NCAA Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships
Thursday-Saturday – March 17-19, 2011
Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center
U. of Texas, host – Austin, Texas
Minnesota Set for NCAA Championships
No. 14 Minnesota travels to Austin, Texas, and the campus of the University of Texas this week to compete in the 2011 NCAA Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships, Thursday-Saturday, March 17-19. The three-day event features trials that will begin at 11 a.m.,diving prelims at 1:30 p.m. and finals following at 7 p.m. each day.
NCAA Championships Coverage
The finals sessions on Friday and Saturday will be streamed live on ESPN3.com.
NCAA Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships Marks 30th Year
The 2011 NCAA Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships marks the 30th year for the event. Minnesota is among an elite group of 21 schools who have scored in 25 or more NCAA Championships. There are six schools that have scored in all 29 NCAA Championships: Arizona, Florida, Southern California, Stanford, Tennessee and UCLA.
Stanford has captured the most NCAA titles with eight, followed by Texas with seven, but neither team has added to their total since 1998.
Florida is the defending champion becoming the fourth different team to win the title in the past four year. Auburn was the last to repeat, winning in 2006 and 2007.
Minnesota at the NCAA Championships
The Golden Gophers have scored in 26 of 29 NCAA Championships. Minnesota’s top finish was 10th in 1992. In 2009, Minnesota scored a program-best 136 points in placing 11th. The Gophers placed 12th at the NCAA Championships a year ago with 102 points. Overall, Minnesota has eight top-15 finishes, including in each of the four seasons.
Minnesota Packs Plenty of Experience to NCAA Championships
Minnesota’s NCAA lineup returns 99.5 of the 102 points (97.5 percent) scored a year ago. The Gophers will have plenty of experience on their NCAA roster as six swimmers will make their third appearances in the national meet: Molly Belk, Marissa Davies, Alison Eggers, Kaylee Jamison, Ashley Steenvoorden and Hannah Whitehead. Diver Kelci Bryant, and swimmers Loren Branden, Meagan Radecke, Haley Spencer and Lauren Weis are two-time NCAA participants. Three Gophers, Lissa Tommerdahl, Maggie Keefer and Tess Behrens (alternate), will make their first NCAA appearances. The Gophers with All-America honors on their resumes are Bryant, Davies, Eggers, Jamison, Radecke, Spencer, Steenvoorden, Tyler and Whitehead.
Minnesota’s 14 competitors in the NCAA Championships is the second highest number the Gophers have sent to the national meet in school history. The Gophers had 15 competitors at the NCAA meet in 2009.
Kelci Bryant Aims at Title Defense
Minnesota junior Kelci Bryant is the defending NCAA champion in the 3-meter diving event. Bryant, who was the runner-up on the 1-meter springboard in 2010, will compete on both the 1-meter and 3-meter boards at this year’s NCAA Championships.
Bryant has enjoyed another top-notch season in 2010-11. She captured the US Diving Winter national 1-meter title, then defended her Big Ten titles on both the 1-meter and 3-
meter boards to earn Big Ten Diver of the Championships honors. Along the way, she has bettered her school-record scores in both 1-meter (370.30) and 3-meter (421.70) events.
Minnesota National Champions
Kelci Bryant 3-meter diving 2010
Gretchen Hegener 100 breast 1997
Chris Curry 3-meter diving 1981 (AIAW)
Jillian Tyler Looking for History - Part II
Minnesota senior Jillian Tyler became the first Golden Gopher and the 12th swimmer in Big Ten history to win four titles in the same event in consecutive years of a career when she swam to her fourth title in the 100 breaststroke.
Tyler has a chance to set even more Minnesota history when she makes her fourth trip to the NCAA Championships in the 100 breast. Minnesota has never had a swimmer earn NCAA All-America honors in the same event four times in a career. Tyler was the national runner-up in the event in 2008 and 2009 and placed fourth in 2010.
A five-time All-American in the breaststroke events, Tyler is tied with Gretchen Hegener (1994-98) and Olga Splichalova (1994-98) for the most All-America awards in individual events in Minnesota history. Overall, Tyler is a nine-time All-American.
Note: Minnesota has two athletes who captured All-America honors in the same event four straight times. The first was Cindy Anderson who was a four-time AIAW All-American in the backstroke (1975-79) . Diver Laurie Nelson was a four-time NCAA All-American in platform diving from 1990-94.
