CJ Smith Topples Wilimovsky and Kierra Smith Wins Twice as Gophers Lead Purdue and NU After Day One of B1G Triple Dual



#19 Minnesota bookended the first session of the meet with solid relay wins, first in the 200 medley (1:41.65) and then in the 800 free (7:16.07). They were well ahead of the field in the 800 free relay, thanks to 1:48s from Lauren VotavaJessica Plant, and Tori Simenec, the first three legs of the relay. Gopher Kierra Smith, who recently revealed her plans for an Olympic redshirt as Rio nears, was the only double winner on the day, taking the 100 breaststroke (1:02.49) as well as the 200 IM (2:03.02), both by margins of over a second.

Plant, who was on the winning 800 relay, swam the 200 free individually, and took the event with a time of 1:47.41, almost a full second faster than what she went with a flying start in that relay. Finishing 2nd was her teammate Madeline Hoch (1:48.97), and 3rd was Purdue’s Abby Jagdfeld (1:49.42). The Gophers’ sixth win of the session came in the 50 free, as Becca Weiland (22.90) edged Northwestern freshman Mary Warren (23.26) and Anji Li of Purdue (23.36).

The Boilermakers of Purdue, ranked #16, put together two* wins of their own. Rhiannon Sheets touched first in the 200 fly (2:00.27) over Gopher freshman Danielle Nack (2:00.67). Their other win came in the 1000 free, where Alexa Davis and Kaersten Meitz TIED with a time of 9:51.32. Ties are not uncommon in the sprint events, even less so in mid distance events, but it’s pretty unlikely for two swimmers to finish 40 lengths of the pool in the SAME TIME. So that’s why there’s that asterisk. We’re going to give both Davis and Meitz the recognition, while the points might be split.

The lone Wildcat win came in the 100 back, as Lacey Locke powered her way to a 55.45 to top Minnesota’s Simenec (55.76). Northwestern hasn’t been much of a force in the Big Ten in recent years, but they have a great group of underclassmen who are rapidly improving. The Wildcat women are coming off of a big win at then-#21 Iowa where they didn’t even have any diving points as their divers suffered from various illnesses/injuries (according to NUsports.com). They are on upset alert in the 200 free relay tomorrow.


Minnesota 138 – 45 Northwestern

Minnesota 121 – 65 Purdue

Purdue 124 – 59 Northwestern


The #23 Gophers did not start well, DQ’ing their 200 medley relay to kick off the two day meet. It was Northwestern who came through with the victory (1:30.25), just ahead of Purdue (1:30.52). Despite this, CJ Smith got Minnesota right back into it with a statement win in the 1000 free over NU’s Jordan Wilimovsky, who finished 4th at last years NCAAs in the mile. Smith had an insane back half, going 4:36 the first 500 and coming back in a FOUR TWENTY EIGHT. That’s 4:28. He won in 9:04.90 over Wilimovsky’s 9:09.62.

The Gopher men put together two more individual wins, in the 100 back and the 200 fly. Sophomore Daryl Turner was untouchable in the 100 back (47.99), the only swimmer under 49 seconds. Andrew Hartbarger was the only swimmer to break 1:50 in the 200 fly (1:49.93), and he led a 1-2-3 Minnesota sweep. Brandon Hatanaka (1:50.78) and Nick Orf (1:51.38) followed up in 2nd and 3rd.

The Boilermakers had some great swims of their own. Guillermo Blanco was a double winner, taking the 200 free (1:38.37) over three Gophers who would later team up to win the 800 free relay, as well as the 200 IM (1:49.40). He held off Jakub Maly, who charged back on Blanco on the breast leg but couldn’t quite eclipse the Boilermaker. Maly settled for 2nd, with a time of 1:49.96. Lyam Dias later edged out Gopher freshman Conner McHugh, 55.28 to 55.38, in the 100 breast for another Boilers’ win.

The Northwestern men only took one individual event, and it was a close one. Almog Olshtein won the 50 free with a time of 20.37, stealing what would’ve been Minnesota’s Turner’s 2nd win. Turner, at 20.38, was only one hundredth behind Olshtein.

While the Gophers did win the final 800 relay, Blanco nearly ran down Gopher anchor Logan Redondo. Redondo was only 1:40.55, while Blanco mustered a 1:37.17, the fastest split of anyone in the field. Minnesota did hold on, though, and finished in 6:40.38 to edge Purdue (6:41.05).


Minnesota 130 – 56 Northwestern

Minnesota 98.5 – 87.5 Purdue

Purdue 114 – 72 Northwestern

The second session of this meet begins tomorrow at noon CT.

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About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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