2nd upset win comes against No. 23 Vols

Coley Harvey

Sixteen women took to the starting blocks at the Norris Aquatics Center on Saturday for the final event of the day. Spectators dressed in purple and orange were deeply engaged in the 400-yard freestyle relay, the final race of the single-day meet against No. 23 Tennessee.

The Lady Vols would win the dual meet by one point with first- and third-place finishes. The Wildcats would win with a victory in the event or with second- and third-place finishes.

Entering this final race, only eight points separated the two teams.

The Northwestern supporters got the ending they wanted as the women’s “A” relay team won the event by fewer than 0.6 seconds. That victory led to a 184-167 upset, the Cats’ second victory against a ranked team this season.

“Swimming is exciting when it comes down to the last individual or relay event,” senior Brielle Bovee said. “It shows true character, and you are able to see who can step up the most.”

Freshman Andrea Hupman excelled in the opening leg of the relay, swimming 100 yards in 49.76 seconds.

“Andrea swam one of the fastest splits in the history of our program,” coach Jimmy Tierney said. “We really kept up the energy and were determined to do what it took to win.”

Tierney also attributed the Cats’ overall win to an increased “mental toughness” following a winter break training trip.

“When you train the way we did in the Bahamas, then you can respond in this type of close environment,” he said. “It lets (the swimmers) know they can compete in it.”

In addition to honing their strength and skills in the Bahamas, the Cats also competed in a dual meet against Youngstown State. NU won that meet convincingly, 104-61.

NU had several other top finishes Saturday, including first-place finishes from Hupman in the 50- and 100-yard freestyles, Bovee’s speedy victories in the 100- and 200-yard breaststrokes, freshman Katie Braun’s close 0.08 second win in the 100-yard butterfly and sophomore Leanne Dumais’ first-place 3-meter dives.

Dumais’ performance was even more impressive, Tierney said, because Tennessee boasts “one of the top diving programs in the country.”

Its conference, the Southeastern Conference, is also the best for women’s swimming, he said.

Dumais said she was excited to compete against Tennessee because contesting a ranked team is “a great way to see where we came from.”

“I hoped our hard work in this meet would reflect our training over the season and the training trip,” she said.

Reach Coley Harvey at [email protected].