MINNEAPOLIS – Looking to pick up right where they left off, the Gophers will strive to continue their success in the water throughout the 2017-18 campaign. The Maroon and Gold captured a fourth place finish at the Big Ten Championships last season, 10th in the NCAA Championships and were 8-1 in dual meets.
“I look at this roster and I think this is the best roster we have ever put together. We are very balanced, we’ve got great leadership and a lot of experience,” head coach Kelly Kremer said. “There are so many of them with so much experience at this level or higher,” Kremer said. “I think that they will be using every opportunity they have just to compete well and keep preparing for what comes in February and March.”
Following a season full of accolades, the Gophers return five All-American Honorable mentions in Zoe Avestruz, Lindsey Kozelsky (Horejsi), Chantal Nack, Danielle Nack and Tevyn Waddell. In all, Minnesota returns 26 student-athletes to the pool including 16 juniors and four seniors. Most notably returning to the roster is Big Ten Freshman of the year Tevyn Waddell. The Big Ten 100 back Big Ten Champion will return with an experienced relay squad in the 800 free, 200 and 400 medley relay.
Despite losing NCAA 3-meter champion Yu Zhou and All-American Lexi Tenenbaum, Gopher diving will look to continue their excellence behind the senior leadership of Beth Etterman. Sophomore Sarah Bacon returns following a 3-meter third place finish at the Big Ten Championships. Among the newcomers are freshman Jenelle Crozier and junior Xiao Fu.
The Gophers will welcome 11 newcomers to the roster this season. Brittany Horn, Abbey Erwin and Patricia Van Law all come in with NISCA All-Americans. Also joining the Gophers squad will be freshman Mackenzie Padington who enters her collegiate career with international experience as a member of the Canadian senior national team.
Be on the lookout for the Gophers’ relay teams to make a splash this season. The Big Ten Champion 200 medley relay team of Waddell, Kozelky, D. Nack and Avestruz will look to defend their title, while also returning are all four members of the 400 and 800 free relays (D. Nack, Avestruz, C. Nack and Waddell). The 500 and 800 free relays collected a third place finish at the Big Ten Championship in both events and 14th in the 800 free relay at the NCAA Championships.
The magic number for the Minnesota women’s swimming squad is 12. The Gophers have collected a top-four finish at the Big Ten Championships for the past 12 years and most recently scored a program-best 1,086 points at the 2017 meet. At the NCAA Championships, the Gophers sent a double-digit number of student-athletes for the 12th consecutive year, while recording a top-15 national finish 12 years in a row.
With another competitive Big Ten schedule the Gophers will be challenged early hosting Big Ten foes Michigan, Wisconsin and Penn State on Friday, Nov. 3 and Saturday, Nov. 4. Following the Minnesota Invitational the Maroon and Gold will travel southwest to take on Hawai’i in Honolulu, Hawai’i.
“To see them [Michigan and Wisconsin] early season I think it is valuable experience for our swimmers and divers,” Kremer said.
The Gophers will enjoy the rest of the regular season at home prior to the Big Ten Championships meet in Columbus, Ohio Feb. 14-17. The 2018 NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships will also take place in Columbus, Ohio from March 14-17.
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