Still Tops, Even In 5th Place

Abe Rakov

By Abe RakovThe Daily Northwestern

The Northwestern men’s swimming team dominated the Big Ten Championships this weekend – but finished fifth.

The Wildcats won 10 titles, four more than Michigan, which had the second most championships. But it was Minnesota probably chanting “First is the worst, second is the best!” as the Gophers won the Big Ten Championship by winning just one event.

The Big Ten Championships reward deep, consistent teams because they have more opportunities to score points than smaller but superiorly-skilled ones. That proved true this year, as Minnesota won only one an event at this year’s Championships (and remember, NU won 10). But because the Gophers had many good but not great swims, they managed to compile enough points to win the meet by four points by winning the last event.

But the shaft at Big Tens shouldn’t mean much to the Cats, as they have bigger things coming up at the NCAA Championships.

And even with the fifth-place team finish, senior Mike Alexandrov still managed to be named’s National Swimmer of the Week for the second time this year. He set five Big Ten, pool and school records last weekend, winning six total events.

He, along with two-time defending National Champion Matt Grevers and the rest of the Cats, seemed poised to make a run at the NCAA Championships.

New record holder

NU senior softball player Garland Cooper set a school record with her 35th career home run in a 3-2 win over Sacramento State on Saturday. Cooper, the two-time defending Big Ten Player of the Year, is now in sixth place all alone on the Big Ten’s all-time list.

Cooper and the No. 6 Cats are a disappointing 6-4 on the season, but teams from cold weather generally struggle at the beginning of the season because they can’t practice outside due to freezing temperatures. NU still has some of the best talent in the nation, so this early season struggle probably will be forgotten by the Big Ten season.

Athlete of the week

Eileen Canney. The senior threw the third no-hitter of her career in the Cats’ 10-1 win over No. 11 Cal. Canney threw all six innings, striking out six batters and giving up one unearned run.

Home game to watch

Fencing hosts the NU Duals II at SPAC all day Saturday and Sunday. If you haven’t seen the No. 5 Cats yet this year, this is your last chance.

Deputy Sports Editor Abe Rakov is a Medill junior. His NU Notes column runs every Wednesday. Reach him at [email protected]