Big Ten Meet of the Week: Wisconsin-Minnesota Prove Rivalry

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Photo Courtesy: Jordan Johnson/Minnesota Athletics

By Dan D’Addona.

There are few rivalries that can compare to Wisconsin-Minnesota. The colleges play in the upper Midwest with colder temperatures, more snow and more in common than most NCAA Division I rivalries.

But their rivalry in the pool is still one of the overlooked gems of the Big Ten.

Known as the Border Battle, the rivalry lived up to expectations on Thursday as the men’s and women’s teams split dual meets.

Wisconsin’s women narrowly beat Minnesota 158-142, while the Minnesota men defeated the Badgers 185-115.

A week after being dominated by Auburn in the freestyle events, Wisconsin’s women took charge in the freestyle events and won four of the five relays against Minnesota.

Sophomore Cierra Runge and senior Chase Kinney led the Badgers with two individual wins apiece.

Runge, who transferred from Cal, earned her first win as a Badger in the 200-yard freestyle, clocking in at 1:49.07 while sophomore Emmy Sehmann (1:50.00) and junior Abby Jagdfeld (1:50.38) finished second and third, respectively to go 1-2-3. That depth was a huge push for the Badgers.

Runge picked up her second individual win in the 500-yard freestyle, posting a time of 4:47.81, which ranks third in the nation so far this season. Her move to the Big Ten changes the dynamics of the distance freestyle events.

Kinney swept the sprints with wins in the 50 freestyle (22.62) and the 100 freestyle, where her time of 49.58 ranks fourth nationally and second in the Big Ten.

The 50 and 100 free were both highlighted by 1-2-3 finishes, as Sehmann finished second (23.23) and Marissa Berg third (23.44) in the 50 free while Jagdfeld and Berg completed the sweep in the 100 free with times of 51.45 and 51.59, respectively.

The team of Jess Unicomb, Berg, freshman Beata Nelson and Kinney opened the meet by winning the 200 medley relay in 1:40.42.

In the final event of the night, the Badgers turned in their most impressive finish in the final event, the 400 freestyle relay, going 1-2 with the ‘A’ team of Kinney, Runge, Sehmann, and Berg dominating the competition in 3:19.98, while the ‘B’ team of Nelson, Jagdfeld, senior Dana Grindall, and Maddi Tew came in second in 3:24.23.

Nelson won the 100-yard backstroke in 54.11, while Unicomb won the 200 backstroke (1:58.79).

Minnesota got big points in the breaststroke and diving events. Lindsey Horejsi finished in 1:01.54 in the 100 breaststroke to win her first collegiate race and Kierra Smith won the 200 breaststroke in 2:12.18, swimming it in a collegiate meet for the first time since capturing the 2015 NCAA title.

Meanwhile, 2015 Big Ten Diver of the Year Yu Zhou (316.65) captured the 1-meter win. Freshman Sarah Bacon (309.45) and fellow senior Lexi Tenenbaum (303.45) were second and third.

Tenenbaum won the 3-meter competition at 352.28. Zhou (340.88), Bacon (316.95) and Mariam Khamis (297.30) followed her in order.

With a time of 9:53.84, Brooke Zeiger beat Runge for first place in the 1,000-yard freestyle, one of two wins on the evening, which was huge for the Gophers and for the rest of the Big Ten.

The Gophers picked up some big points in diving in the men’s meet, too. Returning Big Ten champion Matt Barnard won 3-meter with a score of 393.68. Runner-up Alan LeBlang scored 369.00, and Jeremy Moser 305.63 in his first event.

Freshman Lucas Cooperman (358.75) won 1-meter. Barnard (348.75) and LeBlang (314.93) joined him in the top three spots.

Minnesota’s divers are going to be huge all season and could play a pivotal role at the Big Ten Championships.

Wisconsin’s men were led by Matt Hutchins, who swept both the 500 and 1,000 freestyle events, posting times of 4:28.16 and 9:16.28 that both rank in the top five nationally.

Senior Brett Pinfold also picked up two wins, winning the 200 free (1:38.42) and the 200 individual medley (1:49.29).



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