Nov. 11, 2011
Prelim Results | Finals Results
The Minnesota men's and women's swimming team defended its home turf and was well-represented Friday on the opening day of the Minnesota Grand Prix, as five current individual swimmers, one alumni and three relay teams competed in the Championship Finals.
On the women's side, senior Hannah Whitehead placed seventh in the Championship Finals of the 200 freestyle (2:02.22). Former Golden Gopher Jillian Tyler (1:07.93) and junior Haley Spencer (1:09.61) finished three-four in the 200 breaststroke, while senior Kristen Steenvoordenposted a fifth-place finish in the 400 individual medley (4:56.18).
The women's 400 freestyle relay teams once again dominated the pool, as they placed first and second in the finals. The team of Tess Behrens, Erin Caflisch, Blake Zeiger and Lauren Weis won the event in 3:47.54, while Jessica Plant, Tori Simenec, Hannah Whitehead and Marissa Davies followed closed behind in second place with a time of 3:47.89.
"We couldn't be happier with our times in the relay events, especially for it being so early in the season," head women's coach Terry Niesznersaid. "All eight of our relay athletes performed unbelievably."
For the men, Josh Hall placed fourth in the 100 breaststroke (1:02.23) final, and Kyler Van Swolput together an impressive performance in the 100 butterfly (53.91) to place sixth.
"What a great night of swimming for us," head men's and women's coach Kelly Kremer said. "We were really great across the board from our newcomers to our veterans. Everyone did an outstanding job. Kyler Van Swol going 53.9 in the 100 fly was fantastic, as well as Josh Hallgoing 1:02.2 in the 100 breast."
The men's 400 freestyle relay team of Van Swol, Zach Bolin, Hrvoje Capan and Derek Toomeyalso registered a first-place finish in the A final by clocking in at 3:26.59.
The atmosphere at the Aquatic Center was extraordinary, as a huge crowd flooded in to watch world champions Michael Phelps, Ryan Lotche and many others compete against the best competition in the country. The fans definitely witnessed a great show, as Phelps won both the 100 butterfly and 200 free, while Mallory Weggemann set a new American record in the 100-butterfly multi disability race with a time of 1:17:48.
Fans were on their feet for the men's 200 freestyle, as there was a plethora of talent to watch in the championship finals with Olympic champions Michael Phelps and Richard Berens competing in the event. Phelps took home first-place honors with a time of 1:46.88.
"This race was better than what I did in past competitions," Phelps said after the race. "I am glad that I am starting on the right foot at the beginning of the season."
In the women's 100 breaststroke Tyler and Spencer competed against the two top-ranked swimmers in the world in Rebecca Soni and Ashley McGregor. Tyler and Spencer held their own in the race, as Tyler came in third right behind the two world champions with a time of 107.93 and Spencer finished fourth with a time of 109.61.
"Both Spencer and Tyler had amazing swims for this time of the year," Kremer said.
Van Swol competed in the 100 butterfly championship final against Phelps, who ranks No. 1 in the world, and Olympic champion Ryan Lochte. Phelps placed first in the race with a time of 52.26, with Van Swol placing sixth with a time of 53.91 to beat Lochte.
"When you have athletes like Ryan Lochte in an event B final, it shows how tough the competition really is," Kremer said. "That just inspires everyone to swim faster should make for great competition throughout the weekend."
The Minnesota Grand Prix continues Saturday morning at the University Aquatic Center, with preliminaries set to begin at 9 a.m. and finals schedule to get underway at 6 p.m.