Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Unbeatable Wildcats (Men’s Swimming)

By Brian ReganThe Daily Northwestern

Behind dominant performances of seniors Mike Alexandrov and Matt Grevers, Northwestern defeated two top-15 teams to finish the dual meet season undefeated.

“We knew we could do it,” Alexandrov said. “It was the last dual meet of my college career, so it was a good way to end it.”

The two seniors had a combined three NCAA “A” automatic qualifying times and won clutch events to help the Wildcats defeat No. 12 Michigan and No. 13 Ohio State 189.5-144.5 and 185.5-148.5, respectively, in Columbus, Ohio.

Winning helped assuage pains of last year’s loss to the Wolverines for the veteran guys.

“I remember last year and it didn’t feel good,” sophomore Eric Nilsson said. “It was something they had done for awhile, but it was really exciting beating them this year.”

Michigan’s loss was especially meaningful because it broke two of the Wolverines’ winning streaks.

Michigan hadn’t lost to a conference foe in 38 consecutive dual meets and also had beat NU 32 straight times dating back to the 1928-29 season in series where the Wolverines are 35-3 overall.

That was before this weekend when the Cats won 12 of 16 swimming events and broke seven pool records and three individual NCAA “A” qualifying times.

“I don’t think anyone has ever swump both those teams in one meet,” NU coach Bob Groseth said. “It was a lot of fun for our guys to win against two very talented teams.”

Grevers won all of his events and set two individual pool records and two more in relays.

To finish the first day of competition, Grevers and Alexandrov both won their events and Grevers anchored the final leg of the 200-yard freestyle relay to send the Cats home for the day with leads they would never relinquish.

The next day the Cats started out strong, winning the first six events and ended up winning seven of nine events to close out the meet, while Alexandrov faced a crossroads in his events.

“I think I’ve turned more into a sprinter than a middle-distance swimmer,” Alexandrov said. “It does make me feel different and it makes sense to adapt my training. It puts a new perspective on the types of warm-ups I need to do.”

Even in the events NU didn’t win, the top swimmers still finished strong.

Nilsson touched the wall second by just .22 seconds in the 200-yard butterfly with a time that would have broken the current pool record had he finished first. In addition, several of the Cats’ younger swimmers had solid performances that gave the team much-needed depth.

“The other guys coming through really made the difference for us,” Groseth said. “Our breaststrokers were the most significant, John Franklin and Alex Hostoffer as well as our IM guys like Jake Vogel.”

The Buckeyes and Wolverines had tough times overcoming the Cats in the sprint freestyle events when two of NU’s swimmers took the top spots.

Juniors Kyle Bubolz and Bruno Barbic went 1-2 in the 50- and 100-yard freestyles, including an absurdly fast 100 free, where both broke the existing pool records and recorded NCAA “B” consideration times.

Bubolz also won his main event, the 100-yard butterfly, in which he is the reigning Big Ten champion.

The Cats are now looking to rest before the Big Ten Championships in a little more than two weeks, where they will face both teams again.

“I think a lot of people now realize what we can do as a team and that we can be in for the Big Ten title,” Bubolz said. “I don’t think we are necessarily the team to beat, but people take losing personally and that could fire them up.”

Reach Brian Regan at [email protected]

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Unbeatable Wildcats (Men’s Swimming)