GOPHERS SET TO COMPETE ON NATIONAL STAGE
The No. 10 University of Minnesota women’s swimming and diving team will compete at the 2010 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, March 18-20 at Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind. The Gophers have 12 swimmers and one diver set to compete this upcoming weekend. Prelims are at 11 a.m. each day, while diving begins at 1 p.m. and finals are set for 7 p.m.
The University of Minnesota has 12 swimmers and one diver at the NCAA Championships this weekend. The Golden Gophers have the largest swimming contingent in the Big Ten going to the championships. Big Ten champion, Indiana, had 10 swimmers qualify, while Wisconsin has eight and Michigan and Purdue are sending seven to the national championships.
Making the NCAA field for Minnesota is Molly Belk, Loren Brandon, Kelci Bryant, Megan Braun, Marissa Davies, Alison Eggers, Kaylee Jamison, Haley Spencer, Ashley Steenvoorden, Kristen Steenvoorden, Jillian Tyler, Lauren Weis and Hannah Whitehead.
Making their third appearance at the NCAA Championships is Braun and Tyler, while making their second NCAA trek is Belk, Davies, Eggers, Jamison, Steenvoorden, Steenvoorden, and Whitehead. Freshmen Brandon, Spencer and Weis are making their NCAA debut.
Kelci Bryant will compete in both the 1-meter and 3-meter events at NCAAs. She finished second in both events at the Zone D Diving last weekend.
ON THE PSYCH SHEETS
The Gophers are ranked high in some of the events, including third in the country. Jillian Tyler, the two-time national runner-up, is seeded third in the 100 breast behind George Mason’s Ashley Danner and Auburn’s Micah Lawrence. She also enters the championship with the fifth-fastest time in the 200 breast. Ashley Steenvoorden is seeded third in the 1,650 free behind Georgia’s Wendy Trott and Chelsea Nauta, and seventh overall in the 500 free. Haley Spencer, who won the 200 breaststroke at Big Tens, is seeded third overall in the same event. Minnesota will compete in the 200 and 400 medley relay, holding a 12th-seeded time entering the championships. Minnesota’s 800 free relay will also compete as it is seeded 14th overall.
A IS FOR AUTOMATIC
The Gopher breaststrokers, Haley Spencer and Jillian Tyler have each posted automatic qualifying times to earn a trip into the NCAA Championships. Both earned automatic times when they each won an event at the Big Ten Championships. Tyler earned her third-straight event win in the 100 breast when she held a time of 59.35. Spencer won the 200 breaststroke when she touched the wall in
DID YOU KNOW?
Kelci Bryant qualified for NCAAs last weekend at the Zone D Diving. The last time Minnesota had a diver compete at the NCAA Championships was Rebecca Corthwaite when she earned All-America status in 2003-04.
GOPHERS FINISH SECOND AT BIG TENS
The No. 10 University of Minnesota women’s swimming and diving team finished second at the Big Ten Championships in West Lafayette, Ind. Although the Gophers had a great meet and put up 572.5 points, the Indiana Hoosiers posted 758 points for their second-straight Big Ten title. Michigan was third with 462.5, while host Purdue was fourth with 460. In all, the Gophers had seven event titles in the championship and had seven on the All-Big Ten First Team. Diver Kelci Bryant was named the Big Ten Diver of the Year and of the Championship, while diving coach Wenbo Chen was named the Big Ten Diving Coach of the Year. Along with the event title accomplishments, Megan Braun was the Gophers’ sportsmanship award recipient. Earning event title wins were Jillian Tyler (100 breast), Haley Spencer (200 breast), Ashley Steenvoorden (500 free and 1,650 free) and Kelci Bryant (1-meter and 3-meter) and the 400 medley relay (Hannah Whitehead, Tyler, Kaylee Jamison and Alison Eggers).
LAST YEAR AT NCAAS
The University of Minnesota finished 11th overall at the 2009 NCAA Championships, hosted by Texas A&M University. During the course of the three-day championships, Minnesota garnered 10 All-America honors and held its second highest finish in school history and the best finish since 1991-92 when the Gophers placed 10th overall. In 2006-07 and 2007-08, Minnesota finished 13th overall in the nation, and improved two spots in 2008-09. After earning 96 points in 2008 the Gophers improved their point production by 40 points in 2009 with 136 points. For the second-straight season, Jillian Tyler was the NCAA runner-up in the 100 breast, while finishing third overall in the 200 breast.
Earning All-America honors for the Gophers were Stacy Busack (800 free relay, 100 free, 200 free relay, 400 medley relay), Yuen Kobayashi (500 free, 800 free relay), Meredith McCarthy (800 free relay, 200 free, 200 and 400 free relay), Jenny Shaughnessy (800 free relay, 200 and 400 IM, 400 free relay), Jillian Tyler (100 breast, 200 breast, 400 medley relay), Megan Braun (400 medley relay), Alison Eggers (200 and 400 free relay), Kaylee Jamison (200 free relay and 200 medley relay), Meagan Radecke (200 free relay), Ashley Steenvoorden (1,650 free), Castina Wabeke (400 medley relay) and Hannah Whitehead (400 medley relay).
POINT GETTERS AT 2009 NCAAS
Jillian Tyler led the Gophers in points at last year’s NCAAs. She held 35 points, while Stacy Busack and Meredith McCarthy had 20.5 points. Yuen Kobayashi had 20, followed by Jenny Shaughnessy (18.5), Ashley Steenvoorden (9), Alison Eggers (6.5), Kaylee Jamison (3), Megan Braun (2) and Castina Wabeke (2).
IN THE RANKINGS
Minnesota is ranked the No. 11 team in the nation by the College Swimming Coaches’ Association of America poll. Minnesota leads the Big Ten Conference in the rankings. Stanford hold the top spot, followed by Georgia, Texas, Arizona, Florida, Auburn, Tennessee, Texas A&M, California and Southern Cal. Indiana follows closely, ranked 13th, while Wisconsin and Penn State round out the top 15.