Northwestern swimming and diving had a strong finish to its season in Madison. The women beat Illinois 251-49 and Wisconsin 200.5-99.5, while the men dropped a close loss to Wisconsin 156.5-143.5. The No. 22 ranked women closed the regular season with a record of 4-2, while the men fell to 2-3. What’s more impressive is that the women swam without Big Ten 200-yard breaststroke and 400-yard individual medley (IM) champion Calypso Sheridan, and the men sans 200 freestyle and 200 butterfly school record-holder Federico Burdisso.
The women’s side of the meet started off strong for the ‘Cats, as they set a pool record in the 4x100-yard medley relay with a time of 3:31.11. In the medley relay, each 100-yard leg is a different stroke, with backstroke going first, followed by breaststroke, butterfly and finally freestyle. Wisconsin has some great first-year swimmers, and Phoebe Bacon proved that by swimming the Badgers’ backstroke leg in 51.70, compared to Emma Lepisova’s 53.16. But Northwestern quickly came storming back, as Sophie Angus swam an astoundingly quick 57.88 breaststroke leg to give Northwestern a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. Butterflyer Miriam Guevara split 51.60 and Maddie Smith finished off with a 48.47 freestyle split. The swim vaults Northwestern’s 400 medley relay into fifth in the nation.
As usual, Northwestern’s breaststrokers had a good day. Hannah Brunzell, Angus and Tara Vovk went first, second, third in the 100-yard breaststroke with times of 59.75, 59.82 and 1:00.42, respectively, all more than a second under the NCAA-B cut. In the 200 breaststroke, the trio went 1-2-3 again, this time with Angus out-touching Brunzell with a 2:10.47 to a 2:10.55. Vovk touched a few seconds later with a time of 2:13.42.
In the butterfly, Miriam Guevara reached close to her school records in both events. Guevara swam 52.38 in the 100, 0.18 seconds off her 52.20, and 1:55.18 in the 200, 0.87 off her 1.54.31. Her 200 time bumped her up to 12th on the national leaderboards, too. In the backstroke, UW’s Phoebe Bacon blew away the competition, swimming a 1:51.63 in the 200, good for fifth in the nation. In the 100 back, Bacon swam a 51.76, eighth fastest in the nation. In the 200 IM, Bacon again swam past everyone with a 1:57.26. Brunzell, Wagner and Vovk each clocked in just over the two-minute-mark for spots two through four.
Northwestern’s freestylers performed admirably as well. Lola Mull won the 1000-yard freestyle in 9:49.14 and Ilektra Lebl the 500-yard freestyle in 4:47.1. Ally Larson out-touched Wisconsin’s Lily Hosack for the 200 freestyle win in 1:46.87, while Illinois’s Abby Cabush broke the Illinois school record with her time of 1:47.90. In the sprint distances, Maddie Smith and Selen Ozbilen went 1-2 in the 50 and the 100. Smith won both with a 22.50 and 48.76, with Ozbilen right behind her at 22.57 and 49.25.
On the men’s side, as the score suggests, things were much tighter. Kevin Houseman won both the 100 and 200 breaststroke in 53.89 and 1:57.06. In the 100 butterfly, Wisconsin’s Erik Gessner touched first with a 47.09, and Wes Jekel tied Northwestern’s Alessandro Burdisso for second in 47.64. But in the 200 butterfly, NU’s Connor LaMastra and Ben Miller went 1-2 in 1:44.35 and 1:45.17.
As usual, Manu Bacarizo was rock solid in the backstroke, winning the 100 in 47.08 over close competition from Gessner and Jekel, and the 200 in 1:41.82. Bacarizo’s 200 time knocked 0.02 off his swim against Penn State and Iowa and bumps him up to 11th in the nation for the year.
In the freestyle and individual medley, however, it was all Wisconsin. Jekel out-touched NU’s Emils Jurcik in 1:46.57 to 1:46.95 in the 200 IM. Junior Joshua Dannhauser nearly broke 9 minutes in the 1000 freestyle with a 9:00.38 and won the 500 freestyle in 4:23.70. And the Badger first-years swept the shorter events. Jacob Newmark took the 200 in 1:36.11, while Andrew Benson won the 50 and 100 in 19.77 and 43.23. But credit where credit is due: Northwestern’s Andrew Zhang took second in both the 50 and the 100 freestyles with a 20.25 and 44.30 respectively, and Jurcik took second in the 200 free with a 1:37.28
In the 400 medley relay, NU out-touched Wisconsin 3:09.07 to 3:09.23 thanks to strong backstroke and breaststroke legs from Manu Bacarizo and Kevin Houseman. UW took the other relay behind Andrew Benson’s 19.55 first leg (meaning he did it off of a flat start) leading to a 1:19.53.
In diving, Northwestern’s Markie Hopkins took the 1-meter with 270 points and Jaye Patrick the 3-meter with 302.50. On the men’s side, Wisconsin’s Tazman Abramowicz took the 1-meter in 343.60 and the 3-meter in 349.05.
Northwestern’s regular season may be over, but the ‘Cats will be present at the Big Ten Championships later this month.