Gophers settle for 10th in NCAA swimming, equaling last year's finish

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 23, 2014 - 8:33 AM

As the team totals flashed on the scoreboard, Gophers coach Kelly Kremer tried not to look — and asked his team to do the same. He wanted his athletes to focus strictly on the moment Saturday on the final day of the NCAA women’s swimming championships.

In the end, the Gophers finished in 10th place, missing out on their goal of cracking the top eight. Their 136.5 points left them in the same spot they occupied last year, one place shy of the program-best ninth they earned in 2011. While they were not satisfied, Kremer said, he admired their performance at University Aquatic Center — their home pool — and is excited about their future.

“I’m really proud of the team’s effort and really proud to be a top-10 team again,’’ Kremer said. “That’s a heck of an accomplishment for any team. I liked the fact that we had so many individual scorers, but our relays need to get a lit bit better. We’ll be back with the same goal [next year].’’

Reaney rules

One of the most anticipated matchups of the meet came in the finals of the 200 breaststroke. Olympian Breeja Larson of Texas A&M, who lowered her own American, U.S. open and NCAA records in the 100 breaststroke Friday, faced off against Emma Reaney of Notre Dame, who recently broke Larson’s U.S. record in the 200 breaststroke.

Reaney ran away with it and bettered the mark again. She won the race in 2:04.06, lopping .28 of a second off her American, NCAA and U.S. open records. “After the first 25 [yards], I was like, ‘OK, I’m feeling good,’ ’’ said Reaney, the first Notre Dame swimmer to win an NCAA individual title. “[The last 25] was a little painful.’’

Larson finished in a dead heat for second with Stanford’s Katie Olsen.

Etc.

• Rachel Bootsma of Eden Prairie finished 24th in the 200 butterfly. The Cal sophomore did not make the top 10 in any of her three individual events.

•  Saturday’s crowd for the finals was announced at 1,400, a sellout.

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