finishThe two-time defending Big Ten champion Minnesota women's swimming and diving team heads to Bloomington, Ind., this weekend to compete in the 2001 Big Ten Championships. The 19th-ranked Gophers finished 6-1 in the dual meet season, 3-1 against Big Ten teams. Minnesota is missing 50 percent of its Big Ten points from its 2000 championship team, and will try to keep alive a streak of six consecutive top-three Big Ten finishes.
Gophers Currently 19th In National Poll
Minnesota is currently ranked 19th in the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) poll. The Golden Gophers have been ranked as high as 16th this season, and have appeared in every poll. Other Big Ten teams that are ranked are Wisconsin (12th), Penn State (13th), Michigan (16th), Northwestern (18th) and Indiana (21st). Purdue is the first team mentioned among teams receiving votes outside of the top 25.
2000 Big Ten Championships Review
For the second consecutive season, the Gophers overwhelmed the Big Ten Conference with balanced scoring in nearly every event to win the conference title. Minnesota scored 562.5 points, the lowest score for a Big Ten championship team since 1986. The Gophers defeated Michigan, the Big Ten champion from 1987-98, by 61.5 points in the three-day meet.
Individually, Katy Christoferson (Burnsville, Minn./Burnsville) won Minnesota's lone individual championship. She was the top qualifier and the winner of the 400 individual medley in 4:19.50. In the trials, she set a personal-best of 4:16.78, missing the varsity record by .53 of a second. Christoferson set Minnesota's only varsity record of the meet, placing third in the 200 IM with a time of 2:02.03. She earned all-Big Ten honors by virtue of her title in the 400 individual medley. Former Gophers Kelsey Hegener and Terri Jashinsky were two of the three at-large selections.
Gophers to Watch
Laurie Nelson (1991-94), who was recently inducted into the Minnesota Women's Athletics Hall of Fame, scored in all three diving events at the 1993 NCAA meet. For the first time since Nelson, Minnesota's best chance to win a Big Ten individual title meet might come from a diver. Senior Tracy LaVoi (St. Cloud, Minn./Tech) scored 28.5 points at the 2000 Big Ten meet, including a tie for second in 3-meter diving and eighth in 1-meter diving. She has won two Big Ten Diver of the Week awards this season.
Minnesota swimmers to watch include senior Katy Christoferson, junior Jinny Smedstad (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/John F. Kennedy) and sophomore Dana Baum (Carson City, Nev./Carson). Christoferson is the only athlete on Minnesota's roster to own a Big Ten championship, winning the 400 individual medley in 1998 and 2000. Smedstad scored 47.5 points at the 2000 Big Ten meet, finishing third in the 500 freestyle and the 400 individual medley. Baum should make an impact in distance freestyle events after scoring 47.5 points in her first Big Ten meet last season.