GOPHERS HOST 2007 BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS
The No. 21 University of Minnesota women’s swimming and diving team looks to contend for a Big Ten Championship title, Feb. 8-10, 2007 at the Gophers’ very own University Aquatic Center. The Maroon and Gold finished second at last year’s event when Ohio State hosted the event. All-session tickets are on sale (six sessions) for $35. Single session preliminary ($6) and finals ($8) are also for sale. To order tickets, please call the athletic ticket office at 612-624-8080 or 1-800-UGOPHER.
Five of the nation’s top 25 teams in the most recent CSCAA Poll will be on display, including No. 8 Indiana, No. 10 Michigan, No. 15 Penn State, No. 17 Wisconsin and No. 21 Minnesota.
MINNESOTA AND THE BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS
The 2007 Big Ten Championship marks the fifth time the conference meet has visited the Twin Cities. The first time the Gophers hosted the event was in 1991 in which the Gophers finished second in the conference championship. The Gophers then hosted in 1996 (finished third) and again in 1999 when they won their first conference championship. Minnesota hosted its fourth championship in 2004 and now again in 2007.
The University Aquatic Center opened in 1990 and the pool was later named Dorothy L. Sheppard pool in 1997 after longtime Gopher swimming supporter, Sheppard, past away in 1993.
MINNESOTA HOSTING NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Following the Big Ten Championships, the University Aquatic Center will host both the women’s and men’s NCAA Swimming and Diving national championships. The 2007 women’s championships will be held March 8-10, with the men’s championships quickly following on March 15-17. The dual championships marks the first time the NCAA has ever hosted the championships in the same year. The 2007 season marks the third time the women’s championship has been held at the University Aquatic Center and the fifth time for the men’s championship.
LIVE SCORING/VIDEO STREAMING AVAILABLE
The University of Minnesota will have live results and video streaming available on its website, www.gophersports.com.
BIG TEN SCORING
All of the events will be scored by a point system. The Big Ten Championships follow the same format as NCAA scoring when the top 16 finishers earn points. For relays, the top finisher receives 40 points, followed by the second with 34. The breakdown for relays are the following: 40, 34, 32, 30, 28, 26, 24, 22, 18, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2. Individual events will also be scored as the following: 20, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13,12, 11, 9, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
ALL-BIG TEN ANNOUNCEMENTS
At the conclusion of the Big Ten Championships, the All-Big Ten first and second teams will be announced. All of the Big Ten champions will be the first team, while the second-team accolades are awarded to swimmers that finished as the runners-up in their respective events. Also announced at that time will be the swimmer and diver of the championships, the swimmer and diver of the year, the freshman of the year, and the swimming and diving coaches of the year.
GOPHERS SCORE BIG AT 2006 LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS
After finishing sixth at the 2005 Big Ten Championships, Minnesota improved four spots in just one year to earn second place at the 2006 Big Ten Championships in Columbus, Ohio. The Gophers won the 800 free relay, the 500-yard freestyle (Yuen Kobayashi) and the 1650 free (Kobayashi) to earn 536.5 points. Co-head coaches Kelly Kremer and Terry Nieszner were named the Big Ten Coaches of the Year. Yuen Kobayashi was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Earning first-team All-Big Ten honors were Jenny Shaughnessy (800 free relay), Kobayashi (800 free relay, 500 free, 1,650 free), Kate Hardt (800 free relay) and Christine Jennings (800 free relay). Stacy Busack earned second-team All-Big Ten honors (50 free).
MAKING THEIR MARK
Last year, Yuen Kobayashi became the first Golden Gopher in school history to earn Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Established in 2001, Penn State and Wisconsin each garnered two rookie awards, while Michigan received the award in 2005. The 2006 Big Ten Championship also marked the first time that Terry Nieszner and Kelly Kremer were named Big Ten Co-Coaches of the Year. In just their second season as co-head coaches, the duo has recruited some of the nation’s best talent and went from finishing sixth at the 2005 league championships to a second-place finish in 2006. Minnesota, however, is not unfamiliar with garnering coach of the year honors. Nieszner and Kremer’s predecessor, Jean Freeman, was named coach of the year four times during her tenure in 1984, 1986, 1996 and 1999.