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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Men’s Swimming: NU hurt by mistakes at Dallas meet

The mood in the locker room was reserved after Monday’s practice. A disappointing third-place finish at the SMU Classic in Dallas left the Wildcats with more questions than answers.

While the meet saw the Cats swim some of their best individual times of the season, it failed to provide the spark the team was looking for as it moves into the latter portion of the season. Crippled by two disqualifications on Day 1, No. 17 Northwestern fought valiantly and overtook No. 19 USC, but fell short of unranked Arizona State and No. 24 SMU. It was not the result the team had been hoping for.

“There were some good performances,” coach Bob Groseth said. “But we’re still not right where we should be. We need to be swimming faster.”

The presence of the Texas-All Stars, a team which included a number of former Olympic gold medalists, also changed the complexion of the meet. Although the team won every race, their results didn’t count in the standings. The NU swimmers insisted this didn’t alter how they approached their races, but their inability to finish first made it impossible for them to find the big swim they needed.

“It’s easy to generate momentum when you’re winning events,” Groseth said. “But when you’re racing against world record holders it’s not often you do.”

In its first meet since the break, NU looked tired and struggled to finish races. In the 500-yard freestyle, junior Eric Nilsson hung tough for the first 50 yards against Texas-All Star David Cromwell, before falling back and losing the race by eight seconds.

Two disqualifications in the first two events didn’t help either. In the 400 medley relay, one of the Cats’ better races, the team bowed out after an illegal dolphin kick during the breaststroke portion of the medley.

In the 400 Individual Medley that followed, freshman Peter Park was eliminated after failing to do a proper pullout and start his stroke with a butterfly kick. These costly mistakes put NU in a early hole, one that was impossible to recover from.

Despite these long odds, the team did manage to stay close to first place, buoyed by some strong individual performances.

Senior Kyle Bubolz swam one of the races of the year in the 100 fly. He stayed toe-to-toe with Texas All-Star Ian Crocker, the world record holder in the event, and posted NU’s first NCAA “A” qualifying time, finishing a mere second behind Crocker, who has won two Olympic gold medals. Nilsson continued his strong season, beating all college swimmers in the 500 free and 200 fly, both “B” qualifying times.

The surprise of the meet according to Groseth was the strong performance of freshman Alex Tyler. He posted four lifetime-best scores, including NU’s season-best time in the 400 IM.

“I thought we fought hard,” junior Adam Beckman said. “With a couple of better swims down the line, we probably could have finished second, even with the disqualifications.”

With no major wins to date and only two meets left until the Big Ten Championships, NU needs to take advantage of these opportunities if they expect to compete against strong conference competition.

Reach James Graham at [email protected].

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Men’s Swimming: NU hurt by mistakes at Dallas meet