2010 Women's Swimming and Diving Season In Review

April 7, 2010

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The Big Ten Conference was well represented at the 2010 NCAA Championships, hosted by Purdue University at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center in West Lafayette, Ind. The Hoosiers led all Big Ten teams competing at the national event, tallying 133 team points to earn 10th place and collect their third-straight top 10 finish at the NCAA meet. Minnesota amassed 102 tallies to place 12th, followed by Wisconsin (88) and Michigan (76) in 14th and 15th place, respectively. The Boilermakers scored the highest national finish in program history by placing 16th with 57 points.

The team crown came down to the wire as Florida captured the national title with 382 points on the strength of a bronze-medal effort in the final event of the three-day meet.

Indiana senior Kate Fesenko highlighted the final day of competition with a winning performance in the 200 backstroke. The Kharkov, Ukraine native ran away from the field and shattered her school and Big Ten record with a time of 1:49.92, becoming the first Big Ten swimmer to break the 1:50 barrier and the first Hoosier swimmer to win a national title. After trailing slightly behind the lead after the first 50 yards, Fesenko took the lead for good at the 100-yard mark with a split of 53.90. The win denied Florida's Gemma Spofforth her fourth-consecutive 200 back title.

Minnesota sophomore Kelci Bryant became only the second NCAA champion in Gopher women’s swimming and diving history after capturing the three-meter crown. Bryant, a product of Chatham, Ill., smashed her own school record compiling 415.50 points to eclipse the 400-point mark for the first time in her career and shatter her previous record of 394.45. After earning national runner-up honors in the lower springboard competition, Bryant headed into the three-meter final in fourth place after the preliminary round. The individual title positions Bryant in elite company in Golden Gopher history as she joins Gretchen Hegener, who captured gold in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1997.

Prior to the national meet, Indiana captured its second straight conference crown at the Big Ten Champoinships.The Hoosiers amassed 758 points over the four-day event to outdistance Minnesota, which finished second with 572.5 points. Michigan was third with 462.5 while championships host Purdue tallied 460 points for fourth place. Ohio State compiled 399.5 points to round out the top five in the final team standings.

Indiana newcomer Taylor Wohrley was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, and Fesenko, earned the nod as Swimmer of the Championships and Big Ten Swimmer of the Year. For her efforts, Bryant also received Big Ten Diver of the Year and Diver of the Championships laurels after sweeping the springboard events at the conference meet. Purdue head general John Klinge was voted Big Ten Swimming Coach of the Year by his peers after guiding the Boilermakers to their highest score in program history at the conference championships. The Boilers set 17 school records while also recording 94 season-best marks over the four-day event. Gopher mentor Wenbo Chen received  Diving Coach of the Year recognition from her peers.