Men’s Swimming: NU falls three times in quad-dual meet

Sarah Kuta

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With only 12 healthy swimmers, the Wildcats knew their last quad-dual meet of the season was going to be tough. What they didn’t know was that two of the three schools they were going to face were treating the dual as a tryout for spots on their Big Ten Championship teams.

Northwestern fell to three highly ranked teams this weekend in the last conference dual meet of the season. The final scores Saturday were: Ohio State 270, NU 64; Michigan 244, NU 83; and Penn State 193.5, NU 138.5.

Both Michigan and Ohio State wore technical, full-body race suits although the four schools had previously decided not to wear them. Coach Bob Groseth said that the suit can potentially cut 2 percent to 3 percent off a swimmer’s time.

“We had initially agreed not to wear them,” Groseth said. “That kind of left both Penn State and us just sitting there.”

Groseth said that NU won’t wear the technical suits until the Big Ten Championships. He added that, although the suits were a setback at the meet, it shouldn’t have been a deciding factor in the Cats’ losses.

“We just have to measure how well we swam compared to the rest of the year,” Groseth said. “Hopefully the suits weren’t that big of a factor, but you swim a little differently if you feel you are already at a disadvantage.”

Senior Adam Beckman said he felt that both Michigan and Ohio State treated the meet differently compared to NU. He said that there are only 26 spots for swimmers and divers for each team at the Big Ten Championships, so both Michigan and Ohio State swimmers used this meet to secure a spot on their schools’ championship teams.

“For some of these guys, this was the last meet of the year,” Beckman said. “They were swimming their fastest times at this meet.”

Beckman said that the NU swimmers had times that were faster or comparable to their other dual meet times but the difference in team size was “just too much to overcome.”

Senior Eric Nilsson placed fourth in the 200 meter butterfly, beating Michigan rival Matt Patton, who finished seventh.

“I swam right next to him. That felt good,” Nilsson said. “I was really happy about that swim.”

Nilsson said he noticed that Michigan and Ohio State swimmers appeared rested, as opposed to the Cats after the continuous training they have been doing.

“Before an important meet, the team will back off on yardage,” Nilsson said. “Two of the teams did that, but we are waiting to rest for the championships.”

Groseth commented on the Cats’ rigorous training schedule this year, saying that he has used different strategies with the team in the past. He said that with such a small team this year, they are focusing on training without stopping until the rest period before the championships.

“We swim tough in duals so that we aren’t giving anything away for the big meet,” Groseth said.

Nilsson said he will be working on his starts and turns and on staying rested and healthy for the championships. Beckman said he would be working on his backstroke starts and the first five or six strokes off the block.

Nilsson said that, after the weekend’s quad-dual, he has good feelings about the team’s upcoming performance in the Big Ten Championships.

“We should have some pretty exciting swims,” Nilsson said. “We just need to get out there, swim our hearts out and swim as fast as we can.”