Northwestern Men Top Hawkeyes in Thrilling Finish, Iowa Women Emerge Victorious against Wildcats

In a meet that was decided by fractions of a second, the Northwestern men triumphed against the visiting Iowa Hawkeyes in an intense matchup at the Norris Aquatic Center on Saturday afternoon 151-149. The Iowa women got even by edging the Northwestern women’s team 155-145.

In the first race of the afternoon, Iowa’s seniors led the way as Lindsay SeemannKarolina Wartalowicz, Abbey Tuchscherer, and Elise Borja combined to win in a 1:45.50 (splits unavailable). The B relay from Iowa snagged second with a 1:45.96, while Northwestern’s B relay took third in 1:47.40. Northwestern’s A completed the relay in a 1:44.25, but was disqualified on an early exchange.

The Iowa men followed the example set by the women, and Grant Betulius (22.97), Roman Trussov (24.98), Dustin Rhoads (21.43), and Chuck Holliday (20.09) teamed up to win in a 1:29.47. Just over a half-second back was Northwestern’s A relay at 1:30.13 while Iowa’s B relay took 3rd in 1:30.88.

In the longest event of the night, Iowa’s women stayed rolling by taking the 1000 free as Becky Stoughton won in a 9:58.20. She held off a charging Lauren Abruzzo (10:00.89) and Northwestern’s Ellen Anderson rounded out the top 3 with a 10:06.71. In the men’s race, Northwestern’s Jordan Wilimovsky easily took first in a 9:20.78, which was a full fifteen seconds ahead of Iowa’s Manuel Belzer (9:36.19) and NU’s Jonathan Lieberman (9:39.24) took third overall.

Northwestern’s Lacey Smith broke the Iowa stranglehold by taking the 200 freestyle in a 1:51.46, which was good enough to top Iowa’s Emily Hovren (1:51.99) and Olivia Kabacinski (1:52.31). In the men’s race, Northwestern’s Charlie Cole used a strong second half to overcome his competitors from Iowa, as the freshman took the race in a 1:40.13. Northwestern’s Stephens also relied on his back half, and he came away with second in a 1:40.44 while Iowa’s David Ernstsson rounded out the top 3 in a 1:41.62.

Lacey Locke of Northwestern followed up on her teammate’s win by cruising to victory in the 100 backstroke in a very strong 55.02. Iowa’s Seemann took 2nd in 57.56 and Northwestern’s Melissa Postoll rounded  out the top 3 with a 57.80. Dustin Rhoads came off his strong butterfly split in the medley relay to take the top spot in the men’s race with a 48.25 while the Northwestern pair of Mark Ferguson (49.70) and Dominik Cubelic (49.91) snuck in for 2nd and 3rd behind the Iowa senior.

Julianne Kurke kept the Wildcats hot with her win in the 100 breaststroke (1:04.16) which was good enough to touch out Iowa freshman Emma Sougstad (1:04.62) who settled for 2nd. Wartalowicz took 3rd for Iowa in a 1:05.24. In the men’s race Iowa’s Roman Trussov surged to victory with a very strong 55.14, which was almost a full second ahead of Northwestern’s Uula Auren (56.03) while Iowa’s Andrew Marciniak took 3rd  in 56.19.

Northwestern’s Becca Soderholm and Ellen Stello continued the Northwestern hot streak with a 1-2 finish in the 200 butterfly with 2:04.39 and 2:04.42 finishes respectively. Iowa’s Haley Gordon took third in a 2:04.66. In a men’s race, a thrilling race from start to finish saw Iowa return the favor with a 1-2 finish of their own as Iowa’s Chris Freeman (1:52.41) and Tyler Lentz (1:52.53) both outtouched Northwestern’s Grant Halsall (1:52.54). Notably, Halsall had the fastest last 50 of the three swimmers, so the finishing edge of the Iowa butterfliers can be appreciated even more while keeping that in mind.

Iowa ‘s Olivia Kabacinski came through for the Hawkeyes with a big win in the 50 free as she was the only swimmer under 24 seconds at 23.92. Following in suit was Northwestern’s Annika Wisnes at 24.13 while Borja took 3rd for the Hawkeyes in a 24.24. Chase Stephens came of his 200 freestyle to take top honors in the 50 with a 20.56, which  was less than a half-second ahead of Iowa’s Chuck Holliday (20.83) and Chuck Allen (20.86).

Following the first break of the swim meet, Olivia Kabacinski started the Hawkeye’s strong finish by taking the 100 free in a 51.70. This just edged NU’s Wisnes (51.85) and Iowa’s Hovren (52.31) rounded out the top 3. Chase Stephens displayed his sprint dominance by doubling up in the 100 free with a winning time of 45.48. Stephens split the race in a very controlled manner with a one second difference between his first and second 50’s (22.2, 23.2). Iowa’s Ernstsson was second in a 46.11 and Gianni Sesto took third for the Hawkeyes in a 46.23.

