Men’s Swimming: Wisconsin spoils Auren’s return as Wildcats come up short in Madison

John Paschall, Reporter

Sophomore Uula Auren was so excited to get back to racing last Thursday that he committed one of the cardinal sins of swimming: He underestimated his opponent.

“I was thinking that I could outrace him if I had a lot of energy at the end,” the breaststroker said of his 100-meter race. “Him being the 200 guy and me being the 100 guy just didn’t work out. I hadn’t done my research either.”

Auren, who had a lead after the first 50 meters, was out-touched by Wisconsin freshman John Bushman by .02 seconds.

The Wildcats had to build a strong lead in the first half of the meet because the Badgers’  stronger events came up towards the end. Ultimately, the lead was just not big enough. Wisconsin compiled six second-half victories to win 162-129 last Thursday.

“We were banking on building a pretty big cushion in the first half of the 16-event order,” coach Jarod Schroeder said. “But we didn’t build that big of a lead for what they had at the end. It was disappointing. I’m not going to sugarcoat a poor performance on our part.”

Schroeder said Auren was not the only one who came in unprepared to the meet. A handful of NU swimmers simply did not know their opponents well.

“It happened to us in the backstroke as well,” Schroeder said. “Our guys, who pride themselves on being sprint backstrokers, let him (the Wisconsin swimmer) beat them to the first wall. … Our guys weren’t in tune with whom they were racing. They didn’t adjust their race strategy to combat their strengths.”

After racing in three meets in a six-day span, senior Charlie Rimkus said he started to notice fatigue in the pool.

“The consistency with racing just wasn’t there,” Rimkus said. “There were some mistakes here and there. It looked like we were tired. We were pretty flat in the water.”

Following the loss in Madison, Wis., Schroeder said the team needs to be more hungry in each meet, beginning with better preparation in practice.

“The team is capable of taking a step forward, but we need to make that decision,” Schroeder said. “We need to approach every single practice like they are going to go up on the next rung of the ladder. That’s what I’m hoping to see over the next few days and into the weekend.”

Auren said that for the Cats to succeed this weekend at the TYR Invitational in Evanston, each swimmer must take fate into his own hands.

“You can’t rely on anyone else winning or scoring points,” Auren said. “… If you can’t beat their number one guy, you have to beat their two or three. You can’t rely on other people doing that.”