Men’s Swimming: Wildcats split dual meet on Senior Day

Freshman Jordan Wilimovsky competes during the 1650-yard distance freestyle. Wilimovksy is undefeated during that event during this season.

Melody Song/The Daily Northwestern

Freshman Jordan Wilimovsky competes during the 1650-yard distance freestyle. Wilimovksy is undefeated during that event during this season.

John Paschall, Reporter

After senior Charlie Rimkus came in second in the 200-yard butterfly, he refused to get out of the pool. He looked around the Norris Aquatics Center at all the Northwestern fans in the stands cheering him on, took one cool down lap in the main pool and finally walked back to the bench.

“I just wanted to take in the last individual event,” Rimkus said.

Rimkus’ second place finish seemed to represent the Wildcats’ overall performance at the Northwestern Invitational, as the Cats came up just short against Notre Dame, 191-177, but defeated Missouri State, 200.5-167.5. Iowa also competed in the NU Invite but was not scored against NU because of their head-to-head meet the previous weekend.

Senior Alex Ratajczyk was able to go out on a winning note as part of the 400-yard freestyle relay team with sophomores Matthew Margritier and Mark Ferguson and junior Chase Stephens, which held on to beat Iowa’s ‘A’ relay. Ratajczyk said going out victorious in his final race meant everything to him.

“I had wanted to earn that spot in the 100 free relay going into the last session,” Ratajczyk said. “I just mentally knew that it was going to work out. I didn’t even feel anything during the race. It was awesome. I saw everyone cheering every time I went to take a breath, and that was incredible.”

Coach Jarod Schroeder pointed to an off performance in the 200-yard medley relay Saturday morning that might have cost the Cats a victory against Notre Dame. NU was a second and a half slower than last year at this time. Schroeder said the team has to find a way to win the close meets against great teams.

“I’m sick and tired of being on the wrong side of close meets like that,” Schroeder said. “I don’t know why but, with close meets, we come up on the short end of the stick. A lot of times, it’s our own undoing.”

Olympic gold medalist and Northwestern graduate Matt Grevers was in town for induction into the Northwestern Athletics Hall of Fame last weekend and talked with the current Cats squad during their meet. Schroeder said Grevers continues to hold tremendous value to the program even after graduating.

“We still get the benefit of having Matt Grevers swim for us five years ago in recruiting,” Schroeder said. “When he’s on TV, they say a product of Northwestern University. At this point, he’s the greatest swimmer in Northwestern history.”

The Cats’ season continues with the Big Ten Championships in Bloomington, Ind., in three weeks. Last year, NU struggled with swimming well in the morning. After surviving a schedule filled with tough opponents, Rimkus believes he has a simple solution to fix the Cats’ issues.

“It’s just plain rest,” Rimkus said. “It’s hard to get up in the morning when you’re broken down and tired from training. As we taper, we will be able to swim faster and bring it home harder and show more spunk in the morning.”