Women’s Swimming: Jenny Wilson breaks school record to earn All-American honors

Callie Counsellor

While many Northwestern students headed off to exotic locations for spring break, Jenny Wilson and Taylor Reynolds packed their bags for Auburn, Ala., to compete in their first trip to the NCAA Championships.

Wilson had a record-setting weekend, smashing a 12-year-old NU record in the preliminaries of the 100-yard breaststroke on Friday. With a time of 59.61 seconds, the senior became only the second Wildcats swimmer to break the one-minute mark in the event. The time also earned her first team All-American honors and a spot in Friday night’s ‘A’ finals, in which she finished eighth.

“That was a pretty special moment, probably one of the most special moments in the history of our program,” coach Jimmy Tierney said.

Wilson also swam in the 200-yard breaststroke preliminaries on Saturday, finishing 26th with a time of 2:11.54.

For Reynolds, qualifying for the NCAA Championships was a huge accomplishment in itself. The junior sat out most of the fall season with an injury but came back to shine at the Big Ten Championships and earned a trip to Auburn.

At the NCAA Championships, she finished 36th in the 50-yard freestyle preliminaries and 48th in the 100-yard freestyle preliminaries.

“Taylor was good, just not great and she had to be great to get a final swim,” Tierney said. “Part of that was probably not her fault. We had extended her an extra week after Big Ten (Championships) to do that last-chance meet at Purdue and I think it just kind of took her away from her conditioning a little too much.”

Despite not qualifying for either of the finals heats, Reynolds said she enjoyed the experience of the NCAA Championships.

“Just to have the opportunity to go was pretty awesome,” she said. “It was definitely the most energetic and most exciting meet I’d ever been to, which is kind of what you would expect from a national championship.”

Overall, Northwestern finished 35th out of 50 teams, with all 11 of its points coming from Wilson’s 100-yard breaststroke swim.

While Wilson will graduate in the spring, Reynolds will be back next year to compete for another NCAA Championships bid. Her experience this year will benefit both her and her teammates.

“I think it’s helpful having a person who’s been to the (NCAA Championships),” Reynolds said. “I’ll know what to expect and what it’s going to take to make it back next year, and I also can spread the excitement that I got from that meet to the team and we can get more people there next year.”

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