The Minnesota Golden Gophers won home meet against the Iowa Hawkeyes Friday night, getting double distance free wins from Kiera Janzen and CJ Smith.
The win keeps the Gopher women undefeated. They lost only four races over the course of the evening to coast past the Hawkeyes.
The men had a tougher fight, splitting event wins 8 to 8 with Iowa. Smith’s distance wins plus a double from diver Manny Pollard helped propel the home team to the win.
Things started inauspiciously for the Minnesota women, with a DQ in the very first event. The Golden Gophers’ “A” medley relay was disqualified, giving the win to Iowa in 1:43.13. That Hawkeye relay was led by a nice 27.95 breaststroke split from Emma Sougstad.
But the Golden Gophers stormed back with a dominant run that lasted for the rest of the meet. Dropping just three more events, Minnesota pulled off multiple 1-2 finishes to knock off the Hawkeyes.
Senior Kiera Janzen was once again a huge factor, sweeping the 500 and 1000 frees. She put up times of 9:46.84 and 4:50.04 to easily win both. That 500 was a 1-2 finish with teammate Sam Harding.
Junior Lauren Votava also won twice, handling the distances one step down from Janzen. Votava led 1-2 finishes in both of her events, winning the 200 in 1:49.13 and the 100 in 50.42. Teammates were close behind her in both – Jessica Plant was 1:49.46 in the 200 and Becca Weiland 50.47 in the 100 for Minnesota.
Minnesota’s other double winner was freshman Brooke Zeiger, who has been a revelation so far in her rookie year. The Bluefish product saved her wins for the end of the meet, taking the 200 back in 2:00.37 and then returning for the final individual event, the 200 IM. She won that race in 2:03.21, continuing a freshman season in which she’s won multiple races in each of the Gophers’ meets.
Weiland also won the 50 free for Minnesota, putting up an impressive 22.94. She took the night off from her signature 100 fly, letting star freshman Danielle Nack take her place atop the event in 54.61. Alli Schumacher was second in another 1-2 punch for the Gophers.
Iowa put together back-to-back wins in the first non-free events of the night. First Rowan Hauber took home the 100 back, beating Gopher senior Tori Simenec 54.61 to 55.43. Then Emma Sougstad crushed the 100 breast field in 1:01.28, three and a half seconds ahead of the next swimmer. She would also go on to win the 200 breast later in the meet with a 2:15.66.
But the Gophers were too tough in the rest of the event slate. Devin Ste. Marie and Maddie Hoch wen 1-2 in the 200 fly (Ste Marie was 2:01.45) and Yu Zhou and Lexi Tenenbaum combined to sweep diving. The final blow was Minnesota’s 1-2 finish in the 400 free relay, getting solid splits from Votava (50.60 leadoff) and Weiland (50.14).
That sealed a 195-105 win for the Gophers, in search of their 4th-straight Big Ten title.
The Hawkeye and Gopher men split the meet with 8 event wins each, but the Gophers used their superior depth to pull off a 163-137 win.
Distance man CJ Smith was the kingpin, winning a pair of lengthy races by wide margins. Smith won the 1000 free in 9:10.32, then led a 1-2 finish in the 500 free with a 4:29.61.
The Gophers also got big production on the diving boards, where Manny Pollard was dominant. Pollard won on 1-meter (360.45) and 3-meter (388.73) for the Gophers to put a big dent in Iowa’s overall hopes.
Iowa got double wins from Roman Trussov and Jerzy Twarowski. Trussov swept the breaststrokes, going 55.56 in the 100 and 2:00.81 in the 200. Twarowski, meanwhile, took both butterfly events. He was 48.65 in the 100 and 1:47.55 in the 200.
One of the closest races of the night was the 200 free early in the meet. Minnesota sophomore Paul Fair just touched out Iowa’s Thomas Rathbun 1:40.13 to 1:40.28. That helped ultimately tip the scale in Minnesota’s favor, a 10-point swing in a 25-point meet.
The teams split the relays. Iowa picked up the 200 medley in the early goings, putting up a 1:29.46 to win by eigth tenths. That relay set up a showdown between Iowa’s star backstroker Grant Betulius against Minnesota’s top sprinter Daryl Turner in the leadoff leg. Betulius went 22.28 to just top the 22.47 from Turner. That, combined with Trussov’s 24.81 breaststroke leg was enough to beat out Minnesota’s team.
Then in the 400 free relay, the Gophers struck back, slipping under three minutes with a 2:59.93. That was courtesy of front-half duo Daryl Turner (44.54 leadoff) and Paul Fair (44.60).
Other winners for Minnesota were Turner in the 50 (20.48) and Jakub Maly in the 200 IM (1:50.14). Iowa also got wins from Jack Allen (100 free, 45.50) and Chris Freeman (200 back, 1:47.38).