Men’s Swimming: Cats shine in tune-up meet against Lewis, Carthage

John Paschall and John Paschall

January will prove to be a true measure of how good Northwestern will be heading into the Big Ten Championships.

If Saturday’s results were any indication of what is to come, expect the Wildcats (4-1, 1-1) to fair well these next few weeks.

NU nearly swept the board of victories in all of the men’s events on Saturday, defeating Lewis University (112-69) and Carthage College (116-81) soundly.

Two swimmers, sophomore Chase Stevens and junior Alexander Ratajczyk, also won for the first time in their collegiate careers when they tied for first in the 50m free.

With most swimmers racing in their off-events, coach Jarod Schroeder was pleased with how the team responded.

“We had a bunch of guys who were in off-events that stepped up,” Schroeder said. “The times aren’t going to blow anyone away. That’s for sure. But we had some guys that raced well and that’s what we used this meet for.”

Junior Charlie Rimkus, who set a pool record in the 200m IM, knew that this first race back from the team’s Hawaii training trip was critical for the squad.

“It’s really important to get back in that racing mode,” Rimkus said of the long gap between meets. “People stepped up pretty well given the fact that we didn’t have a warm up pool and stuff. That’s always hard to get over that mental aspect of it.”

Rimkus also noted that getting away from competition for a while helped the Cats regain their focus.

“The training trip in Hawaii put us in a good place, taking us steps forward to prepare ourselves,” Rimkus said. “It’s always nice to get a little break and clear your mind and get in warm weather and not really have to compete for a while. I think everybody is ready to go and itching to swim fast.”

Schroeder hinted that with these strong results from his swimmers in off-events, he might make a few tweaks to his lineup going into a big matchup with Notre Dame this Saturday.

“I got to see a couple guys swim some events that we don’t traditionally put them in, in dual meets,” Schroeder said. “It makes me rethink what I’m going to do with them next week. There’s a couple of changes that we are going to experiment with at Notre Dame.”

Though the Cats won in impressive fashion on Saturday, avenging last year’s loss at home against the Fighting Irish next weekend in South Bend, Ind., will not be an easy task.

“Not getting touched out is really important,” Rimkus said. “They have a lot of fast guys and a lot of depth. But so do we. Not getting touched out in the second and third spot is really important. It’s easy to overlook sometimes when you’re just watching a meet. But that’s what’s going to win it.”

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