The last time Northwestern women’s swim and dive was this good was the turn of the century. While this year’s team couldn’t match the 1999-2000 Wildcats’ sixth-place finish at the NCAA Championships and a surprise marriage proposal, it still will go down in the books as one of the best groups in program history.
The ‘99 team sent nine swimmers to NCAA championships. This team sent a shining dozen who swam their hearts out, finishing in 16th place with 96 points. The ‘Cats earned All-American Honors (top eight finishers) in four events and Honorable All-American honors (finishers nine through 16) in eight more. Did I mention they broke four school records?
The first points were on the board for the Wildcats with the 200 freestyle relay, where the team of Selen Ozbilen, Ally Larson, Isabella Wallace and Maddie Smith touched in 1:28.90, good for 14th place. In the 400 medley relay, Emma Lepisova, Sophie Angus, Miriam Guevara and Maddie Smith finished 12th with a time of 3:32.01. But the big story of the first day belonged to Smith, who swam her way into seventh place in the 50 freestyle in 21.92, breaking the school record.
On the second day, Miriam Guevara broke the school record in the 100 butterfly in the preliminaries with a time of 51.90. While she didn’t repeat her success in the finals, she swam under the record again with a 51.99, good for 13th place.
In the 100 breaststroke, the duo of Sophie Angus and Hannah Brunzell shined. Angus made it into the championship finals and touched in eighth place with a 59.04. But it was Brunzell, who won consolation finals (finishing ninth overall) in 58.50, who broke the school record. In the 200 medley relay later in the day, Lepisova, Angus, Guevara and Smith added more points by finishing 11th in a time of 1:36.60.
On day three, Lola Mull swam the mile (1650 freestyle) in a blazing fast 16:04.11, beating her season-best time by over 4 seconds, which earned her an eighth-place finish. In the 100 freestyle, Maddie Smith finished 11th, going 48.15. Brunzell repeated her performance in the 200 breaststroke, finishing 10th overall and setting a new school record with her time of 2:06.60. In the last event of the meet, Northwestern’s 400-yard freestyle relay, featuring Selen Ozbilen, Ally Larson, Annika Wagner and Maddie Smith finished in 13th place with a time of 3:14.58.
On the boards, both Jaye Patrick and Leah Parson finished in the top 25 on the platform, and Patrick added a top-40 finish on the 1-meter board.
The Men’s Swim and Dive Championships is being held Wednesday, March 24 through Saturday, March 27, and Northwestern will send three swimmers: Connor LaMastra, Marcus Mok and Kevin Houseman.