Coach Jarod Schroeder predicted at the beginning of the year that freshman Jordan Wilimovsky would break records in distance freestyle events during his career at Northwestern.
He just didn’t know it would be this soon.
Competing in only his fifth collegiate meet, Wilimovsky broke an eight-year-old Norris Aquatics Center pool record in the 1650-meter free style and was just a few seconds off from topping the school record.
“He’s an energizer bunny,” Schroeder said. “You wind him up and watch him go.”
Wilimovsky said he felt confident at the 1,000 meter mark he was going to go under the pool record but noticed that he was just out of reach of the school record.
“My goal for the whole season was to go under 15 (minutes),” Wilimovsky said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to do that at Big Tens.”
Senior Charlie Rimkus was more impressed with how the young star carried himself after the race.
“It could have gotten to his head,” Rimkus said. “But he just said it was a good swim and on to the next one and the next practice. It was cool to see someone as down to earth as that.”
Wilimovsky was not the only swimmer from NU to thrive during this weekend’s first place finish in the TYR Invitational. Rimkus, who joins a group of NU swimmers heading to USA Swimming Nationals soon, posted two NCAA “B” cut times in the 400-meter IM and the 200-meter fly. The senior said he was able to take a lot away from his great times this weekend.
“I was a little surprised in some cases with what I can do when I’m tired,” Rimkus said. “It’ll definitely give me confidence when I have a little more rest before meets.”
In previous years, the Cats had more time to rest before the TYR Invitational. But Schroeder wanted to push his team, knowing it could handle the wear-and-tear. Junior Tim Smith said the squad gained a lot of confidence after the meet.
“We were able to swim fast without really resting,” Smith said. “That’s something we need to be able to do midseason. We need to be able to swim tired. For some guys to post up season best times is good.”
Though their night times were fast, Schroeder still wants to see more improvement in the morning swims.
“There was still a little feeling that our guys knew they were going to make it back,” Schroeder said. “They weren’t quite as focused as they needed to be in the morning. We have to find that other gear in the morning session. It’s tough to wake up early in the morning and swim fast. That’s why in most meets finals are faster than prelims.”
NU heads off to its winter training trip in California in December and will try to keep the momentum of the dominating win at the TYR Invitational going. The biggest challenge for the Cats will be to maintain that racing mentality during their seven-week break. Rimkus said he wants to teach some of the younger swimmers that there is a lot more to training.
“Approach every practice like it’s a meet,” Rimkus said. “The freshmen are starting to notice that it’s just one big race. We’ve started to instill that in our attitudes everyday.”