The Gophers swimming and diving teams met expectations at their first meet of the season.
The defending Big Ten champion women placed first in every event in their 196-99 win. The men were only successful in the two diving events, losing 170-124 to defending Big Ten champion Michigan.
Before the meet, head men’s and women’s swimming and diving coach Kelly Kremer said he was unsure of how the team’s stamina would hold up at an early meet. But he said after the meet that the women proved they were ready.
“Our energy levels were great all the way throughout the meet,” Kremer said. “We really had some great swims regardless of where people placed.”
Junior Tess Behrens won the 100-yard and 200-yard backstroke as well as the 200 medley relay.
“I’m happy with my swims,” Behrens said. “But at the same time, there’s definitely a lot of things I think I can improve on this season.”
Behrens said she wants to work on technique and race strategy, including starting her 200 backstroke faster.
Sophomore Kiera Janzen won the 500 and 1000 freestyles with times of 4:53.37 and 9:56.96, respectively.
Janzen is looking to lead the distance freestyle swimmers after Big Ten- and NCAA-champion Ashley Steenvoorden graduated last year. Janzen still trains with Steenvoorden, her mentor.
“I know that [Steenvoorden] had talked to me specifically about working to step up as a leader,” Janzen said. “And that’s definitely something that I want to do and I’m working to do.”
Junior Sarah McCrady, senior Katie Grunawalt and junior Maggie Keefer swept both diving events in the same order. Head diving coach Wenbo Chen said McCrady’s hard training over the summer showed and helped her win both the 1-meter and 3-meter dive.
The women’s next dual meet is Friday at the University Aquatic Center against Iowa State.
While the women’s team dominated, the men struggled to keep pace with the Wolverines.
“It was pretty apparent about halfway through the meet that it was going to be hard to beat Michigan,” Kremer said. “We’re pleased with the start, but we realize how far we have to go to get in the discussion of competing for a Big Ten title with a team like Michigan.”
The Gophers failed to win any swimming events — though there were several top-three finishes.
Junior Kyler Van Swol placed second in the 100 and 200 butterfly as well as the 200 individual medley. He was also a part of the third-place 200 medley relay.
Junior Derek Toomey also competed in the 200 medley relay. He finished second in both the 100 freestyle and 400 freestyle relay and placed third in the 50 freestyle.
But while the swimmers fell short, the divers picked up the slack.
Sophomore transfer Jordan Lesser placed first in the 1-meter with 333.6 points. He finished third in the 3-meter while his teammate, senior Mikey Ross, won with 368.86 points. Freshman Manny Pollard took second on both events.
“I didn’t have many great dives,” Lesser said. “But I was consistent, and that’s really all I needed, I think.”
Lesser said he was confident against the Michigan divers and competed more against his own teammates. He said he was glad to beat Ross in the 1-meter.
Lesser said he was glad the divers had an impact against Michigan.
“It feels good knowing that the diving team contributes just as much as the swim team,” Lesser said.
Kremer credited the divers for winning their events and said he’d like the swimmers to follow suit.
“To finish second or third or fourth and not have the ability to win any given event is something that clearly we want to get better at,” Kremer said. “The way you win dual meets is winning events.”
The men’s team will also swim Friday at home, but it will compete in an intrasquad meet.