WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana, January 29. THE Minnesota women’s swimming & diving team captured dual meet victories over Purdue, Wisconsin and Illinois at the Quad Dual meet in West Lafayette, Ind. on Saturday. The No. 13 Golden Gophers recorded three individual wins in the seven events contested on Saturday.
Minnesota improved its dual-meet record on the season to 9-1 overall, 7-0 against Big Ten competition. The Gophers defeated Purdue by a score of 194-159, downed Wisconsin 203-150 and defeated Illinois 293-60.
“This was a great way to end the dual-meet season, 7-0 in Big Ten competition,” said Golden Gopher co-head coach Terry Nieszner. “Now we need to focus on details and performing our best in the championship season.”
The Gophers kick-started the second day by grabbing three of the top four places in the 400-yard individual medley. Haley Spencer won the title in a time of 4 minutes, 23.79 seconds, while Kristen Steenvoorden finished third in 4:25.65 and Hailey Szews fourth in 4:26.81.
Kaylee Jamison gave the Gophers the sweep of the butterfly events, winning the 100 fly in a time of 54.75. Molly Belk, who won the 200 fly on Friday, was fourth (56.88).
Ashley Steenvoorden won her second distance freestyle event of the weekend, capturing the crown in the 500 free in a time of 4:47.16. Lauren Weis was third in a time of 4:51.04.
Spencer and Jillian Tyler finished second and third, respectively, in the 200 breaststroke. Spencer clocked a time of 2:15.13, edging Tyler who touched in 2:15.51.
Minnesota returns home next weekend to host the Minnesota Challenge on Friday-Saturday, Feb. 4-5.
As the Big Ten Quad hosted by Purdue swimming and diving at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center wrapped up Saturday afternoon, the Purdue men posted their first dual meet win against No. 15 Minnesota since 1988 and the Purdue women held on for a two-point victory versus No. 17 Wisconsin.
The Purdue men topped Minnesota by just 19 points, 185-166, after entering the day with a 63-point edge. The Purdue women were victorious against Wisconsin, 176.5-174.5, after carrying a 30-point advantage into the day. The Boiler women finished second to Wisconsin in the final event of the day, the 200 free relay, to clinch the victory.
Both Purdue teams entered the day with leads they earned from strong opening-night performances Friday and the Boilermakers’ divers played a significant role in those advantages. All diving events were contested Friday.
“I think in a couple hours I’ll feel pretty good, but it was a good thing we had a big lead going into the day because Minnesota really [came on strong],” Purdue men’s coach Dan Ross said. “We swam well today but they won all the touch-outs, which at home you think they should go your way – because in four weeks we’ve got to go up there and do it again (for the Big Ten Championships in Minneapolis). Our guys swam really, really well and showed a lot of heart. Its big beating Minnesota, but we also know it’s not going to mean anything unless we can do it at the conference meet at their home. And they swim really fast at home. The divers did a great job and we built a good lead yesterday. And we won just enough today to get the win.”
“I thought we swam pretty well both days,” Purdue women’s coach John Klinge said. “Some of our more experienced swimmers really stepped up. Our seniors have done a great job over the last couple years and continue to be great leaders for our team. They really finished off their home careers with a great performance. Our team does a great job of supporting each other and rising to the occasion when they need to. And we want to carry that on into the Big Ten Championships.”
Brian Kiel and Ariel Martin each recorded their second victories of the weekend Saturday. Kiel captured the 200 backstroke (1:48.27) to sweep the backstroke events for the weekend. Tyler Gertz finished second to Kiel with a personal season-best mark (1:49.53). Martin won the 100 freestyle (50.47) with a new season-best time for Purdue to sweep the sprint free events (50 and 100) for the weekend.
Other new team season-best times came from Allie Smith and Albert Miller for the second day in a row. Smith finished second in the 200 back with her top time (1:59.32) of the season in the event. Miller took third in the 200 breast but improved on his best mark (2:03.23) in the event.
All four Purdue free relays teams finished second in their events but registered some impressive times. The men’s 200 free relay team of Chuck Destro, Ben Wachtel, Benjamin Ziolkowski and Matt Friede posted a season-best Purdue time (1:20.97), which doubled as an NCAA provisional qualifier. The 400 free relay group of Friede, Kiel, Destro and Wachtel also came in under the provisional time (3:00.89).
The women’s 200 free relay team of Martin, Lisa Butler, Lauren Gustafson and Lauren Nichols recorded a season-best time (1:33.02) for Purdue. Meanwhile, the 400 free relay group of Martin, Smith, Beck and Gustafson put together the second-best time (3:24.99) of the year for the program and their top showing as a foursome.
The Purdue men return to action Saturday when they close out the home portion of their schedule with the swimming portion of a dual meet against rival Indiana. The Purdue women are idle from competition until the Big Ten Championships, set for Feb. 16-19 in Bloomington, Ind.
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