Gophers Go Big to Conclude the Grand Prix
Nov. 16, 2013
The 2013-14 USA Swimming Grand Prix Arena Series concluded this Saturday Nov. 16 after three days of full-blown national swimming competition. The University of Minnesota men’s and women’s team represented the Golden Gophers as they raced against some of the nation’s top performers in the sport.
Recapping each day’s events, it was clear how much determination each competitor brought into the pool in Minneapolis.
Olympic Gold medalist Conor Dwyer (Winnetka, Ill.) stood out among the national team members as he took home a first-place finish in the 400 yard individual medley with a time of 3:40.03. The swimmer who came to compete for the North Baltimore Aquatic Club also finished second in the 200 yard freestyle (1:32.09) to club training partner and fellow Olympian Yannick Agnel of France (1:31.90).
Other National Team member recognition came from Megan Romano (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and Claire Donahue (Lenoir City, Tenn.).
Romano opened up the Grand Prix in the first event by coming in first in the 200 yard freestyle (1:45.29). Romano, who holds the current American and U.S. Open records in the event, swam against Minnesota’s own Kiera Janzen who touched the wall only tenths of a second after Romano to come in second place with a time of 1:45.43.
The 100 yard butterfly went to Donahue as the Olympian is no rookie to the event; Donahue has won multiple medals in the event including a Gold Medal in the 2011 Pan American Games. She finished the race in a time of 51.80.
Gopher stand outs in the evening alongside Janzen were Kiera Smith, Rebecca Weiland, and Breanne Siwicki for the women’s team. On the men’s side, Kyler Van Swol and Jakub Maly finished the opening night in clear Ski-U-Mah fashion.
Smith finished second in the 100 breaststoke with a time of 1:00.33. Weiland also had s second place finish in the 100 yard butterfly with a time of 52.47. Siwicki swam a 4:07.06 for a third-place finish in the 400 yard individual medley.
Kyler Van Swol had a fourth-place finish in the 100 yard butterfly with a time of 47.19 while freshman Jakub Maly also finished fourth in his individual event of the 400 yard individual medley with a time of 3:48.94.
Megan Romano picked up double victories by winning both the 50 yard freestyle (22.44) and 100 yard backstroke (52.80) back-to-back.
National Team member Caitlin Leverenz proved to be the one to watch as she won a tight ending race in the 200 butterfly. She touched the wall with a time of 1:55.67 where Claire Donahue (1:55.98) and Megan Kingsley (1:56.00) were right behind her.
Kyler Van Swol, a newly named National Team member had a strong race in the 200 butterfly when he finished second behind Tom Luchsinger (1:44.42) with a time of 1:45.02. In the same event, senior Luke Bushman won the B final with a time of 1:46.94.
Staying on top of Romano the whole race, Becca Weiland just missed the top title and came in second in
In the 100 backstroke, Tess Behrens finished in 52.91 to claim a second-place spot in the event.
Coming into the meet’s 16th event, freshman Daryl Turner had a third-place finish in the 100 backstroke by ending with a time of 47.63.
Kiera Janzen took home the first individual Minnesota victory as she raced a 4:40.13 500 freestyle performance in the A final. Samantha Harding finished right behind as she closed the event in 4:43.01.
Kiera Smith also claimed an individual event for the Gophers when she won the 200 breaststroke in 2:06.43.
It was Minnesota relays on day two that really put the Gophers in the competition. In the 800 freestyle the women’s team of Janzen, Tori Simenec, Lauren Votava, and Jessica Plant finished in 7:06.59 to win the event. The men’s team of Van Swol, Ben Bravence, Carl Newenhouse, and Brandon Hatanaka took home second with a time of 6:36.73.
The Grand Prix final day began with a traditional send-off from Dan Cook during the national anthem as he played the trumpet and jumped off the ten-meter diving board. The University of Minnesota used the tradition as a means of motivation as three Gophers on the women’s team had individual event victories.
Kiera Janzen started out the series by winning the 1650 yard freestyle race. Beating her previous season time and just shy of her personal career best, she earned her win by finishing with a time of 16:05.38.
Tess Behrens got the third individual win of the night when she raced a 1:55.83 200 backstroke for the A final.
For the Olympic side, the big stir of the night was during the 100 freestyle race when Adam Brown of the New York Athletic Club beat Brazil’s Cesar Cielo in 1/100th of a second. Brown had a time of 41.89 while Cielo finished in 41.90.
Minnesota’s CJ Smith swam strong in the men’s 1650 race. Smith took home fourth with a time of 15:06.22
The Gophers concluded the Grand Prix by claiming the 400 medley relay for both the men and women. Behrens, Smith, Weiland, and Lauren Votava combined for a time of 3:36.80 to win the event. The men’s team consisting of Turner, Nick Hatanaka, Van Swol, and Derek Toomey won the last event of the series in a time of 3:12.22.