Oct. 6, 2011
The Minnesota women's swimming & diving team opens its 2011-12 season against Big Ten-foe Michigan Friday at the University Aquatic Center. The Golden Gophers will honor their seven seniors prior to the home-opening event which is scheduled to get underway at 6 p.m. The meet will continue until Saturday, with the first race scheduled for 11:45 a.m.
Minnesota defeated Michigan, 169-131, in their last meeting on the road to open last season behind strong showings from Jillian Tyler and Hannah Whitehead. Whitehead, who is one of the Golden Gophers' seven senior to be honored Friday, won the 100-yard race in 56.44 and later swam to the title in the 200-yard event in 2:01.39.
Minnesota enters the event against the Wolverines with a very strong senior class, as well as a plethora of talent in its returning junior and sophomore classes and incoming freshmen.
Though only rookies, this year's newcomers are going to surprise a lot of people. Jessica Plant is poised to be one of the top performers this weekend, while Rebecca Weiland is one to watch in the sprint butterfly, Katie Anton in backstroke and Devin Ste. Marie in the butterfly.
Nieszner's squad has plenty of NCAA experienced swimmers and divers, as well as potential Olympians for the 2012 summer games. This is the year that the Golden Gophers could break through into the top-10 at the NCAA Championship.
Following the season-opener against Michigan, the Gophers will head to Iowa State Oct. 15, and continue on the road for the next five meets.