Cats best all but Buckeyes

Steven Montero

With 100 yards to go, junior Hannah Points was trailing Ohio State’s Angela Severn when she pulled off a split-second victory, out-touching her opponent by 0.11 seconds.

Points’ win in the 400-yard individual medley Saturday was one of Northwestern’s highlights at Notre Dame’s Shamrock Invitational. NU defeated Notre Dame, University of Denver, and Iowa, but fell to “a very good Ohio State Team,” head coach Jimmy Tierney said.

The meet was scored as a series of individual duals between the schools, a change in format from the tournament-style scoring used at NU’s TYR Invitational in November. The Shamrock Invitational was the last regular-season meet for the Wildcats, who will now focus on the upcoming conference championship.

“I had a really good second half of the race,” Points said. “I was pretty happy with it considering that Big Tens are coming up very soon.”

The Cats came out strong in the first event, winning the 200-yard freestyle relay. The team featured senior Liza Engstrom, juniors Jenny Wilson and Meghan Cavanaugh and sophomore Taylor Reynolds.

NU remained competitive throughout the weekend and finished second to Ohio State in the last relay, the 400-yard freestyle. Tierney said this performance, though not a victory, was one of the team’s best times in a non-championship meet.

“They got to sort of see where they were,” Tierney said. “Being as large as it was, in reference to the number of teams there, it was hard to plan and set up a strategy. So we just tried to basically take care of our own events.”

Other notable swimmers were freshman Jackie Powell and junior Jacquie Godbe, both of whom had “terrific” performances in the 200-yard freestyle, Tierney said. Powell finished third and Godbe followed in fifth at the event.

Powell said she was happy with the meet’s outcome, despite the team’s disqualification during the 800-yard freestyle relay due to a false start on the last leg.The Cats had been in second place behind Ohio State in the relay, and it cost them valuable points.

“There was a miscommunication,” Powell said. “It’s just a minor setback that we can learn from and hopefully not make the same mistake again at Big Tens.”

The two-day invitational also hosted several diving events. Freshman Cosima Lenz won the one-meter diving competition and achieved a personal best with a score of 297.15. Lenz defeated her older sister, sophomore Felicitas Lenz, in both diving events, which was a “change from the rest of the season,” Tierney said.

“Cosima Lenz did a pretty outstanding job,” he said. “It just shows how talented they really are.”

Points said the Cats will now begin to hit their taper and have “a couple more mornings to sleep in.” The goal of the taper is to give the swimmers’ bodies a chance to rest from months of intensive training and post their fastest times of the season.

She said the recuperation will help the team redouble its efforts against Ohio State and the rest of the Big Ten in the championships on Feb. 16-19.

“I’m looking forward to enjoying the experience with the whole team, cheering everybody on,” Powell said. “The last six months everybody has put in an incredible amount of work and it’s definitely going to pay off at Big Tens.”

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