U women swimmers hoping for three-peat in Big Ten meet

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 19, 2014 - 12:12 AM

The Gophers, hosts of both the Big Ten and NCAA championship meets this year, want a conference crown three-peat.

hide

If the Gophers get their three-peat, it most likely will be thanks to, from the left, Kiera Janzen, Erin Caflisch, Tori Simenec, Becca Weiland and coach Kelly Kremer. The Gophers women’s swimming and diving team is hoping to repeat last year’s scene: celebrating a conference title in their own pool.

Photo: RENEE JONES SCHNEIDER • reneejones@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

When the Gophers won their second consecutive Big Ten title last year, the entire group — including coaches and mascot Goldy Gopher — celebrated by leaping into the pool.

Coach Kelly Kremer recently told his women’s swimming and diving team to picture that celebration for a minute — and then forget it for a while.

The Gophers have a chance for a three-peat this week, but Kremer doesn’t want them consumed with the outcome.

“There’s a chance we can experience a moment like that,” he said. “But if we don’t take care of the things we need to do to be at our best, then we’ll be in trouble.”

Indiana won three consecutive Big Ten titles from 2009 to 2011, and the Hoosiers loom as the biggest threat to unseat the Gophers. The four-day conference championships open Wednesday at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center, site of last February’s victory swim for Goldy and the Gophers.

The Gophers’ 2012 Big Ten title, in Iowa City, wasn’t decided until the 21st and final event. Last year the Gophers dominated at home, winning 10 events, including four of the five relays, to distance themselves from second-place Indiana by 160 points.

Having studied this year’s seed times, Kremer knows the No. 13 Gophers will be challenged, especially by No. 11 Indiana, No. 16 Ohio State, No. 18 Purdue, No. 19 Penn State, No. 20 Michigan and No. 25 Wisconsin.

“On paper, this is as close as it gets,” Kremer said.

Experience should help. The Gophers are loaded with veterans who helped capture the past two conference championships.

Maggie Keefer, a senior from Stillwater, is the reigning Big Ten Diver of the Year. She won the 1- and 3-meter competitions last year and placed second in 1-meter diving at the NCAA meet. This week Keefer admitted she was anxious.

“This is how I normally feel,” she said. “I don’t feel that great the week before I go into Big Ten’s. But once it gets going, I know I’m where I need to be.”

Keefer might have her own nerves, but her presence is enough to settle the rest of the team.

“It’s like a hockey coach having the best goalie,” Kremer said. “You have a lot more confidence when you have people like that who have been there and consistently do a great job.”

Last year’s Gophers squad had that in Haley Spencer, who graduated a three-time Big Ten champion in the 200-yard breaststroke. But Gophers sophomore Kierra Smith finished second in that event last year and enters with the conference’s top seed time (2:06.43).

Junior Becca Weiland won the 100 butterfly last year with a school, meet and Big Ten record time of 51.61 seconds. She and senior freestyler Erin Caflisch are back after winning four Big Ten relay titles last year. So is senior Tess Behrens, who won Big Ten titles in the 100 and 200 backstrokes two years ago before finishing behind Indiana’s Brooklyn Snodgrass in those events last year.

Snodgrass was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, and Indiana’s Lindsay Vrooman was named Big Ten Swimmer of the Year. Now a senior, Vrooman is seeded first in the 500 and 1,650 freestyle, with Gophers junior Kiera Janzen seeded second, waiting to pounce.

“The 500 has grown to be a really competitive event in our conference and across the nation,” Janzen said. “I’m just really looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be an awesome race.”

  • Big Ten Women’s Swimming and Diving Meet

    Where: U of M Aquatic Center

    When: Wednesday-Saturday

    All-session tickets: $40 for adults; $25 for students/seniors.

    Schedule highlights

    Each day: Finals at 6:30 each night, prelims at 11 a.m. all days except Wednesday.

    Wednesday: Minnesota is the top seed in the 800 freestyle relay.

    Thursday: The U’s Maggie Keefer looks to defend her 1-meter diving crown.

    Friday: Minnesota’s Becca Weiland is the defending champion in the 100 butterfly.

    Saturday: Indiana has the fastest seed time in the final event, the 400 freestyle relay.

    Coverage

    Online: Full schedule, live results and a free webcast (except Saturday night): www.gophersports.com

    TV: Tape-delay broadcast of the championships at 9:30 a.m. Sunday on Big Ten Network.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Baltimore 2 FINAL
Detroit 15
NY Yankees 5 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Northeastern 1 FINAL
Boston 2
Miami-Fla 1 FINAL
Miami 7
Pittsburgh 8 FINAL
Toronto 7
San Francisco 4 FINAL
Oakland 9
Cleveland 0 FINAL
Cincinnati 10
Boston College 0 FINAL
Boston 1
Arizona State 0 FINAL
Arizona 4
Boston 79 FINAL
Cleveland 110
LA Lakers 103 FINAL
Charlotte 104
Sacramento 124 FINAL
New York 86
Houston 96 FINAL
Atlanta 104
Utah 93 FINAL
Memphis 82
Washington 92 FINAL
Chicago 97
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
Denver 106
Nashville 1 FINAL
New Jersey 3
Calgary 3 FINAL(OT)
Philadelphia 2
Washington 5 FINAL
Columbus 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Toronto 3 FINAL
Florida 2
Ottawa 2 FINAL(SO)
Minnesota 3
NY Islanders 2 FINAL(OT)
Dallas 3
Anaheim 4 FINAL
Arizona 1
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
Edmonton 2
San Jose 6 FINAL
Vancouver 2
Ole Miss 82 FINAL
Alabama 74
Eastern Mich 67 FINAL
Ball State 60
Kent State 81 FINAL
Bowling Green 80
Ohio 66 FINAL
Buffalo 93
Georgetown 60 FINAL
Butler 54
Toledo 77 FINAL
Central Mich 85
Rhode Island 59 FINAL
Dayton 75
Youngstown St 67 FINAL
Detroit 77
North Carolina 81 FINAL
Georgia Tech 49
Loyola-Maryland 45 FINAL
Holy Cross 62
Iowa 77 FINAL
Indiana 63
Akron 63 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 70
Army 52 FINAL
Navy 56
Maryland 60 FINAL
Rutgers 50
Kennesaw St 54 FINAL
USC Upstate 90
Jacksonville 63 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 81
Lipscomb 76 FINAL
Northern Ky 73
Stetson 67 FINAL
North Florida 81
Wright State 57 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 60
Western Mich 63 FINAL
Northern Ill 65
Nebraska Omaha 80 FINAL
North Dakota 78
Houston Baptist 71 FINAL
Abilene Christian 83
NC State 66 FINAL
Clemson 61
Texas A&M 62 FINAL
Florida 66
Kentucky 72 FINAL
Georgia 64
West Virginia 69 FINAL
Kansas 76
Auburn 61 FINAL
Missouri 63
Michigan 78 FINAL
Northwestern 82
Villanova 76 FINAL
Creighton 72
Longwood 55 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 63
Charleston Southern 39 FINAL
Presbyterian 47
Coastal Carolina 54 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 68
NJIT 51 FINAL
UMass Lowell 60
West Virginia 55 FINAL
Kansas State 59
TCU 45 FINAL
Texas 79
Fresno State 61 FINAL
Air Force 41
San Jose St 76 FINAL
Boise State 91
Nevada 61 FINAL
Colorado State 68
UNLV 61 FINAL
San Diego State 76
Wyoming 61 FINAL
Utah State 57
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is the best center on a Twin Cities sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close