Men’s Swimming: Wildcats look to finish strong in final regular season dual meet

John Paschall, Reporter

Coach Jarod Schroeder had a meeting with athletic director Jim Phillips at the beginning of the season to go over the team’s season goals. Schroeder didn’t make any bold, Rex Ryan-style predictions. Instead, he was quite modest.

“We were hoping to finish above .500 this season,” Schroeder said.

Now, the Wildcats are looking at potentially finishing their 2013-14 campaign at 7-3-1, if they beat the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Friday in Northwestern’s final dual meet of the regular season.

One of the most impressive parts of the Cats’ successful season has been their ability to step up their game during critical moments. After a late collapse in a recent meet against Notre Dame, NU was able to salvage a tie thanks to a 1-2 finish from the final relay team. Then, on Senior Day, the Cats came up clutch again, snatching the top two spots in the 400-yard freestyle relay to shock the Iowa Hawkeyes. Since everyone has bought into the team aspect, Schroeder said, the results have started to show the Cats can swim with almost anyone.

“I told our team this season that talent wise, I don’t know if we’re any better than last year,” Schroeder said. “In terms of our approach to meets and the way we are supporting each other and getting behind guys, I think we are better team than last year.”

Milwaukee, however, won’t exactly be a pushover. Two years ago, the Panthers caught Wisconsin sleeping in Madison and upset the Badgers. Schroeder said he will most likely roll out his best medley relay unit to start the meet in order to set the tone. Senior Chase Stephens said he hopes the team can use this upcoming meet to focus on the little things that could help them at the Big Ten Championships next month.

“We want to take things we need to work on and focus on that during this meet, most importantly those third individual swims like we have at Big Tens,” Stephens said. “Most people only do two individual races, but I think we need to focus on those third individual races at Milwaukee.”

Stephens also said the Cats aren’t looking to sleepwalk through this meet and are expecting to leave victorious.

“We are not going to just give it to them,” Stephens said. “We are going to put out a lineup that will win the meet.”

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