Cats notch 4th at Big Tens, win array of awards (Men’s Swimming)

Coley Harvey and Coley Harvey

It might be time to get a larger trophy case for the Norris Aquatics Center.

No. 14 Northwestern traveled to Minneapolis this weekend and won a slew of awards and honors after finishing fourth at the Big Ten Championships.

The Wildcats won seven of the weekend’s events — the most of any team. They also had six first-team All-Big Ten selections, broke five conference records and had one athlete named Swimmer of the Championships.

Another Wildcat was named Freshman of the Year, and Bob Groseth was tabbed as Coach of the Year.

“Overall, the weekend was fun,” said the Freshman of the Year, Kyle Bubolz. “A lot of guys came out and just swam well.”

Last season, sophomore Matt Grevers was the Big Ten’s top freshman.

“I’m just following in his footsteps,” Bubolz said.

Grevers broke the conference record in Thursday’s 50-yard freestyle. The backstroke and freestyle specialist also shattered two other records and won five Big Ten titles.

“These are just some talented kids who worked hard,” Groseth said. “They set some high goals for themselves and achieved them.”

The Cats finished with 432 points, while first-place Minnesota had 720.

NU is composed of 10 freshmen, and two of them — Bubolz and David Kormushoff — were selected as First-Team All-Big Ten. The impressive individual accomplishments of this young team are a sign of “a brighter future at NU,” Bubolz said.

The Cats look to prolong these good things when they head to the NCAA Championships next month.

At Big Tens, three NU relays and three swimmers received automatic qualifying times, also known as ‘A’ cut times. Nine swimmers received ‘B’ cut times.

‘B’ times are not automatic but may still be good enough to qualify for NCAAs. The Cats won’t know until later this week if those times qualify.

“A lot of people say the NCAAs are the fastest meet in the world besides the Olympics,” Bubolz said. “It’s definitely going to be the most fun meet I’ve been to.”

The team will begin working toward that goal today.

“We will go back to a modest amount of distance training to build the swimmers back up, and then do some pacing work to work on their racing pace,” Groseth said.

Despite having many strong individual performances, the Cats finished fourth because they have a relatively small team.

Since the Cats have 20 swimmers compared with Minnesota’s 37, they couldn’t earn as many points as the teams that beat them. Minnesota received more than 200 points alone from its divers. NU has just one diver.

“It’s not always the wins that matter — it’s the little scrappy points in consolation that add up,” Bubolz said.

Reach Coley Harvey at [email protected]