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Gophers Complete Minnesota Challenge -- February 9, 2004

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn, February 8. THE Minnesota Challenge, hosted at the University Aquatic Center proved once again the strength of the 8th ranked Gopher team. Prior to the events Saturday, the seniors were honored for the athletic accomplishments whileat the University of Minnesota; they include Adam Apprill, Ben Baumann, Dustin Chalfant, Brian Gettelfinger, Ben Herdt, Ryan Plummer, and DiegoUrreta.

The Gophers began Saturday's portion of the Minnesota Challenge with Junior Lucas Petersen earning a second place finish in the 100 butterfly (49.48).This time provisionally qualifies Petersen for the NCAA Championships. Minnesota captured an astonishing second through 10th place in this event. Petersen improved during the evening session winning the 200 fly in a timeof 1:50.96.

The 200 Medley Relay was also kind to the Gophers as they had teams capturing the top two spots. 'Minnesota A' consisting of Dan Berve, TerrySilkaitis, Ales Volcansek, and newcomer Msrio Delac (1:30.41). 'Minnesota B,' Adam Mitchell, Sean Kelly, Neil Osten, and Kiel Ochalek finished second(1:30.74).

The 200 freestyle brought more good news for the Gophers as the top six finishes were captured by the host team. Silkaitis led the way with a timeof 1:37.62. This time provisionally qualifies Silkaitis for the NCAA Championships. Delac finished second (1:39.75). He has not wasted any time securing his place among the team. He earned a first place finish in the100 free (44.06), while teammate Igor Cerensek came in second (44.60, both NCAA qualifying times.

Alejandro Jacobo won the 100 breaststroke in a time of 56.72. Kelly followed close behind at 57.26. Nate Bernier finished third (58.18) and Dustin Chalfant, fourth (58.60). Jacobo also won the 200 breast in a time of 2:02.91.

Former Golden Gopher Todd Smolinski finished ahead of current University of Minnesota swimmers in the 100 backstroke (48.79). His closest competition was Andrew Van Meter, who earned second place in a time of 50.42. In the 200back, Mitchell earned a first place finish in a time of 1:46.12. The Gophers captured the top six places in this event.

Furthermore, Travis Beckerle earned the top spot in the 1650 free with a time of 15:34.84. The Gophers had several competitors in this event. David Moulder finished third (15:45.36), Zach Wood, fourth (16:02.37), and Adam Apprill rounded out the top five with a time of 16:07.60. Continuing, Ryan Plummer won the 400 IM in a time of 4:05.63. Teammates Moulder and Fabian Toth also swam well finishing second (4:06.44) and third(4:20.30).