Men’s Swimming: Northwestern fades late to tie Notre Dame, falters against Michigan

John Paschall, Reporter

Nobody likes a tie, especially coach Jarod Schroeder.

“To come back and tie, it is kind of like kissing your sister,” he said. “It’s not that exciting when you come away with a tie.”

But Saturday, Northwestern had to settle for a 150-150 tie with Notre Dame after collapsing late in the meet. NU also lost to Michigan, the defending national champions, 177-115.

The Wildcats looked to be in control with a double-digit lead against the Fighting Irish, until Notre Dame dominated the 200-yard IM and 3-meter diving events to launch them into the lead with one event to go. Both NU relays were able to beat Notre Dame, and the Cats managed to pull off the tie.

“I’m disappointed with it,” Schroeder said. “We let the meet slip away. There’s a lot of different opportunities where you can make up for lost points.”

Still, there were some positives NU could extract from the meet. Having young swimmers like freshmen Jack Morris and Charlie Cole step up on the final relay against a big opponent when their team needed them most will prove to be valuable when the Big Ten Championships roll around.

The Cats also snapped a three-year losing streak to the Fighting Irish. Senior Chase Stephens said it is a positive sign to see the team’s depth improving and swimming fast against the nation’s best teams.

“Over the past couple of years since I’ve been here, we’ve struggled with depth,” he said. “It’s definitely a good sign of Jarod building up the team.”

Sophomore Jordan Wilimovsky was able to get a good look at Michigan senior Connor Jaeger, his biggest competitor for a potential conference or national championship in several distance freestyle events. In his second time racing against Jaeger, Wilimovsky improved immensely and was able to hang with the former national champion and USA Swimming member throughout most of the 1,000-yard freestyle. When Jaeger made a move, Wilimovsky responded and kept pace. Although he lost, the sophomore was encouraged by his time.

“I went into the race just hoping to stay as close to him as possible,” he said. “Staying close with him is definitely a confidence booster going into Big Tens.”

The schedule doesn’t get much easier as Iowa marches into the Norris Aquatics Center for senior night. The Cats have not beaten the Hawkeyes since the 2005-2006 season.

Schroeder will continue to preach the same message to his team: They must believe they can hang with anyone.

“We’re still working on the confidence,” he said. “Having our guys believe in themselves and that they can beat teams that are supposed to be ranked higher than them will be the key.”

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