Women’s Swimming: Northwestern looks for big upset in last dual meet


Daniel Tian/Daily Senior Staffer

Lacey Locke launches into the pool. The junior will look to lead the team this weekend despite several Wildcats coming down with headcolds.

Tucker Johnson, Reporter

Swimming and Diving

The Wildcats will have their work cut out for them in the final dual meet of the season as they take on No. 18 Purdue and No. 24 Minnesota.

Last time out, Northwestern easily put away Iowa, winning 190.5-109.5. The team won 12 of 16 events at the meet, as the Hawkeyes were unable to answer a dominant performance from NU.

“Last weekend against Iowa we had really passionate finishes,” coach Abby Steketee said. “We need the same thing this weekend, whether we’re ten yards ahead or ten yards behind.”

In addition to the tougher opponents, the Cats will be fighting an uphill battle against their own health this weekend. A number of swimmers have come down with similar minor head colds.  Steketee described it as stuffy noses and other general cold symptoms — relatively minor but still an annoyance for the athletes at practice.

Despite the illnesses, Steketee said the team has been swimming well in practice, and the swimmers have done a good job working with the medical staff to expedite their recoveries.

“Every opportunity is an opportunity to get out there and race, and we’ve got nothing to lose,” junior captain Lacey Locke said. “Any day is an opportunity to win.”

Freshman diver Olivia Rosendahl earned accolades for her performance last week against Iowa, winning both the 1-meter and 3-meter diving competitions, and setting a Norris Aquatics Center record in the 1-meter event. For her effort, she won her second consecutive, and fourth overall, Big Ten Freshman of the Week award. She was also honored as Big Ten Diver of the Week.

Going into their final meet, NU’s swimmers are hopeful this will be a stepping stone on their path to a successful meet at the Big Ten Championships in February. As the Cats begin their taper, reducing their practice workload as they enter the end of the season, this meet will be their best opportunity yet to see how they will perform at the season’s most important meet, Steketee said.

“This year has been a lot more yardage, a lot more mid-distance freestyle and pace work,” senior Julianne Kurke said. “I’m excited to see how that translates as the season comes to a close.”

Last time out, Minnesota won both competitions at a triple dual meet in Colorado, defeating Denver 201-151 and Brigham Young by a staggering score of 282-70. Purdue is coming off a 185.5-114.5 loss to then-No. 16 Indiana last weekend, the Boilermakers’ first dual meet competition since they defeated Iowa the first week of November.

Both teams are full of strong swimmers, which will be a great opportunity for the Cats, Steketee said.

“If you want to be the best, you’ve got to race the best,” Steketee said. “And you have to do it without fear, without making excuses.”

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