After a close game this Saturday against Big Ten rival Wisconsin, Northwestern was ultimately unable to fend off the Badgers.
A year after the men narrowly lost to Wisconsin and the women won by more than 100 points, both teams lost in this season’s doubles game. The final score was 160-130 for the women and 163.5-136.5 for the men.
NOW Swimming and Diving is keeping mind and head high as it begins its final game of the regular season in Minnesota, aand goes to the Big Ten and NCAA Championships.
“A quote I mentioned to the team afterwards is not to let the wins go to our heads or let the losses go to our hearts,” said coach Katie Robinson. “I want to stay positive and this is a good little temperature check on how we’re preparing so we can change a few things and get better in the future.”
Despite the loss, NU’s individual and relay performances bode well for the rest of the season.
Jasmine Nocentini dominated the sprint freestyle events, getting her hand against the wall first in a time of 22.47 in the 50-yard freestyle and 49.75 in the 100-yard freestyle.
NOW swept the women’s 100m breaststroke with Hannah Brunzell, Sophia Angus and Tara Vovk going 1-2-3 respectively. All three of these swimmers have top 20 times in the NCAA this season, making the trio a formidable threat into the postseason.
Bruznell had a dominant show this weekend, finishing first in the 200m breaststroke alongside her 100m win. The Swedish-born has big goals for the championship season, including winning an All-American finish by finishing in the top eight. Vovk and Angus were second and third respectively in the 200.
Despite the loss, Brunzell believes the team performed well against Wisconsin, a team that is recruiting well and dominating this year. She said this meeting taught her that sometimes it’s best to focus less on the best times and more on the details, especially during tough training periods, and instead “be content with it.”
The Cats shone in the 200-meter individual medley, with both the men’s and women’s medleys claiming victory.
In the men’s category, highlights for the Cats include Kevin Houseman’s first place in the 100-meter breaststroke and Marcus Mok’s victory in the 200-meter breaststroke, which allowed NU to win the breaststroke games against Wisconsin. Andrew Zhang’s victory in the 50-yard freestyle topped off the Cats’ success in the sprint freestyle events.
The dive crew showed up against Wisconsin, in a performance highlighted by junior Jaye Patrick’s new pool record on the women’s platform of 1 meter.
“Jaye is a phenomenal diver and she was able to put together an amazing array of dives on Saturday,” Robinson said. “To be fair, the whole diving crew did an outstanding job on Saturday, so they just deserve a lot of the success they’ve achieved and there’s more to come.”
Markie Hopkins, Jaye Patrick, Labonita Ghose and Leah Parsons finished in the top four in the 3m and Yohan Eskrick-Parkinson and Evan Labuda also took first and second in the 3 meters.
More Big Ten action awaits next weekend in Minnesota, where the Cats will take on the Golden Gophers, Purdue and Iowa in their final competition before the championship season. The Cats were ranked 17th in the most recent women’s poll and unranked in the men’s poll, receiving votes in the latter.
Robinson says the team enters competitions in hopes of winning, but also to improve.
“Sometimes success means actually winning, sometimes it means an individual earns points for the team,”
During the doubles game against Wisconsin, NU celebrated the seniors and their contributions to the swimming and diving program.
The class of 2022 arrived on campus as a freshman while Robinson joined the swim program as an associate coach, a position she held for two years before becoming director of swimming and diving. Most of all, she is proud of the people who have become her swimmers during their time at NU, both inside and outside the pool.
“Watching them grow into the young men and women they are today is why I coach,” Robinson said. “It’s incredibly inspiring.”
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