Men’s Swimming: Wildcats look to rebound at home in TYR Invitational

John Paschall, Reporter

Just when the Wildcats thought they could catch their breath after three meets in six days, they are back racing in the pool at Norris Aquatics Center. Not only does Northwestern face another dual meet, but the race is in Big Ten Championship format, which consists of preliminaries in the morning and finals at night for the next three days.

“We were pretty tired heading up to Wisconsin,” coach Jarod Schroeder said. “The guys didn’t perform more because of a mental thing than physical. I want to show them they don’t need to be totally rested to swim fast. That’s what we are playing with this week, and I hope it works out.”

Northwestern will have its mental fatigue tested as they welcome three teams — Illinois-Chicago, North Dakota and Kenyon College — the latter being one of the top Division III programs in the country.

After finally putting up two marks in the win column, the Cats responded with two tough loses to Purdue and Wisconsin.

Senior Charlie Rimkus said he does not feel the upcoming meet is a must win but still has high hopes for this weekend.

“We are expecting to win,” Rimkus said. “We are approaching it with the confidence and swagger we need. We are going to go in there and try and do what we need to do. We are going to attack every event and approach it like a big meet.”

Rimkus said Schroeder has been emphasizing how important it is to swim fast in the morning because the team will be going through the same format in a few months for the Big Ten Championships.

“If we aren’t used to swimming fast at 9 a.m. now, we are going to have to get used to that somehow,” Rimkus said. “A lot of people can swim well at night, but if you can’t make it to the evening session, it won’t matter how fast you can swim.”

NU comes into this weekend’s meet a little banged up. Sophomore Uula Auren, who had offseason shoulder surgery, was sore after the meet with Wisconsin but is expected to still participate in this weekend’s meet. Sophomore Matthew Margriter will not race this weekend due to a back injury and freshman Nick Bessler is out indefinitely and will undergo shoulder surgery in December.

Senior Alex Ratajczyk said when the team loses swimmers of a certain caliber to injuries, there can be a ripple effect across the team.

“It’s such a crucial part that everyone is doing what they are supposed to be doing,” Ratajczyk said. “But when someone falls off, it’s like we really got to push further. It’s almost like a feeling of loss. Everyone has to step up a little more when someone goes down like that.”

After the meet, some NU swimmers will head to USA Nationals in Austin to compete and then join the rest of the team on their training trip in California.

Schroeder is more concerned about how his team performs individually than sweeping this weekend’s contests.

“If they do swim well,” Schroeder said, “it will make swimming at the training trip a little easier to swallow.”