Minnesota Gophers Add to Sprint Freestyle Depth with Verbal Commitment from McKenna Lynch

The Minnesota Gophers, who are defending Big Ten Champions, received a verbal commitment from Central Iowa Aquatics’ McKenna Lynch today, thus adding to an already dominant sprint freestyle group. Lynch boasts best times of  24.3/52.2/1:51.4 in the 50-100-200 freestyles, and she also has a 56.7 100 butterfly to her name.

The Gophers won the 2013 Big Ten Championships convincingly last year with a 160 point margin over 2nd place Indiana, and much of this cushion can be attributed to their dominance in the sprint freestyle individual events as well as relays. The Gophers won both the 200 yard and 400 yard freestyle relays at last year’s championships, and they also had three or more A-final swims in every individual freestyle event. Furthermore, the Gophers did not graduate anyone from their sprint freestyle relays, and will look to try to claim the elusive 800 freestyle relay that went to Indiana’s contingent last year.

As for Lynch, though her times would not immediately factor into the Gophers’ relays, head coach Kelly Kremer can still be very excited by her recent progress. McKenna was a 1:51.7 at just 14 years old, a phenomenal time for that age, and has only recently bested that time at last year’s Minneapolis Grand Prix. The same goes for her 100 yard freestyle, where Lynch was a 52.4 at the age of 14, and only broke her personal best last winter. Her return to form is a promising sign of her potential in upcoming years, and though the Gophers are well stocked in their freestyle events and relays already, they are wise to begin investing in the future core of their team.

Lynch now joins butterflier/freestyler Danielle Nack, breaststroker Rae Bullinger, and open water star Brooke Lorentzen in their verbal commitments to the University of Minnesota. She will look to join teammates such as current juniors Becca Weiland and Blake Zeiger, and current sophomore Lauren Votava in the sprint group upon entering her first collegiate season.

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This is an example of how Iowa high school swimming participation can hurt an athlete. 1. The IGHSAU Championship meet is held in Marshalltown at a shallow pool what has less than stellar air quality and minimal cool down lanes (2 in fact). 2. The Championships are seeded based off a Regional system in pools that vary greatly (both in depth, lanes, air quality, and deck space). 3. The Championships are held in a timed finals format (3 heats for each event). No prelims! 4. IHASAA / IGHSAU rules prevent full time club coaches from coaching high school teams. The fact that many high school coaches (including the Pres. of the HS Swim Coaches group) do not see these issues… Read more »

About Varun Shivakumar

Varun Shivakumar hails from Hoffman Estates, IL and swam competitively for 16 years. He swam both backstroke events at Northwestern University, and ranks fifth in the school’s All-time performances list in the 200 yard backstroke. Representing NASA Wildcat Aquatics, he also competed in the 2012 Olympic Trials in Omaha, NE …

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