Blowing away their overall record in team points at the competition, Northwestern women’s swimming and diving finished fourth for the first time since 2002 at last week’s Big Ten Championships.
Calypso Sheridan amassed an astounding seven individual and relay school records over the course of the meet, earning a Big Ten Championship for the first time in her career in Friday’s 400-yard individual medley, in which she beat all competitors by 2.5 seconds, and repeated the feat in Saturday’s 200-yard breaststroke. The Australian junior’s two titles were the first by a Northwestern swimmer since Andrea Hupman in 2008.
Sheridan also managed four NCAA ‘A’ cut times, automatically qualifying herself to the NCAA Championships in both the 200 and 400-yard IM (the former of which she placed second in on Thursday), and helping the 200 and 400-yard medley relays, both of which placed third, to qualification as well.
Miriam Guevara also had an impressive weekend in the pool, joining Sheridan via the butterfly leg of both relays, and earning bronze and a school record in the 200-yard fly. Sophie Angus and Maddie Smith joined the dynamic duo on the 200-yard medley relay, while Malorie Han and promising freshman Hannah Brunzell filled the roles on the 400.
On Friday, Angus and Brunzell went 5-6 in the 100 breast, before Emma Lepisova, who later won silver with a school record in the 200 back, went 3-4 with senior Krystal Lara in the 100 back. To wrap things up, Sheridan, Han, Smith, and senior Nicole Aarts finished fourth in the 200 free relay, with Sheridan breaking the school 50 free record in the leadoff leg and the group breaking the school relay record.
To follow that up, Saturday saw not only the swimming prowess of Sheridan, Guevara, and Lepisova, but the complete emergence of a new star onto the diving scene. Freshman Markie Hopkins, who had been having an impressive season for the ‘Cats, came out of nowhere among a crowded Big Ten field to reclaim a conference championship from the platform, Northwestern’s second such individual title in three years (Olivia Rosendahl).
Hopkins, following in Rosendahl’s significant footsteps, racked up a remarkable 285.45 points in her commanding victory, despite finishing eighth in the prelims.
As a team, Northwestern scored 907.5 points on the week, blowing away their previous Championships-best of 628 (achieved all the way back in 1993). In only his second year as director of swimming and diving, Jeremy Kipp has clearly seen the program undergo huge strides, and the women’s team, after a 12-3 (3-0 B1G) regular season, has plenty left to conquer.
With NCAA Zone Diving Championships coming up March 12-14 in Lexington, Kentucky, and then the NCAA Swimming Championships in Athens, Georgia March 18-21, Calypso Sheridan and the Wildcats will have the chance to show just how far they’ve come.