The No. 9 University of Minnesota women’s swimming and diving team dominated its competition as it won the OSU Invitational with a score of 1296, today in Columbus, Ohio. Host Ohio State finished second overall with a score of 691.5, while Iowa placed third with 455 points. On the weekend, the Golden Gophers broke seven school records and earned 10 automatic qualifying times. With the automatic times, it qualifies them to compete at the 2008 NCAA Championships.
Yuen Kobayashi earned her second automatic qualifying time on the weekend, this time in the 1,650 freestyle. Kobayashi clocked a career-best time of 16:06.36 to win the event. With the time, she broke her own school record in the event of 16:08.59, which she set last year. Christine Jennings placed second in the event with a provisional time of 16:34.06.
Jenny Shaughnessy led the Gophers in the 200 backstroke when she placed second overall in a time of 1:59.67. Castina Wabeke placed third in the event with a time of 2:00.23, while Roxane Akradi placed sixth in a time of 2:03.51. Emilia Nilsson also competed in the championship final and finished seventh overall in 2:03.74.
The Gophers took the top three spots in the 100 free and five of eight of the finishes in the championship final. Stacy Busack set a school record when she won the event in a time of 49.26. With her time, she also set an automatic qualifying time and earned the Gophers 20 points. Meredith McCarthy placed second in the event with a provisional time of 49.85, while Erin Holtmeyer added a third-place showing in a time of 50.43. Alison Eggers finished fifth overall with a time of 51.68, while Meagan Radecke placed sixth in 51.77.
Jillian Tyler earned her third automatic qualifying time on the weekend when she won the 200 breaststroke event. Tyler, who set the school record in the 100 breast yesterday and earned an automatic qualifying time in the 200 IM, won the event in a time of 2:10.44. Tyler broke her second school record held by former Gopher and NCAA champion Gretchen Hegener. In 1997, Hegener clocked a time of 2:11.60.
Along with Tyler, Minnesota also had four additional swimmers compete in the 200 breast. Kait Strickland finished second overall in a time of 2:15.14, while Kimberly Kazika chipped in a fifth-place time of 2:19.48. Alicia Jensen and Katie Budahl took the seventh and eighth with Jensen clocking a time of 2:20.01, while Budahl added a time of 2:21.40.
Molly Belk earned her first automatic qualifying time of the season when she won the 200 fly event. Belk improved her prelim time of 1:59.25 to earn a time of 1:58.86, a school record, breaking Jenny Hennen’s 1999 school record of 1:59.34. Megan Braun followed with a second-place finish in the same event with a provisional time of 1:59.08. Danielle Ridder also competed in the championship final when she clocked a time of 2:04.62 for seventh overall.
The Gophers completed the OSU Invite with a win in the 400 free relay. Busack, McCarthy, Holtmeyer and Akradi combined for a time of 3:20.76, which provisionally qualified them for the NCAA Championships.
In diving action, Jacqueline Schroeder led the Gophers in the platform event. Schroeder placed fourth overall with a score of 244.95. Alex Barstad followed with a sixth-place finish with a score of 226.50. Maggie Thomas finished 14th overall with a score of 187.15, while Hillary Provo rounded out the Gopher competition with a 16th-place showing with a score of 171.85.
Minnesota will be idle until Jan. 5 when the Gophers will compete against California and Idaho in Hawaii during their winter training trip. Minnesota’s next home action will be on Jan. 19 against Arizona State.