Northwestern Newbies Ayla Spitz, Diego Nosack Win 200 IMs on Day 1 of Purdue Invite

2023 Purdue Invitational

  • November 16-18, 2023
  • Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
  • Short Course Yards (25 yards), Prelims/Finals
  • Teams Participating: Purdue, Illinois (Women), Northwestern, Illinois State (Women), Southern Illinois, Missouri State, Marshall (Women), McKendree (NCAA D2)
  • Meet Central
  • Live Results

The Purdue Boilermakers are hosting two Big Ten opponents (Illinois, Northwestern) and a bunch of Illinoisians (Illinois State, Northern Illinois, McKendree) for the 2023 Purdue Invitational.

The Northwestern men, under new leadership of Rachel Stratton-Mills, took an early lead after day 1 ahead of Purdue’s men, who also have a new head coach this year. The Purdue women, meanwhile, hold a big lead over Northwestern after day 1, 108 points ahead.

Men’s Recap

Men’s Team Scores After Day 1:

  1. Northwestern – 315.5
  2. Purdue – 263.5
  3. McKendree – 136
  4. Missouri State – 121
  5. Southern Illinois – 97

Purdue and Northwestern combined for all six wins on day 1 of the invite, with Purdue taking 4 (including both relays) and Northwestern taking the other 2, but Northwestern’s depth (12 swimming A-finals) against Purdue (6 swimming A finals) carried the day.

That includes a dominant performance from the Wildcats in the 400 IM, where they had 7 out of 8 A-finalists. Freshman Diego Nosack won the race in 1:45.76, which is about two-tenths of a second shy of his personal best from Winter Juniors last December. He was followed by Tyler Lu (1:46.73) who was about two seconds shy of his Big Tens result last season where he finished 10th.

Northwestern outscored Purdue 106-29 in that event alone.

Of note, McKendree’s Jack Lustig won the 200 IM B-Final in 1:47.74, a season-best by six seconds. He is the defending NCAA D2 champion in the 200 fly and placed 7th in the 200 IM at that meet. That time ranks him 2nd in Division II as of the start of the day.

That 200 IM from Nosack was the second of two wins for Northwestern, with the other coming from Andrew Martin in the 500 free. He touched in 4:19.59, leading the field by more than three seconds.

Purdue, meanwhile, got a huge lift from junior Brady Samuels, the team’s highest-scoring returning swimmer from last year’s Big Ten Championships and second-best scorer from that meet behind diver Jordan Rzepka.

Individually, he won the 50 free in 19.49, which is only .03 seconds behind his personal best from last year’s NCAA Championship meet. That bodes well for his 100 free and 100 back, his better events, later in the meet.

He also had the fastest leadoff leg in the 200 free relay (19.51) to start the session as Purdue cruised to a win in 1:17.80. That included an 18.82 split from Idris Muhammad on the 2nd leg, followed by Jude Wenker (19.63) and Andy Kelly (19.84). Muhammad’s split was the fastest of the field.

In his third race of the night, Samuels then led off the Purdue 400 medley relay in 46.07. A much tighter race, that gave them a second lead on Northwestern’s “A” relay in a race that came down to a .16 second margin at the touch. The Boilermakers won in 3:07.00 and Northwestern was 2nd in 3:07.16.

Northwestern was able to close that gap thanks to big splits from breaststroker Kevin Houseman (51.65) and freestyle anchor Cade Duncan (41.86).

Purdue always receives a big lift from its divers, and this year is no different. Freshman Max Miller won the men’s 1-meter with a score of 367.50, which put him 14 points ahead of Rzepka, the 17th-place finisher from NCAAs last year. Purdue went 1-2-3 on the boards on Thursday.

