The Golden Gophers took fifth place in the Big Ten Championships, which concluded today at the University Aquatic Center. With a score of 412.50, it was the team's best finish in four years. In addition, junior Katy Coombe was recognized after this evening's competition concluded when she was given second team All-Big Ten honors. Coach Jean Freeman said of Coombe's accomplishment, this is "really an honor...a tough thing to do."
An exciting conclusion arose as the results of the Big Ten Championships were decided on the final event. Michigan and Penn State were separated by just two points for the lead entering the 400 freestyle relay. The Wolverines of Michigan secured their first place finish overall by winning the event in an A-cut time of 3:18.95. They earned a final team score of 604.50. Indiana took third place (563.50) and the badgers of Wisconsin finished in fourth place (503).
In the 100 freestyle, things continued to go well for Coombe who captured a fifth place finish with a B-cut time of 50.12. This was a lifetime best finish for her and also the third fastest time in school history for this event. Concerning Coombe, Freeman expressed that it is an "honor to be among the top." Teammate Kate Hardt participated in the consolation finals of the 100 free taking a 13th place finish in a B-cut time of 50.63.
Furthermore, senior Megan Moore earned a lifetime best finish in the 200 backstroke. Placing seventh overall, she clocked a B-cut time of 1:59.92. Freeman commented that "she (Megan) is adament about her goals" and acheived an important one in tonight's competition. Katie Wind also earned a lifetime best finish in the event with a time of 2:02.37. She placed 13th.
Moreover, Juleen Rodakowski earned a fifth place finish in the 200 butterfly, clocking a B-cut time of 2:00.36. Junior Sarah Sofelt placed 16th in the consolation finals with a time of 2:04.64.
In the 200 breaststroke, senior Melissa Schold won her heat of the consolation finals in a B-cut time of 2:17.57. She finished 10th overall. Just behind her were Bridget McCoy (2:18.87) in 11th place and Abby Ruess, who finished 12th with a time of 2:19.16. McCoy and Ruess both earned lifetime best finishes in this event.
Gopher divers closed out the conference championships with a solid effort. Freshman Holly Jakits earned a third place finish with a finals score of 387. Freeman spoke highly of Jakits claiming that the platform competition is her specialty, adding that "she shines on tower." Rebecca Cornthwaite finished in fourth place (385.75).
The competition concluded with the 400 free relay in which the Gophers captured a fifth place finish. The Team of Coombe, Hardt, Perrott, and Moore earned a B-cut time of 3:21.62.
Coach Freeman provided her final thoughts on the conference championship by exclaiming "we were very happy...we made strides forward this year." The final home meet for the Gophers this season is February 29th at the University Aquatic Center. Competition begins at noon.