The University of Minnesota women’s swimming and diving team broke 14 school records and won five events to win the Big Ten Championship, tonight in Columbus, Ohio. The Gophers beat out Michigan, who had 609 points, followed by Indiana in third with 513 points. The Golden Gophers took the lead over the Wolverines in the second day and cruised to the win in the final session for the win.
“We’re so proud of these young women,” co-head coach Kelly Kremer said. “From start to finish they fought tooth and nail for this Big Ten Championships. Michigan swam a very good meet, but we swam six great sessions and it was great to have this outcome.”
“Our veterans really led the way for us at this meet,” co-head coach Terry Nieszner said. “We have great depth and it showed in our score tonight. Once the meet got rolling on Thursday, the swimmers were able to relax and everyone stepped up in a really positive way.”
The title became the Gophers’ third in school history after winning back-to-back championships in 1999 and 2000 under former head coach Jean Freeman. It is the first crown for co-head coaches Kelly Kremer and Terry Nieszner, who took over the helm of the program in the 2004-05 season. Jillian Tyler was also named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and was the Gophers’ high point scorer of the meet. Earning first-team All-Big Ten was Roxane Akradi, Megan Braun, Stacy Busack, Christine Jennings, Yuen Kobayashi, Meredith McCarthy, Jenny Shaughnessy and Tyler.
“Jillian was a huge contender for us in the meet,” Kremer said. “She has been a very consistent swimmer for us the entire year. She’s a great team player. She wants to do whatever she can to help the team and really put a lot of points on the board for us this weekend.”
The Gophers won the 400 medley relay, the 200 IM (Jenny Shaughnessy), the 100 and 200 breaststroke (Jillian Tyler) and the 800 free relay during the course of the championship.
The Gophers positioned themselves well for the final day, sending nine to the championship finals. Tyler won her second individual event of the championship, this time in the 200 breaststroke. Winning the 100 breast last night in a time of 59.80, Tyler bettered her own school record with a time of 2:10.18 in the 200, which was a Big Ten meet record and a pool record. Alicia Jensen clocked a career-best with a time of 2:14.81 and fourth overall, while Kait Strickland landed the No. 6 spot overall in a provisional time of 2:16.19. Kimberly Kazika added points to the Gopher total when she placed 10th overall in 2:16.06.
Shaughnessy and Akradi made their way to the 200 back A final. Akradi earned a school record of 1:57.75 in the prelims and placed seventh overall in a time of 1:58.53. Shaughnessy led the Gophers in the event with a sixth-place time of 1:58.06. Castina Wabeke, however, won the consolation final when she took nearly two seconds off her prelim to finish in 1:57.37 and set a new school record, beating Aradi’s record set earlier today.
Busack held the runner-up spot in the 100 free finals when she touched the wall in a record-setting and NCAA automatic qualifying time of 48.89. McCarthy followed in third with a career-best time of 49.60 in the same event. Erin Holtmeyer swam in the B final and chipped in a provisional time of 50.62.
Braun set a school record in the 200 fly when she touched the wall in 1:57.85 for third overall, while Molly Belk added a seventh-place showing in the same event in 2:00.14. The Gophers had three swimmers finish in the top 10 of the 1,650 free as well. Kobayashi held an automatic qualifying time of 16:18.06 for third overall. Courtney Veerman held a career-best time of 16:32.13 for seventh, while Christine Jennings placed 10th in 16:41.76.
The Gophers closed out the championship with a fourth-place finish in the 400 free relay. Busack, McCarthy, Shaughnessy and Akradi held a school-record time of 3:18.28.
The Gophers also had diver Jaqueline Schroeder help the Gopher point production when she placed eighth overall in the plaform event. Schroeder had a prelim score of 259.20, while earning a score od 239.70 in the finals. Hillary Provo finished 11th overall in the same event when she held a prelim score of 215.20 and finished in 216.85.
We truly had a great team effort tonight,” Kremer said. “We threw some kids in events and they really shined for us tonight.” “We have some very hard-working student-athletes,” Nieszner said. “They really have fun competing and they did a great job tonight to work together as a team. We are really proud of their efforts tonight.”First Team All-Big Ten
Roxane Akradi (400 medley relay)
Megan Braun (400 medley relay)
Stacy Busack (400 medley relay)
Christine Jennings (800 free relay)
Yuen Kobayashi (800 free relay)
Meredith McCarthy (800 free relay)
Jenny Shaughnessy (200 IM, 800 free relay)
Jillian Tyler (100 breast, 200 breast and 400 medley relay)Big Ten Freshman of the Year
Jillian Tyler (Minnesota)New School Records
50 free (Stacy Busack 22.47)
100 free (Stacy Busack, 48.89)
200 free (Jenny Shaughnessy, 1:46.04)
200 back (Castina Wabeke, 1:57.37)
100 breast (Jillian Tyler, 59.80)
200 breast (Jillian Tyler, 2:10.18)
100 fly (Megan Braun, 53.93)
200 fly (Megan Braun, 1:57.85)
200 IM (Jenny Shaughnessy, 1:58.95)
400 IM (Jenny Shaughnessy, 4:09.41)
200 free relay (Busack, McCarthy, Holtmeyer, Akradi, 1:30.24)
400 free relay (Busack, McCarthy, Shaughnessy, Akradi, 3:18.28)
200 medley relay (Akradi, Tyler, Jamison, Busack, 1:39.73)
400 medley relay (Akradi, Tyler, Braun, Busack, 3:34.16)