PenThe University of Minnesota women's swimming and diving team finished the third day of the Big Ten Championships with 211 points and remain in sixth place, hosted by Indiana in Bloomington, Ind. Penn State continues its dominance of the championships with 485 points, while the hosing Hoosiers are second with 340 points. Minnesota had three swimmers qualify for the A Finals tonight.
Minnesota opened the third finals competition with a sixth-place finish in the 400 medley relay. The relay of Katie Wind, Bridget McCoy, Colleen Morgan and Katy Coombe combined for a time of 3:45.02 and 26 points.
Abby Ruess led the Gophers in the 400 individual medley, placing 22nd overall. Ruess chipped in a time of 4:31.38. Amy Killpatrick followed with a time of 4:39.80 and a 30-place finish. Minnesota continued action with the 100 butterfly event. Morgan finished with a time of 56.32, followed closely by Erin O'Neil, who finished 23rd in 56.41. Sarah Solfelt added a time of 56.82, placing 25th overall.
Kate Hardt added a career-best time in the 200 freestyle event. Hardt improved on her last year's Big Ten time of 1:42.52 and touched the wall with a time of 1:42.38. Her time provisionally qualified her for the NCAA Championships in March. Valerie Tukey placed 23rd overall with a time of 1:50.86, while Jennifer Chang clocked a time of 1:51.31 for 27th place.
McCoy led the Maroon and Gold in the 100 breaststroke, placing seventh in the A Final. She added a career-best time of 1:03.83, provisionally qualifying for the NCAA Championships in March. Julia Quinn also finished with a career-best time of 1:03.69 and placed 10th overall. She too provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships. Erika Bjorklund and Mary Patrek also scored points for the Gophers, finishing 15th and 16th overall. Bjorklund clocked a career-best time of 1:04.40, while Patrek also added a career best 1:04.94.
Katie Wind and Jennifer Hasling each scored points for the Gophers in the 100 backstroke. After finishing 12th in last year's Big Ten Championships, Wind made the A Final and placed eighth overall. Wind touched the wall at 56.66, also a lifetime best. Indiana's Leila Vaziri won the event with an automatic qualifying time and a pool record of 53.64. Three swimmers in the event automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships. Hasling chipped in a 13th-place finish in 57.36. Heather Harris placed 18th in the preliminaries (57.81), while Lindsey St. Martin placed 23rd overall (58.36).
Both divers also collected points for the Golden Gophers in the 3-meter events. Jessica Livingston just missed the finals, placing ninth in the preliminaries. She added nine points to the Gophers' score and a score of 489.95. Senior co-captain Abbie Bowden placed 13th overall with a score of 462.45 and four points.
"We feel very good about where we are after three days of competition," co- head coach Terry Nieszner said. We had some great swims in the finals and we are getting stronger each day that we compete. We had a number of swimmers earn lifetime best times today and we're looking forward to tomorrow. The divers are happy with their performances as well and look forward to compete in the platform events tomorrow."
The Gophers conclude the Big Ten Championships tomorrow. Preliminaries begin at 11 a.m., while finals are again slated for 7 p.m. Events tomorrow include the 1,650 free, 100 free, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly, platform diving and concludes with the 400 free relay.