Other Notables:

  • Southern Illinois’ Alex Santiago swam 19.64 for 2nd place in the 50 free ahead of Purdue’s Muhammad. He’s the defending MAC runner-up from last season, and that time is a personal best by .02. It also put him two spots, and three-tenths, ahead of his teammate Don Csuvarszki, who won the MAC title last year.
  • D2 All-American Alireza Yavari won the B-Final of the 50 free in 20.12 for McKendree. That misses his personal best by .01 seconds with his best event, the 200 free, yet to come inthe meet. McKendree won all three B finals on Thursday in the men’s pool.

Women’s Recap

Women’s Scores After Day 1:

  1. Purdue – 327
  2. Northwestern – 219
  3. Illinois – 155
  4. Missouri State – 95
  5. Illinois State – 79
  6. (TIE) Marshall/Southern Illinois – 74
  7. McKendree – 59

While the Northwestern women lost some high-profile recruits amid the coaching change, and roughly half of their All-American relays, they reloaded with Cal transfer Ayla Spitz as a 5th year and popped off a good midseason 3:36.62 in the 400 medley relay to win by two-and-a-half seconds.

Spitz split 52.56 on the backstroke leg of that relay, supplanting Justine Murdock, last year’s top backstroker. Murdock was 52.91 at NCAAs last year and 54.11 on the “B” relay on Thursday.

The Wildcats are also swimming without Ashley Strouse, who anchored this relay at NCAAs last year. She is still listed on the roster this season, but hasn’t competed yet.

In her stead, Lindsay Ervin anchored in 49.40.

At full strength, Northwestern’s best relay probably has Murdock on backstroke, Spitz on fly, and Strouse on the anchor leg and has potential to score points at NCAAs again this year.

Ervin also won the 50 free individually in 22.62 ahead of teammate Audrey Yu. The Wildcats had three finishers in the top four of that race.

Spitz also won the 500 free individually in 4:40.25, which is her lifetime best by more than a second. That event was not part of her primary list at Cal, and her best time was from 2018, when she was still in high school.

While those three wins in a vacuum might look like Northwestern was in the lead, it was in fact a dominant day overall for the Purdue women, thanks in large part to their divers.

They finished 1-2 in the team diving event, which is a new specialty being introduced at most D1 conference championship meets this season, and they also finished 1-2-4-5 in the individual 3-meter event.

Purdue also got an individual win in the 200 IM from Maggie Love in 1:59.49. That is her first time under two minutes in the event, and was the front-end of a double that saw her place 3rd in the 50 free in 22.87 – just .01 seconds away from her personal best. She scored just three points for Purdue at last year’s Big Ten Championships, but after this meet will have higher hopes for the 2024 championships.

She also split 22.47, the fastest time of the field, on Purdue’s winning 200 free relay. They touched in 1:31.03, including Hannah Hill (23.09), Love, Kendall Schreder (22.71), and Ana Rojas (22.76).

Northwestern was 2nd in 1:31.35 with Ervin leading off in 22.76.

Other Notables:

  • Illinois’ Logan Kuehne split 22.51 on a rolling start on the 200 free relay and was 6th in the individual event in 23.15. A junior, her best time coming into the season was a 23.34 from last year’s midseason meet.
  • Southern Illinois’ Celia Pulido swam a 52.26 to lead off Southern Illinois’ 3rd-place 400 medley relay. That knocks two-tenths off her own record of 52.46 set two seasons ago. The Salukis have become a mid-major hub for backstrokers of sorts: on the men’s team, Ruard van Renen finished 9th in the 100 back and 13th in the 200 back at NCAAs last year. She combined with Olivia HerronJules Atkinson, and Masha Zhukova to break the school record in the 400 medley relay as well. They finished in 3:40.50, which beat the 3:41.26 that Pulido and three other teammates swam in the 2021-2022 season.
  • Illinois’ Suvana Baskar also broke her school’s record in the 100 back, splitting 43.90 on the leadoff leg. That shaves .02 seconds off Allison Meng’s school record of 53.92 from 2014.

Leave a Reply

Notify of

1 Comment
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
6 months ago

Andrew Martin fastest man in the world

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

Read More »