Gophers to Host B1G Championships
Feb. 17, 2014
Hosting the Championships
The University of Minnesota is set to host the 2014 Big Ten Women's Swimming & Diving Championships for the second year in a row February 19-22 at the University Aquatic Center.
The facility was built in 1990 and was fashioned to meet or exceed Olympic standards. Nearly two acres in size, the Aquatic Center houses the Dorothy L. Sheppard Pool, a 50-meter competition pool, eight lanes wide and eight feet deep, with a moveable bulkhead. The separate diving well features a pair of one-and-three-meter boards, as well as 1, 5, 7.5 and 10-meter diving platforms.
The Aquatic Center has hosted the Men's Big Ten Championships five times, most recently in 2005, and was the site of the Women's Big Ten Championships four times, lastly in 2004.
The Aquatic Center has been the site for some of the top swimming and diving events in the country: 12 Big Ten Championships, nine NCAA Championships, many national and international swimming and diving competitions and countless State High School Championships. In the 2007 season, the U of M became the first university to host the NCAA men's and women's championships in consecutive weeks.
In addition to hosting this years Big Ten Women's Championship, the Aquatic Center will host the NCAA Women's Championships later this month and is scheduled to host the NCAA Men's Championships in 2018.
2013 Big Ten Champions
Minnesota took home the title for a second year in a row last year at the University Aquatic Center here in Minneapolis. The 2013 Minnesota team scored 831.5 points throughout the week. Indiana University finished second, and the Hoosiers continue to be the primary competition for this year's Big Ten Championships. Kelly Kremer was named Swimming Coach of the Year, Wenbo Chen the Diving Coach of the Year, and Maggie Keefer was Diver of the Championships.
Going the Distance
Minnesota continues to have strength in long distance races. Kiera Janzen's 500-yard freestyle was labeled as the "can't miss race" by SwimSwam.com. Janzen, a junior captain for the Golden Gophers holds the top times in the 200-yard, 500-yard, 1000-yard, and 1650-yard freestyle races for Minnesota this season.
As 15-time Big Ten Diver of the Week, and the reigning Diver of the Championships, senior Maggie Keefer is ready to show her skills for Minnesota in her last season. She took first in the one-meter with a score of 351.45 and second on the three-meter board. Returning divers Katy Etterman and Sarah McCrady also had top-ten finishes, and will certainly add depth to Minnesota's diving team again this year.
Seniors Last Dance
In addition to senior divers Maggie Keefer and Sarah McCrady, backstroke swimmer Tess Behrens looks to impress one last time in the 100-yard and 200-yard back. Erin Caflisch and Hailey Szews are also looking to score some points for the Gophers in freestyle and IM. They are looking to go out with a bang in no better way than at their home pool.
Juniors Back at it
Along with Kiera Janzen, Jessica Plant, Tori Simenec, and Rebecca Weiland will head into their third Big Ten Championships only knowing how to win. Plant has proved herself to be a great freestyle swimmer, where Simenec and Weiland show strength in butterfly and sprint freestyle.
Second Year Stars
With only four sophomores on the team, each provides an important skill set for the Gophers going into Championships Season. Kierra Smith had a standout freshman season with Minnesota and has continued to show her strength in her sophomore year with top times 100-yard breaststroke (1:00.63), 200-yard breaststroke (2:06.43), and 200 IM (1:57.80). Lauren Votava has been a top swimmer in sprint frees for the Gophers. She holds the top time in the 100-yard freestyle swimming a 48.94 at the 2013 Minnesota Grand Prix. Diver Jessica Ramberg and distance freestyle swimmer Samantha Harding round out the Gophers' sophomore class.
Both Maddie Hoch and Breanne Siwicki have both been awarded Big Ten Freshman of the Week during their premier season with Minnesota. Siwicki was also named Manitoba's Female Athlete of the Year recently and holds the Gopher top time in the 400 IM with a time of 4:13.40. Five other freshmen will be competing with Hoch and Siwicki for Minnesota at this week.