Through one night of competition, the Minnesota women's swimming and diving team took an impressive, 123-63, lead over Big Ten rival Michigan Friday evening at the University Aquatic Center. Action at the Golden Gophers' home-opener concludes Saturday at 11:45 a.m.
"It was a very exciting way to start out tonight for the Big Ten dual meet," women's head coach Terry Nieszner said after the event. "Starting off with that medley relay, I definitely think we made a statement. Ashley Steenvorden did a great job starting us off. We were across the boards on all our events, having some awesome performances and some surprises from our freshmen. Winning the 400 freestyle relay allowed us to finish the meet strong, which was a goal of ours. We also did well in the diving events. We are a balanced team and we are excited at the way we are performing. We are performing the way we are because of the preseason work that we have done."
Of the nine swimming events raced, Minnesota placed first in seven, while sophomore Maggie Keefer took home top honors in 1-meter diving with a 313.35 and freshman Katy Etterman followed in fourth place with a 244.57 in her first collegiate meet.
"Tonight was my first meet and I was really nervous for it," Etterman said. "I am pretty happy with how I did. I don't know how I pulled some of my dives out, because I don't usually do them that well in practice, but I am very excited at how tonight went and I am excited for the rest of the season."
Junior Haley Spencer and sophomore Tess Behrens each captured three titles on the first day of the event. Along with freshman Rebecca Weiland and sophomore Erin Caflisch, Spencer and Behrens opened the meet with a win in the 200-yard medley relay, clocking in at 1:42.42.
Spencer also took home first-place honors in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:02.29) and the 200-yard individual medley (2:02.63), while Behrens won the 100-yard backstroke (54:02) and the 400-yard freestyle relay (3:24.0) with Caflisch and freshmen Tori Simenec and Jessica Plant.
Senior Ashley Steenvorden won the 1650 freestyle in 16:27.17, before Simenec clocked in at 1:48.83 to place first in the 200-yard freestyle just ahead of junior Lauren Weis' 1:49.32-finish.