Swimming and Diving
The three-day TYR invitational at the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion pool climaxed with the final event of its final day.
The men’s 400-yard free relay closed out the tournament, with Northwestern taking the win by 0.33 of a second. The relay team’s anchor, freshman Almog Olshtein, helped NU secure the relay victory.
“It came down to me for the last leg of the relay, and I knew I had to open up the first 50 really fast,” Olshtein said. “I was excited. It’s always nice to win.”
Despite being new to the American collegiate swimming style of competition, Olshtein, a 21-year-old freshman from Haifia, Israel, has adjusted to the different schedule.
“I went from competing four or five times a year to right now competing every weekend,” Olshtein said. “It’s like midterms, I used to swim only with finals, so now I have midterms every week so I can improve from competition to competition.”
Olshtein competed on the Israeli National Team before coming to NU, and he has been performing well with the Wildcats so far this season. He finished first in both the 50 and 100 freestyle this weekend.
“The great thing that I’ve seen is that he’s getting better and better every single meet and that he’s taking a step forward every single meet,” coach Jarod Schroeder said. “It was fun to see him at the end of that relay really come into his own.”
NU placed second in the invitational after the three days of competition, yielding first place to Michigan State. NU was followed by Saint Louis in third, Illinois-Chicago in fourth and Truman State in fifth place.
Schroeder decided to take a different approach to the TYR invitational this year by placing more emphasis on his plans for the second half of the season.
“For the last couple of years this meet has kind of been the highlight of our performances during the season, and then we would lose a little bit at the end of the season at Big Tens,” Schroeder said. “We decided not to shave or rest for it but just swim it through to see how well we can do and save our best swimming for the end of the year.”
Schroeder noted the importance placed on expected performances at the end of the season versus the middle of the season competitions, such as the TYR, as a reason for the limited rest offered to the swimmers.
“We had to make sure we were continuing to work hard last week and not spend too much time resting the guys or preparing them for this meet,” Schroeder said. “Then, the challenge is as an athlete you have to try and step up when the conditions may not be ideal for you or you may not be feeling as fresh as some other people.”
The team understood the emphasis of using this meet as a platform to gain experience for tougher competitions coming up later in the season.
“From a swimming standpoint, we were not rested going into this meet,” junior captain Van Donkersgoed said. “I think the focus was really on learning how to race in this setting and then taking what we’ve learned this weekend and translating it into dual meet performances, especially against the harder opponents that we have during the second half of the season.”
Schroeder noted performances from junior Jordan Wilimovsky who won the 1,650 freestyle event with a time that places him third in the nation. Wilimovsky also placed first in the 500 freestyle and 400 individual medley competitions. Schroeder also highlighted freshman Alex Snarski, who won the 200 backstroke, and sophomore Andy Jovanovic, who won the 50 and 100 backstroke and contributed to the 400 free relay team’s success.
Sophomore Andrew Cramer also won all three of the diving events that occurred over the three days of competition.
Eleven members of the team will go to U.S. Winter Nationals in Greensboro, North Carolina from Dec. 3 to 6. After that, the men will begin their annual winter training trip before returning for collegiate competition in 2015.
“For this competition we didn’t have a chance to rest, so it’s going to be so nice to rest for a couple of days, maybe a little bit more, before going to Winter Nationals,” Olshtein said. “We’re going to sleep well, and we will see it in the results. It’s going to be a lot faster. It’s going to be really exciting.”
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