Northwestern: Lauren Abruzzo (15)
Ohio State: Ashley Vance (44)
Penn State: Alyson Ackman (52)
Purdue: Casey Matthews (37)
Wisconsin: Ivy Martin (51)