Lacey Locke snared her second backstroke victory of the day with a win in the 200 back in a 2:00.13. Once again, strong splitting was key to a NU victory as Locke negative split her race 1:00.1-1:00.0 to complete the race in a 2:00.13. Seemann was second for the Hawkeyes in a 2:02.00 while Postoll was third for the Wildcats in a 2:04.12. Dustin Rhoads also doubled up in the backstroke events with a 1:47.32 winning effort, which was more than enough to top NU’s Andrew Jovanovic who took 2nd in a 1:50.56. Rounding out the top 3 was Iowa’s Andrew Parker in a 1:50.83.

The women’s 200 breaststroke saw Julianne Kurke doubling up her breaststroke wins on the day with a winning time of 2:19.22. She held off a late charge from Iowa’s Wartalowicz (2:20.70), while Iowa’s Colleen Champa (2:21.49) snuck in for third place. In the men’s race, Iowa freshman Nicky Zito earned his first victory of the day with a 2:00.76, while his teammate Roman Trussov (2:02.11) and NU’s Van Donkersgoed (2:03.40) followed for 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Continuing the pattern of double event winners, Stoughton used a strong last 100 to take the 500 freestyle in a 4:53.52. Close behind her throughout the race was the Northwestern duo of Ellen Anderson (4:55.77) and Lauren Abruzzo (4:57.60), and the two ladies took 2nd and 3rd respectively. Wilimovsky won with relative comfort in the men’s race in a 4:30.73, while Charlie Cole edged Iowa’s Belzer 4:32.98-4:35.56 for 2nd place.

Iowa’s Gordon scored a key victory for the Hawkeyes with her 56.28 winning effort in the 100 buterfly, and her teammate Abbey Tuscherer was about a half second back at 56.80 to score big points for the yellow and black. Finishing in third was Northwestern’s Soderholm in a 57.18. Mark Ferguson triumphed for the Wildcats in the men’s version of the race with a dominant 49.07 effort, and this was good enough to hold off Iowa’s Allen and Rhoads who finished 2nd and 3rd in 49.72 and 50.33 respectively.

Locke finished her triple on the day with a strong win in the women’s 200 IM, as she took the race in a 2:04.41. A very strong freestyle leg from Iowa’s Hovren (2:04.95) was not enough to close the gap, and NU’s Soderholm grabbed third place in a 2:06.03. Iowa scored a seemingly decisive 1-2-3 finish from the men with Zito leading the way in a 1:51.95 while Lentz and Kyle Noser followed close behind in a 1:52.45 and a 1:52.98 respectively.

In diving action, Abigail Grilli took the 1 and 3 meter events for the Hawkeyes while Northwestern’s Andrew Cramer also doubled up on both diving events. NU’s Mary Kate Campbell grabbed 2nd on 3 meter for girls while her teammate Cosima Lenz rounded out the top 3 on that discipline. On 1 meter, Lenz took 2nd while NU’s Caroline Grant took 3rd overall. In the men’s 3 meter, Nick Pinkerton grabbed 2nd for the Wildcats while Iowa’s Addison Boschult took third. On 1 meter, Boschult bested Pinkerton as they took 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Entering the final relay of the meet, both the men’s and women’s meets depended on the final placing of the 400 freestyle relay, and the final results did not disappoint the full crowd at the Norris Center. In the women’s race, Northwestern needed a win and a third place finish to tie, but this was not to be as the foursome of Olivia Kabacinski (51.89), Abby Tuchscherer (52.62), Becky Stoughton (51.31), and Lindsay Seemann (51.21) raced away from the Wildcats to win in a 3:27.03. NU’s A relay took 2nd in a 3:28.35 while their B team took 3rd in a 3:33.36.

In the men’s race, the Wildcats needed a 1st and 2nd place finish to win the meet overall, and they would do just that as Matt Wilcox (46.16), Uula Auren (45.43), Jack Morris (45.88), and Chase Stephens (44.10) combined to take first in a 3:01.57, while Ferguson (45.89), Dominik Cubelic (45.44), Charlie Cole (45.52), and Andrew Jovanovic (45.07) finished just strong enough (3:01.92) to outlast Iowa’s charging A relay (3:01.96). The finish elevated the trailing Wildcats to just enough points for an overall victory, and also marks the first time that the Wildcats have bested the Hawkeyes in six years.

Full results can be found here.

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About Varun Shivakumar

Varun Shivakumar hails from Hoffman Estates, IL and swam competitively for 16 years. He swam both backstroke events at Northwestern University, and ranks fifth in the school’s All-time performances list in the 200 yard backstroke. Representing NASA Wildcat Aquatics, he also competed in the 2012 Olympic Trials in Omaha, NE …

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