The No. 21 University of Minnesota women’s swimming and diving team qualified two swimmers to the championship finals tonight in the Big Ten Championships at the University Aquatic Center. Qualifying for the finals are Gophers Stacy Busack and Meredith McCarthy, both in the 100-yard freestyle. Finals begin at 7 p.m. tonight in the last session of the three-day championships.
The Gophers are currently in fourth place with 307 total points. Indiana is the leader after the second day of competition with 453.5 points, followed by Penn State (387.5) and Michigan (378) in second and third. Wisconsin rounds out the top five with 305.5 points.
Sophomores Busack and McCarthy finished sixth and seventh overall in the preliminaries of the 100 free to qualify for the finals in the event. Busack touched the wall in 50.35, while McCarthy was close behind in 50.45. In addition to Busack and McCarthy, Minnesota also has two swimmers in the consolation finals of the 100 free. Sophomore Erin Holtmeyer finished 10th overall with a time of 50.73, while senior Valerie Tukey placed 11th in 50.82.
Minnesota also had four swimmers qualify for the consolation final in the 200-yard backstroke. Freshman Deidre DeWall was the first Gophers finisher, placing 11th in 2:00.62. Roxane Akradi placed 14th overall in 2:01.12, while Erin Forster and Castina Wabeke placed 15th and 16th with times of 2:01.45 and 2:01.59, respectively.
The Gophers will also compete in the 400 freestyle relay and the 1650 freestyle in tonight’s finals. Minnesota sophomore Yuen Kobayashi is the top seed in the 1650 free after winning the event at the 2006 Big Ten Championships.
This evening’s finals also include platform diving. The prelims begin at 1 p.m. with six Gophers competing including Brianna Hubbard, Alexandra Barstad, Jacqueline Schroeder, Hillary Provo, Erica Schiffler and Holly Jakits.