Women’s Swimming: Wildcats gearing up for major competition


Daily file photo by Daniel Tian

Lacey Locke prepares to launch. The junior captain will lead Northwestern this weekend in one of Northwestern’s biggest home events of the year.

Tucker Johnson, Reporter

Swimming and Diving

In their largest regular season meet, Northwestern will host five teams this weekend.

The Wildcats will face off with Michigan State, Truman State, University of Illinois at Chicago, St. Louis University and Grand Canyon University over the course of the next three days. This will be NU’s only multi-day meet until the five-day long Big Ten Championships next February.

“The multi-day meet is important for coaches, to see how (the swimmers) recover from day to day,” said coach Abby Steketee.

Steketee added the meet will serve as a test run of how swimmers will rest and prepare for Big Tens.

For fans of Northwestern swimming, the meet will be a great opportunity to see a broad range of different teams. Michigan State’s women’s team finished last –– 13th of 13 teams –– at the 2015 Big Ten Championships, scoring only 65 points at the meet. St. Louis University, Illinois-Chicago and Grand Canyon all also compete in Division I, and GCU has the distinction of being the first and only for-profit college or university to compete in Division I athletics.

This weekend will also be the Cats’ only opportunity to compete in various events that are included at Big Ten and NCAA Championship meets, but are not typically included in the regular season. This will give swimmers an opportunity to race in all five of the different relays instead of just two during a normal dual meet, as well as the very first 1650 yard freestyle of the season. Additionally, the meet will include some uncommon races, including a 50-yard event in each stroke and a 100-yard Individual Medley.

Only the 50-yard freestyle normally takes place.

Swimmers will be limited to two individual events per day, but because the meet will include preliminary heats and finals, a swimmer who qualifies for finals in every event may swim as many as 15 races over the course of the weekend.

“Even though the stakes aren’t as high at a meet like this, we’re pretending they are so that we know what to do at Big Tens,” junior captain Ellen Stello said.

Stello’s co-captain, junior Lacey Locke, agreed, saying it is a good opportunity to rehearse for Big Tens, where swimmers will have to race at a high level multiple times a day for several days.

Despite last week’s loss to Wisconsin, the team is in high spirits going into this meet. The swimmers will have two days of de-loading, or a lower volume of swimming, before the meet. While not a true, multi-week taper, this will leave the team slightly better rested for its competition.

“We have to race with really fierce energy (in the meet), and when it comes down to it you want to get back to that energy you have when you’re a kid in summer league and are just giving it all you’ve got,” Steketee said.

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