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Swimming & Diving: Approaching the end of the season, ranked Northwestern teams excel

Both the male and female iterations of Wildcat swim/dive are in the polls, and individual members continue to impress.

Walt Middleton Photography

After a banner week, Northwestern swimming and diving is headed into their last home meet of the season with both teams ranked for the first time in years. The 21st-ranked men and 16th-ranked women are each undefeated in Big Ten play, with the former compiling a 5-4 (2-0 in conference) overall record, and the latter at 9-2 (3-0).

In addition, the Wildcats have amassed a series of impressive individual honors. Last week, Northwestern swept the Big Ten Freshman of the Week awards for the second week in a row.

Hannah Brunzell, a breaststroker who has already set two Northwestern pool records with times of 59.76 in the 100 breast and 2:08.61 in the 200 breast, earned her third consecutive such honor and sixth of the season with an impressive showing against Iowa. On the men’s side, butterfly specialist Frederico Burdisso was recognized as the best freshman in the conference for the second straight week while also being honored as the Big Ten Swimmer of the Week after taking home four golds over the past weekend, one in the midst of setting a school and pool record in the 200 fly.

Burdisso’s time of 1:44.14 puts him in the mix as a national contender in the event. On the women’s side, the most promising swimmer on the national scale is Australian junior Calypso Sheridan, who excels in the individual medley. Miriam Guevara, another butterfly specialist, is also riding some momentum, coming off of first place finishes in both the 100 and 200 fly against Iowa.

The Northwestern women have been ranked all season long, earning especially impressive road victories over Arizona and Arizona State and having their only two losses come at the hands of Louisville (by a tantalizing final score of 151-149) and Notre Dame. The men’s team is a more recent entrant on the national stage after snapping a four-meet losing streak against Iowa.

Each team is back in action this afternoon in their home finale, taking on Cincinnati. Last season, the Wildcats swept the Bearcats convincingly.

After that, the teams head to Madison to take on Wisconsin on Saturday. From there, only two more road Big Ten meets await before the month-long hiatus headed into the conference championship. Given their recent results, both teams are in very good shape as they head towards their ultimate destination.