Courtesy: Nebraska Athletics
Lincoln – Freshman Milica Opacic notched three victories in her Devaney Center Natatorium debut, while sophomore Ella Stein add a pair of wins and two runner-up finishes to help power the Cream to a 126-121 victory over the Scarlet in Nebraska’s annual intrasquad meet on Wednesday.
Nebraska Head Coach Pablo Morales said the spirit around the weeks leading up to the competition and the efforts in training by the Huskers are helping the team build momentum as it prepares for the official opening of the season against South Dakota State next weekend at the Devaney Center Natatorium.
“We have had a lot of optimism coming into this season with strong newcomers. We confirmed our excitement, and it is fun to watch these girls come out and compete,” Morales said. “It will be fun to see what this season holds.”
Opacic (Novi Sad, Serbia) teamed with Stein, senior captain Madesyn Ronquillio and junior transfer Emily Haimes for a victory in the 200-meter medley relay to start the day. Opacic notched her first individual victory in the 50m freestyle, before adding a win in the 100m butterfly.
Stein (Hudson, Wis.) claimed her individual victory in the 100m backstroke after securing a second-place finish in the 200m IM.
All-American and senior captain Audrey Coffey (Naperville, Ill.) and junior Berkeley Livingston (Lincoln, Neb.) were the only other Cream team members to secure individual wins on the day. Livingston’s came ahead of Stein in the 200m IM, giving the Cream a 1-2 finish in the event, while Coffey’s came in the 400m freestyle.
Although All-American and senior captain Autumn Haebig’s Scarlet team came up short on the scoreboard, the 2021 Big Ten champion provided victories in the 100m freestyle and the 100m backstroke.
Tokyo Olympian Beatriz Padron, a freshman from Costa Rica, captured the first individual win of the meet with a her victory in the 200m freestyle, which sparked a top-three sweep for the Scarlet that included a runner-up showing by Shannon Stott and a third-place performance by freshman Ilaria Murzilli.
Gabby Donahue added a win for the Scarlet with a diving victory on the one-meter board against fellow swimmer Ella Stein. Donahue also picked up a win as a member of the Scarlet’s 200m freestyle relay, joining Stott, Padron and Kimberly Lanaghen in a win in the final event. But the Scarlet event win was enough to overcome the Cream’s winning total.
The Cream started the day strong with a win in the 200m medley relay (Ronquillio, Stein, Opacic, Haimes) before the Scarlet responded with a sweep in the 200m free (Padron, Stott, Murzilli).
The Cream answered by taking the top two spots in both the 200m IM (Livingston, Stein) and 50m free (Opacic, Haimes) to take control of the team standings.
Troyer notched her win on the one-meter board for the Scarlet, before Opacic responded with her third victory of the day in the 100m fly. Haebig answered for the Scarlet with her win in the 100m free, before Coffey claimed the 400m free win for the Cream. The Scarlet’s Donahue secured her diving victory over Stein, before Haebig provided the Scarlet with more momentum by winning the 100m back.
Stein provided the Cream’s final win of the meet in the 100m breaststroke, which included a crucial runner-up finish by freshman Maia Hall, before the Scarlet capped the intrasquad with a win in the 200m free relay (Donahue, Stott, Padron, Lanaghen).
Nebraska opens the 2021-22 regular season on Saturday, Oct. 2, at 11:30 a.m., when the Huskers play host South Dakota State at the Devaney Center Natatorium.