The Daily Northwestern

Women’s Swimming: Wildcats get revenge on Hawkeyes in final in-season matchup

Kendra Mayer, Reporter

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Northwestern rallied for an exciting victory over rival Iowa on Saturday, staking its claim as a tough contender at the upcoming Big Ten Championships.

After the first session of the two-day meet, the Wildcats trailed the Hawkeyes 63-47, but an incredible effort on Saturday gave the Cats a 186-184 victory. NU’s win was that much sweeter because the Hawkeyes bested the Cats last weekend by 10 points on NU’s Senior Day.

Coach Jimmy Tierney said the swimmers started the first session on Friday looking a little more fatigued than he predicted, but the races improved as the weekend went on.

“Certainly Saturday was our better day,” Tierney said. “A lot of things came together and the team ended up doing a terrific job.”

Tierney cited freshmen Lauren Abruzzo and Lacey Locke’s top finishes as a turning point in the meet.

“Those races catapulted us to allow us to get the win,” he said.

Tierney added that the confidence the Cats will take out of this victory is crucial heading into Big Tens. Now, he said it won’t matter if the first session or two of championships doesn’t go perfectly.

“(The swimmers) know that no matter what happens in the first day or so, they can pull it together at the end,” he said.

Junior Valerie Nubbe agreed the team was not at 100 percent going into the invite. Overall, she said, the Cats were pretty tired and worn down.

“It’s definitely a difficult transition time in our training,” Nubbe said.

The Shamrock Invitational comes less than three weeks before Big Tens. For NU, that means practices were still high in yardage and intensity, even until Thursday.

To put in a good showing at the weekend’s meet, Nubbe said every swimmer had to think about winning for the team.

“The effort was really good,” Nubbe said. “We got behind each other and it showed that we do our best when we get together as a team.”

Tierney said he was proud of the meet in that respect and hopes the Cats will bring that energy and camaraderie to Big Tens.

Sprint freestyler Melissa Postoll expressed her excitement for both the upcoming championships and the results of the meet.

“It was the first time where at the end we really showed a will to win,” Postoll said, “which is ultimately our goal for Big Tens.”

Twitter: @kendra_mayer