Freshman excels in lackluster NU result (Women’s Swimming)

Coley Harvey

Records truly were made to be broken.

In 1993, Kim Paton set the Northwestern record for the 200-yard freestyle. Paton swam her record-setting 200-yard freestyle in 1:47.60.

Fast-forward more than a decade to 2005.

Paton’s record was overtaken Saturday in the Big Ten Championships … by a freshman.

Andrea Hupman shattered the record by swimming the race in 1:46.73.

“I didn’t know she was mentally ready to swim a 1:46,” coach Jimmy Tierney said. “Was she physically ready? Yes, but I didn’t think she would do it as a freshman.”

After being out of the state for nearly six days, the No. 24 NU women’s swimmers returned from Bloomington, Ind., with a seventh-place finish at the Big Ten Championships and one swimmer immediately qualifying for the NCAA Championships.

Hupman’s impressive times qualified her for the national 100- and 200-yard freestyle races.

During Friday’s 200-yard freestyle, Hupman broke the NU school record en route to a third-place finish.

“(Hupman) battled with the best of them,” Tierney said. “She fought hard against some good, established All-Americans.”

The Cats (8-4, 4-2 Big Ten), who entered last weekend ranked fourth in the conference, had several career best times and scored more team points than last season’s squad.

Despite the team’s seventh-place finish, senior Lori Schwanhausser still was impressed with its performance.

“We really stepped it up and swam well as a team,” Schwanhausser said.

As a result, she said “there were a ton of lifetime best times.”

Tierney however, disagreed and said he and the coaching staff weren’t satisfied with how the team fared.

“We wanted to finish higher,” Tierney said.

Although his team did not perform to the level he had wanted, Tierney said he was pleased with the achievements of his individual swimmers.

“I was very happy with how the athletes went out and swam well,” Tierney said. “When you’re a small team, it’s tough to do well unless everyone is firing at the same time.”

Schwanhausser said part of the reason the team did not do well overall was because it had a high percentage of ninth-place finishes in preliminary rounds.

“There were a lot of times when some people placed ninth rather than eighth,” Schwanhausser said. “If they had placed eighth, they could have come back to compete in the finals at night.”

Hupman said season injuries and illnesses also contributed to the Cats’ overall poor performance.

“Part of it is just plain bad luck,” Hupman said. “There were some people who had mono and shoulder injuries during the year and, as a result, couldn’t train as much.”

While the Cats failed to meet their expectations as a team, they exceeded them in individual competition.

In addition to Hupman’s successful qualifying times, seniors Christy Olin and Brielle Bovee also turned in masterful individual performances.

Olin finished second in the 200-yard butterfly with a “B” cut time of 1:59.34. Bovee swam to a third-place finish in the 200-yard breaststroke with a career-best “B” cut time of 2:15.70.

“B” cut times are those times that are just slower than “A” cut times that automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships.

Hupman swam two “A” times, making her automatically eligible for the Championships. Tierney will find out if Bovee and Olin’s times are good enough for the Championships next Thursday.

Penn State dominated the competition, beating second-place Wisconsin by almost two hundred points.

Minnesota eclipsed NU for sixth place by only 21 points.

The Cats’ Hupman and Olin were both named to the second-team All-Big Ten squad for their performances in this meet and throughout the season.

This is the first time NU has had an All-Big Ten swimmer since Merritt Adams in 2002.

With these accolades and career- and school-best times posted by the freshmen, Schwanhausser said this is “a sign that NU women’s swimming is back on the rise.”

“It’s intimidating for freshmen to go into the Big Tens,” Schwanhausser said. “They are pressured by coaches and teammates to do well.

“They stepped it up and swam well in the pool, and were a large part of team spirit and unity.”

“We’re getting better,” said Hupman, who hopes to be a part of NU’s return to conference dominance over the next three seasons. “I look forward to even better finishes next year.”

Reach Coley Harvey at [email protected].