After one day 0f the two-day dual between Minnesota and NC State in Minneapolis, the Gopher women lead by 17 while the men trail by a point to an NC State squad putting up multiple season-bests.
The story so far has been NC State’s dominance in the sprint races contrasted with Minnesota’s big-point finishes in the longer distances.
NC State would have swept all four relays between the men and the women had the Wolfpack not disqualified its “A” women’s 200 free relay on the first event of the night. That allowed the Lady Gophers to jump out to an early lead, a margin enhance by Sarah McCrady’s 1-meter diving win in a 1-2-3 sweep.
Then Sam Harding and Breanne Siwicki both went 10:07s in the 1000 free with Hailey Szews joining them for a second consecutive top-3 Gopher sweep. National teamer Kiera Janzen went 1:49.49 to win the 200 free followed by teammate Maddie Hoch before NC State finally got on the board with a win in the 100 back. In that race, Alexia Zevnik and Zina Grogg each went 54 to top Minnesota’s Tess Behrens.
The Wolfpack also won the 100 breaststroke, with Kayla Brumbaum running away from Minnesota’s top breaststroker Kierra Smith. Brumbaum was 1:02.78 to Smith’s 1:04.03.
The Gophers got a win from Devin Ste Marie in the 200 fly (2:01.21) although NC State went 2-3-4 to only give up a point in the event. Then Lauren Poli touched out Becca Weiland for another Wolfpack win in the 50 free, 22.78 to 22.87.
Defending Big Ten champ Tori Siminec won the 200 IM, blowing away NC State’s challengers in the front half and hanging on for the win in 2:02.76. NC State took home the 400 medley relay in 3:41.16 to pull back to within 17 at the day’s end. The Wolfpack relay built a huge lead on backstroke and breaststroke that Minnesota was unable to come back from.
The NC State men went 1:19.10 to top Minnesota in the men’s 200 free relay, getting a huge 19.5 split from anchor David Williams as well as a 19.6 from Jonathan Boffa. Minnesota would strike back, though, with a 1-2-3 in 1-meter diving led by Manny Pollard’s 378.98 and continued by new Australian addition Matt Barnard, making his Gophers debut.
CJ Smith was a fast 9:11.04 to win the 1000 free, and usual IMer Brandon Hatanaka chipped in a second-place 9:20.20 for Minnesota.
The 200 free was a great race that got the crowd roaring early – NC State’s Jonathan Boffa took off to an early lead, but Minnesota’s Ben Bravence started making some headway through the middle 100, taking the lead with 50 to go. But Boffa, NC State’s stud Italian, closed hard to win in 1:37.71 to Bravence’s 1:37.78.
Minnesota’s freshman phenom Daryl Turner tore up the 100 back once again, going a near-season-best 47.69 to top NC State’s Andreas Schiellerup and his 48.00.
But breaststroker Ian Bishop had a great day for the Wolfpack, and he won the 100 breast convincingly in 54.28 and closing extremely well.
Speaking of good days, perhaps none was better than Minnesota’s Kyler Van Swol‘s. The senior blazed to a 1:44.85 win in the 200 fly – that’s a season-best and a top-20 time in the NCAA this season. Freshman Nick Orf added to the 1-2 finish for the host Golden Gophers.
In a spark plug of an event for NC State, Simonas Bilis touched out Minnesota All-American Derek Toomey in the 50 free 19.97 to 20.00. That’s a season-best for Bilis and his first time under 20 outside of ACCs and NCAAs last year.
The Golden Gophers got a 200 IM win from Austrian import Jakub Maly. He went 1:49.81, crushing the field with a 30.4 breaststroke split to help put the home team on top heading into the final relay. But NC State won the 400 medley relay running away, getting big splits across the board – Andreas Schiellerup was 48.0 on backstroke, Ian Bishop 53.86 on breast, Barrett Miesfeld 46.95 on fly and Jonathan Boffa 43.1 anchoring.
That relay went 3:12.02, nearly what that same group was at the Nike Cup in November. Minnesota’s relay did get an outstanding 46.31 split from Kyler Van Swol, who really looks to be hitting his stride as of late after a disappointing junior season.
Current scores are Minnesota 100, NC State 83 for the women and NC State 93, Minnesota 92 for the men.
Day one results available here.