The Daily Northwestern

Women’s Swimming: Two relays behind them, Wildcats start individual events in Big Tens

Kendra Mayer, Reporter

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Northwestern starts its individual events of the Big Ten Championships on Thursday having trooped through an intense dual meet season to reach this climax of NCAA swimming, which is hosted at Minneapolis from Feb. 19-22.

The tournament officially kicked off Wednesday with two relay races. The Wildcats finished as a mid-ranked squad last year in the competition, posting enough points to secure the team a solid eighth place. That standing put them ahead of rival Iowa, who the Cats recently defeated by 2 points at the Shamrock Invitational.

The Cats finished with a 6-6 in-season dual meet record. The depth of freshman swimmers such as Lacey Locke and Lauren Abruzzo added new talent and energy to the team, helping NU to stay positive even after a few close losses late in the season.

Senior Mary Kate Campbell said she has many different goals for the meet.

“It would be nice to go out on a good note and just say, ‘Wow, all four years were really good Campbell posted two of her lifetime best scores at the Shamrock Invitational and the Iowa dual meet, and she hopes to keep up that positive momentum.

“My goal is to either improve on those scores or at least match them … the meet is still a lot about doing well for the team,” she said.

Campbell will first compete in Thursday morning’s prelims in the 1-meter springboard and will have to achieve at least 16th place to stay in the competition for finals that night. Diving will continue with the 3-meter springboard on Friday and the platform events on Saturday.

Another senior, Fallon Fitzpatrick, said her main objective for her final Big Tens is to provide support for the rest of the team.

“I want to keep the energy high and keep the confidence up, so everyone is feeling good,” she said.

Fitzpatrick highlighted that while swimming is largely an individual sport, at the Big Tens no one is merely swimming for herself. The senior said she is excited to see some fast times and high scores, but it’s the “team factor” of Big Tens that truly makes it unique.

“It’s still really special to have 25 girls behind me when I’m on the block,” Fitzpatrick said. “They’ve been with me through the thick and thin.”

Twitter: @kendra_mayer