Gopher swimmers focus on upcoming tournaments

There are approximately 100 African American and other student-athletes of color this school year at the University of Minnesota. In an occasional series throughout the 2016-17 school and sports year, the MSR will highlight many of these players

 

This week: swimmers Rachel Munson and Daryl Turner

The swim season is shorter than other wintertime sports. But for Minnesota swimmers Rachel Munson and Daryl Turner, the only Blacks on their respective Gopher swim teams, it’s now tournament time. Both swimmers shared their excitement in separate MSR poolside interviews at the school’s Aquatic Center.

Rachel Munson (Charles Hallman/MSR News)

“I just want to be able to do what I can to help my team, to score as many points that I can,” said Munson prior to last weekend’s Big Ten Championships at Purdue. The sophomore competed in the 200-yard breaststroke finals, finished ninth, and scored 20 points. Earlier this month she posted her season best in a 100-yard breaststroke win at the Feb. 4 Minnesota Challenge.

Turner’s team competes in this week’s Big Ten title meet at Ohio State. The senior says that because his events don’t begin until later this week, “It will be a tough two days for me.” As a member of the 200-yard medley relay, Turner finished first at the Minnesota Challenge earlier this month.

“When you look at elite student-athletes, and people are representing what you want as a coach,” both Munson and Turner “represent what’s best of our team,” noted Gopher Coach Kelly Kramer. He told the MSR that Munson, once she gains more confidence, will be among the best in the 200. “She’s capable but just needs time to develop it. She’s on the right path,” said Kramer.

On Turner, the coach said, “I think his growth as a man has been so great. He had a beautiful swimming career.”

“I feel like yesterday I was a freshman,” said Turner. “Now I’m two to three months out from graduating and trying to figure out what my next steps are. It’s weird and humbling.”

Munson admits that she might have been a victim of the dreaded sophomore slump — she was the Gophers’ most improved swimmer last season. “The year has been challenging. School has been eventful,” she pointed out, adding that team camaraderie has helped her overcome any struggles she faced this season.

“It’s been a good ride, and I think I’m ready to find out for me what the next steps are, whatever the next big thing is for me,” said Turner. “Right now I’m focusing on the Big Ten and the NCAAs.”

Daryl Turner (Charles Hallman/MSR News)

From Augsburg to Augustana

Jennifer Jacobs’ last day as Augsburg College assistant athletic director and assistant volleyball coach is Friday after five seasons. Her new job begins March 1 as the new head volleyball coach at Augustana (S.D.) University.

The Augustana AD, who she first met a couple of years on the same flight home from the NCAA convention, “reached out to me about three weeks ago,” explained Jacobs in a phone interview last Friday. “We had a conversation. I wasn’t looking to leave Augsburg at all.”

But after being advised by friends and mentors, and after “an awesome interview” with Augustana officials, “I drove away thinking, ‘I want that job,’” recalled Jacobs. “This is that one chance, and I better take it.”

Globe-tracking the Lynx

In recent action, Sylvia Fowles (China) has averaged 24 points for Beijing in two WCBA semifinals victories. Renee Montgomery (Poland) had 12 points and five steals in a win. Pienette Pierson (South Korea) in two wins had 23 and 16 points respectively.

 

Read the latest account of “The Only One” on MSR News Online

Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to challman@spokesman-recorder.com.

 

About Charles Hallman

Charles Hallman is a contributing writer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. He can be reached at challman@spokesman-recorder.com

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