Men’s Swimming: ‘Broken down’ Cats boiled in Big Ten opener, fall to Purdue

Northwestern was topped by Big Ten foe Purdue on Saturday, dropping its first conference meet of the season, 182-116.

Coach Jarod Schroeder said fatigue was a contributing factor in Saturday’s defeat, conceding the Boilermakers were in better condition.

“We’re at a little different point in the season than they are. They were well rested,” Schroeder said. “We’ve had a few tough practices this week. And when you put that together with midterms, it’s clear that our guys are pretty broken down.”

The Wildcats (1-1, 0-1 Big Ten) put themselves in an early hole when they were disqualified in the 200-yard relay – the first event of the meet. Their struggles carried over into the early individual events as well, in which the Boilermakers (3-0, 1-0) took first place in the 1,000-yard free and 200-yard free.

The Cats’ first win came from an unlikely source, freshman Uula Auren, who tapped out Purdue’s Albert Miller in a come-from-behind victory in the 100-yard breaststroke.

“Uula has been a really pleasant surprise,” Schroeder said. “He doesn’t have much experience, but he really stepped up for us today.”

Two other bright spots for NU on Saturday were junior co-captain Charlie Rimkus and senior Jake Grosser. Grosser posted a NU-best 21.13 in the 50-yard freestyle and received first-place points in the 100-yard butterfly. Rimkus won the 200-yard individual medley and nearly took the 200-yard butterfly as well. He led for much of the way, but Purdue’s Eduard Galdeano nipped him at the wire, winning the race by .06 seconds.

Rimkus is confident that he would have come away with a first-place finish in the 200-yard butterfly on Saturday if he were fully rested.

“I definitely would have been able to close those that one out and get the win,” Rimkus said. “It’s just a completely different feeling in the water when you’re rested. (Galdeano) was way behind going into the last 50. That’s the kind of last 50 that you’ll have when you’re rested.”

Purdue swept the top three spots in the 1-meter and 3-meter springboards, outcomes that Grosser expected coming into Saturday’s meet.

“Your game plan kind of includes being down those 30 points,” Grosser said. “Obviously it’s not ideal, but all we can do is try to outswim them by 30 points.”

NU will take on Wisconsin at home on Friday in its second conference meet of the season.

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