Freshmen help NU in weekend sweep (Women’s swimming)

Coley Harvey

After winning the 200-yard medley relay by a mere 0.05 seconds, the No. 20 Northwestern women’s swimmers stormed their way to a double-dual sweep of Iowa and Ohio State on Saturday.

In their final regular season meet before the Big Ten Championships, the Wildcats were sharp. They dominated Iowa, 176.5 to 122.5, and thrashed Ohio State, 168 to 131.

In addition to their relay teams, the Cats (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten) relied on their sprinters.

“The difference in the meet was that our sprinters were better than those on the other teams,” coach Jimmy Tierney said.

Among those sprinters was senior Brielle Bovee. Bovee won both the 100- and 200-yard breaststrokes, and she has received first-place points in both breaststrokes in all the dual meets she swam in this season.

In addition to Bovee, freshman sprinter Andrea Hupman had a big meet, winning the 50- and 100-yard freestyles.

Part of Tierney’s game plan for the meet was to mix up his swimming rotation.

“We decided to move a couple of people around,” Tierney said.

For the first time in her NU career, Hupman, normally just a short distance swimmer, swam the 1000-yard freestyle. She came in second place to Ohio State’s Griet Buelens.

At No. 20, the Cats are enjoying their highest national ranking since 2001.

“This season is better than any other year in my career,” senior Lori Schawnhausser said.

“The team seems a lot more together — we’re more team-oriented now than we were.”

A stronger work ethic is another reason this year’s team is different, Tierney said.

“We’ve done more work with this year’s team than last year,” Tierney said. “We got the girls to commit early on to doing a lot of hard work in the fall.

“All year, everybody has been committed as a team.”

Another one of Saturday’s bright spots was seeing freshman Carrera Harris swim, Schawnhausser said.

Harris, who has battled illness during the season, swam to a second-place finish in the 200-yard backstroke.

“Carrera was definitely the highlight of the meet — her birthday was also on Saturday, ” Schwanhausser said of her now 19-year-old teammate.

Tierney also said he was “pleased” with Harris’ performances.

In addition to being satisfied with his freshman backstroker, Tierney is also satisfied with the way his team has performed so far this season.

“They’ve done pretty much everything (the coaching staff) has asked,” Tierney said. “I have no doubt that we will be ready in two weeks.”

On Feb. 16, the Cats head to Bloomington, Ind., for the Big Ten Championships.

“We are extremely ready for Big Tens,” Schwanhausser said. “We have got a lot of talent and will compete well.”

Reach Coley Harvey at [email protected].