MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., November 21. THE No. 9 University of Minnesota men's swimming and diving team took a commanding lead after the first day of the Minnesota Invitational held tonight at the University Aquatic Center. The Golden Gophers led after the first day of the three-day event with a score of 419.50, while No. 14 Wisconsin finished the day in second with a score of 274.50.
Minnesota's strongest events of the evening were in the 500-yard freestyle contest and the 50 free event. Adam Mitchell won the 500 free with a time of 4:26.81, nearly three seconds over North Dakota's Rodrigo Cintra, who finished second. Mitchell's time provisionally qualified him for the NCAA Championships, his third provisional qualifying time this season. Travis Beckerle finished third in the competition adding a 4:29.60 time, his best this season. David Moulder finished fifth overall with a time of 4:34.05, while Sean McCaffrey added an eighth-place finish placing four Gophers in the A Final.
The Gophers had five members in the A Final of the 50 free race. Terry Silkaitis won the event in 20.58, followed by Neil Osten in third with a time of 20.80. Igor Cerensek and Ales Volcansek added a fifth and sixth-place showing, while senior captain Brian Gettelfinger notched a time of 21.28 finishing eighth in the A Final.
Diego Urreta clocked a time of 1:51.14 in the 200 individual medley, but Wisconsin's Adam Mania set a new meet record when he finished in 1:49.41 taking first place. Senior captain Ryan Plummer sported a fourth-place finish in the event in 1:53.34. Minnesota finished second in both the 200 free relay and the 400 medley relay. Wisconsin won both events.
In diving competition, John Schmidt led Minnesota finishing third overall in the 3-meter diving event adding a score of 470.00. Miami's Miguel Velazquez won the event with a score of 607.85.
"I'm happy with the way he did individually tonight," head coach Dennis Dale said." We have a lot of depth on our team and it shows in the score we produced. I am disappointed that we did not win a relay tonight. Our goal is to have half the finalists in the A Final and we did that tonight. I hope that we can continue that and win a relay event tomorrow."
The Gophers kick off the second day of the invite at 11 a.m. for the preliminary heats. The finals are scheduled for 6 p.m. tomorrow night at the Aquatic Center.