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

The Daily Northwestern

32° Evanston, IL
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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Swimming: Cats sweep Big Ten Swimmer of the Week awards for first time

Northwestern’s swimming program has seen Olympians and Big Ten champions. But until this week, a male and female Northwestern swimmer had never held the title of Big Ten Swimmer of the Week at the same time.

Add that accomplishment to the medals and trophies in the Wildcats’ trophy case.

Senior freestyler Eric Nilsson split the award with Purdue’s Aaron Koger on the men’s side, and junior freestyler Emily Wong got the award on the women’s side after the teams’ dual meet against Purdue on Friday.

Although the Big Ten has been giving out these awards on a weekly basis since 1998, NU swimmers have never pulled off the co-ed sweep.

But thanks to winning swims by Wong in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter free and by Nilsson in the 200 meter free, 200 meter fly and 500 meter free, the Cats picked up both of the honors.

Men’s coach Bob Groseth said that awards such as these were confidence boosts for the athletes.

“It’s a recognition of what they’ve done as swimmers,” Groseth said. “It’s good to see them get the recognition they deserve. Eric is one of the better swimmers in the Big Ten Conference.”

One school winning both awards in the conference is uncommon.

It happened four times last year and has not happened since Scott Rice and Jen Illescas of Wisconsin swept the awards on Dec. 11, 2007.

Nilsson and Wong were not the first NU swimmers to win the awards this year. Junior Kassia Shishkoff earned the honor after the Cats’ first meet of the year, a loss to Indiana.

Nilsson has won the award three times in his career.

Both NU teams take to the water today to face Wisconsin in the teams’ third meet of the season.

The Cats then return home to swim against Illinois-Chicago and University of Chicago on Saturday at SPAC.

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Swimming: Cats sweep Big Ten Swimmer of the Week awards for first time