Grevers wins solo crown at NCAAs

Coley Harvey

When sophomore Matt Grevers won the 100-yard backstroke in the NCAA championships March 25, he became Northwestern’s first national swimming champion since Dave Pemberton won the 200-yard backstroke in 1958.

Grevers, a high school All-American and the owner of seven All-America performances last season, became the first national champion in any NU sport since Luke Donald garnered the NCAA men’s golf title in 1999.

In the 100-yard backstroke final in Minneapolis, Grevers edged Florida’s Ryan Lochte by .03 seconds on his way to his national title and an eighth- place overall finish for NU.

Grevers said he went into the race as an underdog to the much publicized Olympian Lochte.

“I just wanted to give it a shot, but I didn’t expect to win,” Grevers said.

“During the last 25 yards I saw that I was right there with him and that I had a chance to win. So I spun my arms as fast as I could to the wall.”

Coach Bob Groseth said the team’s finish, in addition to Grevers’ performance, is an indication that NU’s program is improving.

“It means we’re getting better and a lot of people recognize that,” Groseth said. “When as a team you cross into the top 10, it puts your program over the threshold.”

In addition to Grevers’ first-place finish, sophomore Mike Alexandrov finished second in the 200-yard breaststroke, also earning himself All-America status.

Overall, the Cats took home 23 All-America honors.

The women’s swim team also had two All-Americans following its 36th-place finish at the NCAA championships two weeks ago in West Lafayette, Ind.

Senior Christy Olin and freshman Andrea Hupman were named honorable mention All-Americans after Olin’s 16th-place finish in the 200-yard butterfly and Hupman’s 14th-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle.

These were the first All-America honors for NU since Courtney Allen and Amy Balcerzak received them in 2000.

“Our intention was to get our girls to do this year in and year out,” women’s swimming coach Jimmy Tierney said. “Seeing (Olin and Hupman’s performances), I think that some of our other swimmers and incoming freshmen girls will have their sights set on that goal also.”

Although the men’s and women’s collegiate schedules are finished this season, the swimming for some does not end.

Hupman, along with men’s swimmers Grevers, freshmen Kyle Bubolz and junior Brian Davis, are competing this weekend in Indianapolis at the World Championship Trials.

According to Tierney, these trials are for spots on the USA national swimming teams.

Grevers said that a couple of months ago he wasn’t expecting to continue swimming competitively immediately after finishing the NCAA championships.

“I thought I would take a break from swimming,” Grevers said. “I thought I would play a little basketball and some ultimate frisbee.”

However, after his performance this weekend he said he will “keep in shape, keep on swimming and see what I can do at some other meets.”

Reach Coley Harvey at [email protected]