Sore, tired from workouts, Wildcats face Big Ten tests

Coley Harvey

Fatigued, tired, drained; just plain worn out.

These are words used to describe the Northwestern women’s swimmers during the "Big Ten Prep Period."

Throughout this month-long phase, training intensifies and work-outs become more strenuous and difficult.

That phase will conclude Friday and Saturday when No. 23 NU (2-2, 0-0) hosts a pair of Big Ten opponents, Illinois and No. 13 Michigan at the Norris Aquatics Center.

Last weekend, the Wildcats dropped a double dual meet to No. 4 Arizona and No. 25 Washington. Coach Jimmy Tierney said he’ll look for redemption this weekend.

"Hopefully we can bounce back and use last week’s losses as motivation," Tierney said.

He and several swimmers attributed last week’s losses partly to fatigue.

"We had so many close races," Tierney said earlier this week. "We just didn’t have the life to take advantage of the many opportunities we had."

The lack of energy the team felt last weekend, and has felt since their winter break training trip in the Bahamas, is a result of preparation for this weekend and next weekend, when the Cats travel to Iowa for another Big Ten meet.

Freshman Katie Braun said the coaching staff has had the team doing more cardiovascular activities and intense weight lifting.

The heightened strength training and conditioning began as soon as the team came back to Evanston for the start of winter quarter, Braun said.

"Weight lifting has definitely had an impact on us," Braun said. "We’ve been a lot more sore since we’ve been back."

With the conclusion of the "Big Ten Prep Period," the Cats will see fewer high intensity drills for the next couple of weeks, Tierney said.

"We will maintain our conditioning with sprinting work, but we will have more work on our starts and turns," Tierney said.

As the Cats look to revert to their winning ways after losses to ranked opponents, Illinois will be doing the same.

Last weekend the Fighting Illini (0-2, 0-1) lost to No. 13 Michigan and No. 21 Notre Dame in a double dual meet in South Bend, Ind.

Michigan (2-1, 2-0) beat Notre Dame and remained undefeated in the Big Ten after beating Illinois.

Reach Coley Harvey at [email protected].