Minnesota 210 – Wisconsin 143
Minnesota 268 – Purdue 85
Minnesota 291 – Illinois 62
Wisconsin 200 – Purdue 153
Wisconsin 210 – Illinois 143
Purdue 268 – Illinois 85
Minnesota 209 – Purdue 144
Minnesota 196 – Wisconsin 157
Wisconsin 184 – Purdue 169
In the Wisconsin leg of the Big Ten duals, featuring the Minnesota, Wisconsin, Purdue, and Illinois women, plus the Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Purdue women, we learned two things: Wisconsin is on fire and ready for Big Tens, and despite that, the Minnesota women still look like the favorites to win the conference title again.
In this two-day, quadruple dual meet, featured a nearly-full NCAA list of events, with the notable absence being no 400 medley relay.
The real star for the Badgers was sophomore sprinter Ivy Martin, who is looking more-and-more like a bona fied star. First, she took a dead-heated 200 medley relay and broke it wide open with a 21.82 final leg on Friday. Next, she and sister Ruby Martin went 1-2 in the 50 free in 22.32 and 23.02, respectively. Minnesota’s returning freestyle crew is really good, but the Martin Sisters have a chance to break their stranglehold on those free relays at Big Tens.
That swim for Ivy Martin was a new UW Natatorium Record.
She got her second such record in the 100 free on Saturday with a 49.75, though there she was pushed the whole way by Minnesota freshman Lauren Votava, who was 2nd in 49.85. Votava has developed quite a finishing kick to her freestyle races: she split 24.40-25.45 in the 100 free, and leading off the 800 free relay split 53.2-54.9 en route to a 1:48.13.
Minnesota’s 800 free relay was really fast in 7:18.09, backed up by a 1-4 finish in the individual 200 free. What’s more, that 800 free relay was swum without sophomore Tori Simenec, who won the individual race in 1:48.49.
Minnesota also swept the breaststroke events, now that Purdue’s Emily Fogle is injured and out for the year. Haley Spencer, who is finally starting to look healthy, won the 100 breaststroke in 1:02.26. In the 200 breaststroke, she and freshman teammate Kierra Smith went head-to-head in both swimmers’ best event. There, Smith came out on top 2:14.49-2:16.37.
Smith didn’t swim the 100, and instead added a win in the 400 IM to her tally in 4:22.51. When Big Tens roll around, however, the 100 breaststroke will be back on her schedule in stead of this 400 IM, plus the 200 IM. The 400 isn’t totally off her schedule though; Smith will swim that race at Worlds Trials.
Among the highlights for the Purdue women were Rhi Sheets, their sophomore who crushed the freshman record books last season. She won the 200 fly in 2:00.76, just out-touching Minnesota’s Devin Ste. Marie in 2:00.86.
In SwimSwam tradition, we’re taking Tuesday to catch up on some of the top collegiate action from the previous weekend.
Sheets didn’t swim the shorter 100 fly, and that swim was won by Minnesota’s Becca Weiland in 53.77 – her best time of the season. She was clearly the star performer for the Gopher women at this meet. Her teammate Simenec was 2nd in 54.63, and Wisconsin’s Rebecka Palm was 3rd in 54.78.
Meanwhile, as exciting as Ivy Martin’s sprinting was, something more unknown might have been as exciting from older sister Ruby: her backstrokes. She won the 100 in 54.49, which is her best time of the year. Based on the totality of her meet, she was far from a full-taper; if she can get to a 53-low, it will be unbelievably valuable for the Wisconsin medleys. Her teammate Hannah Ross also handled the 200 backstroke by a mile in 1:57.65.
Though Indiana, the other major contender, wasn’t at this meet, I think Minnesota showed the kind of depth just a week out from the start of their taper that makes them the favorites in the Big Ten Conference.
Whitney Hite’s Wisconsin men performed just as well as the women, with their best swimmer Mike Weiss setting the tone early. He had an awesome battle in the meet-opening 1000 free with Minnesota’s great distance swimmer CJ Smith.
Weiss led for most of the first 400 yards, until Smith fought back and led the next 400. The two fought back-and-forth for the last few lengths, but ultimately Weiss got the victory by a mere 10th, 9:05.21-9:05.31. Hite would describe it as a “gutsy swim” by his athlete, but that adjective could be aptly used to describe both swimmers: in the last 25, Smith very-nearly overcame a yard deficit.
That win in the 1000 broke the Wisconsin School Record by 6 seconds – a record that stood for 18 years.
Weiss also won the 200 IM in 1:49.81 and the 400 IM in 3:55.83, but in his final event, the 500 free, Smith got his revenge. Even though history indicates that the shorter the race, the bigger the advantage would be to Weiss (in a big way), it was Minnesota’s Smith that won the middle-distance race. Not only did he win, but he won handily 4:26.34-4:29.35. Weiss kept the race close, but at about the halfway mark fell well off. The strain of Weiss’ much tougher event schedule seemed to have caught up to him by this 500, which was swum toward the end of the meet.
The Minnesota men built their lead with depth, especially on the meet’s first day; that’s a lead they would need, as Smith’s 500 free was their only day two victory. The Gophers’ Sean Nesheim beat Daniel Lester of Wisconsin in the 200 free by margin of 1:39.03-1:40.29. They then went 1-2 in the 100 breaststroke with Jared Anderson winning in 55.05 and Josh Hall placing 2nd in 55.39.
Lester won the 200 fly in 1:47.94, relatively handily now that Minnesota is without the services of Kyler Van Swol for the semester. Sophomore Brandon Hatanaka did well in his teammate’s absence, though; his 1:49.32 was right on top of his season best.
Minnesota also got a day 1 win from Derek Toomey in the 50 free; he’s the remaining holdover from the glory days of Minnesota sprinting, though they have a good class of sprinters coming in next season. He touched in 20.30, followed by a trio of Purdue Boilermakers. Danny Tucker headed that group in 20.34. Tucker also won the 100 free on day 2 in 44.62, with Toomey this time 2nd in 45.15.
That depth gave Purdue an easy victory in the 200 free relay, with a 1:20.36. Minnesota was 2nd in 1:22.17.
The other standout at this meet for the home team was sophomore Drew Teduits, who will become the star of this team next year after Lester and Weiss graduate. He won the 100 back in 49.00 and won the 200 back in 1:44.88 – a four second margin of victory and another new Pool Record.