The Northwestern Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Teams played host to the UIC Flames and the Oakland Golden Grizzlies on Saturday afternoon in a double dual meet format competition. The Wildcat women were dominant against both Oakland (180-111) and UIC (211-86) en route to improving to 3-0 on the season. The men bested Oakland 155-134 and UIC 179-112 to match the same undefeated record as the women.
The Wildcats got off to a great start thanks to a combined effort by Lacey Locke (26.43), Julianne Kurke (29.55), Aja Malone (25.44), and Annika Winsnes (23.29) to take the 200 medley relay in a 1:44.71. Though only two relays score per team, Northwestern would actually post the top 3 times in this race with its other two relays taking 2nd and 3rd in 1:46.40 and 1:47.55 efforts respectively.
Ellen Stello came up big once again for the Wildcats as she was a triple event winner on Saturday. She took the 200 fly (2:00.67), 500 free (4:55.47), and the 200 IM (2:07.92) to score some big points. Her 200 fly was particularly impressive as it was her best collegiate time to date and also was good enough to outpace the field by over 5 seconds.
Sophomore Annika Winsnes (50 free, 23.80/100 free, 50.77) was another multiple event winner for the Wildcats as she took both the sprint freestyle events. She was the only swimmer in the field to dip under 24 seconds in the 50, and she was the class of the heat in the 100 with an impressive 1.5 second margin separating her from her closest competitor. Sophomore Lacey Locke (100 back, 56.15/ 100 fly, 56.82) was the other double event winner for Northwestern, and though she had a fairly comfortable lead throughout her 100 back, she needed to work much harder to run down and outtouch fellow teammate Aja Malone 56.82-56.86.
The other individual wins for the Wildcats came from sophomore Lauren Abruzzo, who took top honors in the 1000 free with a 10:02.50 effort, and sophomore Megan Purdy who captured the 200 free win with a 1:52.32. Though they would ultimately exhibition the race, Northwestern also posted the top time in the 400 free relay with a 3:28.57 effort from Valerie Nubbe (53.05), Winsnes (50.77), Mary Warren (51.92), and Locke (52.83).
Oakland handed Northwestern a rare pair of losses in the breaststroke events thanks to sophomore Takara Martin and her finishes in the 100 (1:05.17) and in the 200 (2:20.43). In both races, Martin led throughout and she edged Northwestern senior Julianne Kurke (1:05.51/2:21.07) in both races to secure the pair of wins. Additionally, after accounting for exhibitions, the Golden Grizzlies would take first in the 400 free relay with a 3:30.66 finish.
In the diving events, Oakland’s Tricia Grant took both boards with scores of 282.60 and 275.10 on 3 meter and 1 meter respectively.
The Northwestern men were able to follow in the steps of the women’s team by taking the opening medley relay in a 1:29.99. The foursome of Alex Snarski (22.98), Uula Auren (25.22), Andrew Jovanovic (22.11), and Almog Olshtein (19.68) were the Northwestern participants in this winning effort.
Junior Jordan Wilimovsky absolutely dominated in the 1000 free en route to posting a 9:08.37. He was over 35 seconds ahead of the rest of the field, and he would also come back immediately after his race to take third in the 200 free with a 1:41.99. Finally, Wilimovsky battled Oakland’s Jorden Merrilees in the 500 free in what was perhaps one of the most exciting races of the day. Merrilees led for the entire race until Wilimovsky uncorked a 24.71 final 50 to overtake him and win the event in a 4:28.95. Merrilees posted a very respectable 4:29.38 for 2nd place, and though he finished in a strong 25.58 final split, it was not enough to hold off the relentless charge put into motion by the Northwestern junior.
Freshmen Almog Olshtein was also a double event winner for the Wildcats today as he won the 50 free (20.60) and the 100 free (45.38). The sprint specialist used his superior finishing speed to hold off the competition despite a shaky start in the 50, and he also was able to outlast teammate Andrew Jovanovic (45.70) in a relatively close race in the 100 not too long after.
Uula Auren was dominant in the 100 breast as he cruised to a win with a 56.37. No other swimmer was under 59 seconds in this race, and the senior from Northwestern was able to get out early ahead of the rest of the field and maintain this early speed until the very end.
Junior Van Donkersgoed provided a thrilling finish in the men’s 200 breast and his finishing speed allowed him to overtake UIC junior Christian Grobe 2:05.82-2:05.87. Notably, Donkersgoed was over a half-second behind with a 50 to go, but he was able to outsplit Grobe 32.67-33.37 to emerge on top.
The Wildcats also posted the top time in the 400 free relay as Gage Kohner (46.95), Nick Petersen (45.99), Mark Ferguson (45.94), and Almog Olshtein (45.00) teamed up to go a 3:03.88. NU would go on to exhibition this race in the final results.
In diving action, sophomore Andrew Cramer swept both boards with scores of 326.35 on 1 meter event and 347.00 on 3 meter.
The Oakland men’s team swam very tough on Saturday and captured six event titles of their own. Sophomore Alex Danielewski was a triple event winner with top finishes in 100 and 200 backstrokes (49.76/1:50.12) as well as in the 200 IM (1:54.26) and he showed some remarkable closing speed in all of the races to secure those wins.
In the 100, Danielewski held off Northwestern’s Mark Ferguson (49.96) but he was truly spectacular in the 200 as he threw down a monstrous 26.44 final 50 to just overtake Northwestern’s Grant Halsall 1:50.12-1:50.20. Danielewski trailed throughout in that race and he used his very strong underwaters to catch the Northwestern junior off-guard in the final meters of the race. Finally in the 200 IM, Danielewski was relatively unchallenged as he posted the top time by over 3.5 seconds
Other individual winners for the Golden Grizzlies included Merrilees in the 200 free (1:39.39) and Mario Rusnak in the 100 fly (50.55, though NU’s Snarski posted the top time in a 49.71). Additionally, Oakland was credited with the win in the 400 free relay with a 3:05.57 thanks to the combined efforts of Tuomas Kiviluoma (47.21), Jeremiah Morren (46.31), Jacob Pearson (46.48) and Merrilees (45.57).
UIC got its sole win of the day in the 200 fly as junior Kei Ishimaru (1:50.77) easily outpaced his Oakland and NU competitors to take the race. He was out in a 52.90 which was 2nd to only NU’s Snarski (52.26), before storming home in a 57.87 to win by over 1.5 seconds.