NU sweeps 2 Big Ten rivals in home meets (Women’s swimming)

Coley Harvey

The weather outside was frightful, but No. 23 Northwestern was delightful Friday and Saturday as it toppled Big Ten opponents Illinois and No. 13 Michigan.

“It’s crazy to be swimming in here and looking out the window and seeing all this snow,” said freshman Andrea Hupman, a Georgia native. “In here I’m only in my swimsuit, and out there it’s just frosty-land.”

No matter the conditions, the Cats (6-4, 3-2 Big Ten) came out on top in both meets. On Friday they beat Illinois, 173-136. After that win, the Cats upset Michigan on Saturday, 168-132, handing the Wolverines their first Big Ten defeat in 12 meets.

“Michigan is a high-ranked team,” Tierney said. “It’s been several years since we beat them.”

The Cats’ last win against Michigan (3-2, 3-1) came in January 2001, when they beat the Wolverines at home, 157-143. Saturday’s upset marked the Cats’ third against a higher-ranked opponent this season.

NU set a dominating tone for Saturday’s meet with a first-place finish in the first race — the 400 medley relay. From there, the Cats won nine of the next 15 events.

“This weekend, it was all about trusting our training plan,” Tierney said.

The Cats have been training hard since winter break when they went to the Bahamas for intense workouts and practices.

The sharp increase in workout intensity and practices left many swimmers fatigued and sore for the last two meets.

“Things are finally coming to fruition,” Tierney said.

Senior Christy Olin said she was proud of the way the team has been swimming and training.

“I’m looking forward to seeing us do even better,” Olin said. “We have amazing potential for the Big Ten championships.”

Part of the reason the team swam well against Michigan was because of high team enthusiasm, senior Michaela Restivo said. Saturday was Senior Day and the last home meet for NU’s six seniors.

“We were all so excited about this weekend,” Restivo said. “We were pumped up all week.”

During the week, the underclassmen gave the seniors flowers and candy as gifts, Hupman said. In addition, the underclassmen decorated the pool with purple and white banners and signs with the names of the seniors.

“(The seniors) have done a terrific job in their four years,” Tierney said. “They are all special people. I’m proud to be their coach.”

“I hope it will be a great last month for them.”

Reach Coley Harvey at [email protected].