Gopher Swimmers With Three Straight NCAA All-America Honors in Individual Events
Jillian Tyler 100 breast 2008, 09, 10
Gretchen Hegener 100 breast 1996, 97, 98
Olga Splichalova 500 free 1996, 97, 98
Tanya Schuh 100 butterfly 1995, 96, 97Ha
Tami Grewenow 100 breast 1988, 89, 90
Jillian Can Go for Sweep in Relays Too
In addition to the possibility of a four-year sweep in an individual event, Jillian Tyler can also accomplish the feat of being a four-time All-American as a member of the 400 medley relay. She helped the relay to a seventh-place finish her freshman season, followed by 13th-place (2009) and 12th-place (2010) showings. In 2011 as in the 2010 Championships, Tyler will team with Hannah Whitehead, Kaylee Jamison and Alison Eggers on the relay.
Four-Time NCAA All-Americans in the Same Relay
Stacy Busack 200 free 2006-09
400 free 2006-09
Jenny Shaughnessy 400 free 2006-09
800 free 2006-09
Yuen Kobayashi 800 free 2006-09
Jenny Hennen 800 free 1997-00
Gretchen Hegener 800 free 1995-98
Ashley Steenvoorden the Gophers’ Long-Distance Ace
Junior Ashley Steenvoorden is a two-time All-American in the 1,650 freestyle and could climb on to the elite list of Gopher swimmers/divers with three All-America honors in the same event previously listed. Steenvoorden is seeded fifth in the race with a season-best time of 15:58.62. She has placed ninth in her first two NCAA appearances in the event with nearly identical times - 16:02.39 in 2010 and 16;02.57 in 2009. Steenvoorden is also seeded fifth in the 500 free with a time of 4:37.66.
What a 1-2 Punch
Minnesota has a great 1-2 scoring punch in the breaststroke events. Jillian Tyler is seeded first in the 100 (58.08) and second in the 200 (2:07.11). Sophomore Haley Spencer is a definite player on the national scene in these races as well coming seeded fourth in the 200 (2:07.61) and ninth in the 100 (59.75). Amazingly, those were career best, yet untapered times, during the 2010-11 season.
The Women of Steel
Two Golden Gophers worthy of mention and to watch in the upcoming NCAA meet are Hannah Whitehead and Kaylee Jamison. These Gophers will likely see the pool more than any of their teammates. A year ago, Whitehead competed in six events at the NCAA Championships, including lead-off in four relays. She helped the 400 medley relay and the 800 free relay to All-America Honorable Mention accolades. Jamison was also a member of that 400 medley relay as one of the four events she competed in during the 2010 national meet. She will make her third NCAA appearance in the 100 butterfly as well.
How About Those Milers
Minnesota has a trio of 1,650 free swimmers in the NCAA Championships field in Ashley Steenvoorden, Loren Braden and Lissa Tommerdahl. Branden is making her second NCAA appearance and enters the meet ranked 12th with a time of 16:08.36. Tommerdahl is making her NCAA debut coming in ranked 29th with a time of 16:15.26.
Five Gophers Cap Minnesota Careers at NCAA Championships
Minnesota’s NCAA roster includes five senior who will end their Gopher careers at the NCAA Championships - Molly Belk, Alison Eggers, Kaylee Jamison, Meagan Radecke and Jillian Tyler. The 2011 senior class has a combined 15 All-America honors among them.
Don’t Forget About the Youngsters
Minnesota has two freshman on its NCAA roster in Maggie Keefer and Tess Behrens. Keefer will compete in all three diving events. Behrens is traveling as an alternate for several Gopher relays.
The Big Ten Well Represented in the National Poll
Minnesota is ranked the No. 14 team in the nation by the College Swimming Coaches’ Association of America poll. Georgia holds the No. 1 spot followed by California, Stanford, Auburn and Southern California in the top five. Big Ten champion Indiana tops the Conference list at No. 12 tops the list of seven Big Ten teams ranked in the top 20 with Minnesota at No. 14, Ohio State at No. 15, Michigan at No. 16, Wisconsin at No. 17, Penn State at No. 21 and Purdue at No. 22.