Men’s Swimming: Wildcats return from training trip motivated to swim to potential

John Paschall, Reporter

Fate seems to have led senior Charlie Rimkus in a full circle.

After the team had to change its initial practice location, the squad’s co-captain found himself in a very familiar place on the team’s training trip: Mission Viejo High School. It was the pool where Rimkus trained all throughout high school, and it holds a special meaning for him.

“I remember doing that last warm-down set during the training trip and thinking, ‘This could be the last time I swim in this pool,’” Rimkus said. “It was kind of eerie almost to stop abruptly. A lot of people will take that one of two ways. Some will let it get to them and become sad about it and not perform well. Other people will take it and want to put their best foot forward and end their career on a high note. I’m definitely the latter. It excites me. I want to leave my mark.”

The training trip was a much-needed time to recover and regroup for the Cats. Northwestern ended its first half of the season with a dominating performance at the TYR Invitational but dealt with nagging injuries to sophomores Uula Auren and Matthew Margritier. Auren, who is still recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, admits the key to this team’s success in the second half is mental.

“Well, of course, you’re tired,” Auren said. “It’s the end of the week. You might give yourself excuses and individual reasons. But you have to be a team and prepare as well as possible no matter how your body feels. Very often, you are not going to feel perfect before a race.”

Although they won their first meet after the training trip last year, that group of Cats did not look as sharp as they wanted to coming off the blocks. Coach Jarod Schroeder made an adjustment to the schedule and eliminated the time off between the training trip and their next race in hopes of keeping his team fresh this year.

The Cats begin the second half with meets against Milwaukee and Iowa before hosting the NU Invite in early February, their final tune-up before the Big Ten Championships. Schroeder said he knows that because they are a smaller team, he needs his swimmers to be on their game every meet.

“It’s important for us to have everybody swimming well at the same time,” Schroeder said. “If they’re not, we struggle. When you got a bigger team, you can afford to have a few guys that are having an off meet because there will be other guys who can make up for that. When you don’t have a huge roster, you can’t afford for that to happen. That’s our challenge to them.”