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Swimming: Men’s and women’s teams compete in NCAA Championships

The two squads had very different seasons, but both managed to make an appearance on the big stage.

The Northwestern Swim and Diving team took its final plunge of the season over the past two weeks. The women’s team competed at NCAA Championships two weekends ago, and the men lined up just seven days after that.

Heading into the national showdown, the women’s squad had experienced success all season, going 9-1 in individual meets. A rivalry win against Illinois marked the peak of the season before the team’s lone loss of the year came a week later to Michigan. In all, the ‘Cats went 5-1 in conference water.

NU’s impressive record was good enough to nab it the No. 26 spot in the March edition of the CSCAA Top 25 Poll.

An abrupt halt in momentum at NCAAs inhibited the women’s team from continuing its ascent up the collegiate rankings. After an intense weekend of swimming in Knoxville, Tennesse, the Wildcats finished No. 29 among the 40 teams in attendance.

Ten ‘Cats qualified for the primetime meet, but none of them were able to swim or dive their way to a medal. NU finished No. 18 in the 200 Medley Relay, completing the gauntlet in 1:36.95. Northwestern’s best team result came in the 200 Free Relay, in which Lindsay Ervin, Ashley Strouse, Jamie Brennan and Ally Larson swam their way to an All-American (Honorable Mention) finish.

Individually, one Wildcat snuck into the top 15 of her event. Miriam Guevara, a graduate student from El Paso, Texas, broke the Northwestern school record twice (in Prelims and in the B Final) for her performance in the 100 Fly. Guevara ultimately placed 10th in the event, earning an All-American nod (Honorable Mention) of her own.

On the men’s side of things, a more turbulent season yielded just three qualifiers for NCAAs. After going 3-4 in one-on-one meets, including a stretch of three straight losses to Big Ten opponents, the ‘Cats looked to rebound in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for a splashy weekend.

None of the three ‘Cats in attendance — two swimmers and a diver — made it to the finals of their events. Senior Ben Miller had the best outcome of the trio, placing 18th in the 200 Fly Prelims.

It was a tale of two very different seasons between the men’s and women’s teams, but both succeeded in sending representatives to the biggest stage in college swimming. Undoubtedly, both programs look to dive headfirst toward an even better campaign in 2024.