Men’s Swimming: Northwestern falls to Minnesota, Purdue in final dual meet of season


Keshia Johnson/The Daily Northwestern

Carter Page swims in this weekend’s meet. The freshman distance specialist won the 500-yard freestyle in 4:33.60.

Tucker Johnson, Reporter

Swimming and Diving

Northwestern was simply outmatched in this weekend’s meet against No. 20 Minnesota and Purdue.

The Wildcats lost to the Golden Gophers 224-129 and fell 186-167 to the Boilermakers. NU won only four of 19 events at the two-day meet, and three of those victories came from redshirt freshman Anthony Marcantonio.

Marcantonio has been on fire in recent weeks, not only dominating his competition but also seeing consistent improvements in his own performance.

“(The meet) went pretty well,” Marcantonio said after winning the 200-yard Individual Medley and setting personal bests while winning the 200-yard freestyle and 200-yard backstroke.

After setting personal-best times in the 200 freestyle the past two weeks against Notre Dame and Iowa, Marcantonio was able to pull off yet another improvement as he swam 1:38.62 on Friday and won a tightly contested race. With 50 yards remaining, Marcantonio held a comfortable lead of almost a second over Minnesota’s Paul Fair, but Fair began to close the gap during their final lap. Marcantonio just held on to win by six hundredths of a second.

His win in the 200-yard backstroke came with a much more comfortable margin, as he finished in a strong 1:47.50. The second place finisher, Purdue’s Tim Barth, was a full 2.5 seconds behind Marcantonio, coming in with a 1:50.28. To put Marcantonio’s win in perspective, six swimmers finished within 2.5 seconds of Barth.

“I really attacked the walls in the second 100 and really picked up my tempo in the last 50,” Marcantonio said. “I’m not sure if I’ll be swimming the 200 back or 200 breast at Big Tens. I’m open to either one. After today it’s really up to (coach Jarod Schroeder).”

The Cats’ fourth win came from freshman Carter Page in the 500-yard freestyle. Page has had a strong season in the distance freestyle events, winning both the 500 and 1,000 at several meets this season.

Page’s technique to finish the race was the difference. As he entered the final 100 yards of the race, his stroke was relaxed and fluid, while his closest competitor’s form was breaking down. Page held off the Minnesota challenger to win in 4:33.60.

“I was pretty happy with how I swam today,” Page said. “(The 500 freestyle) did not feel easy. It hurt pretty bad. But that’s what I train for, so I’m used to trying to keep my technique under fatigue.”

This was NU’s final regular-season meet before the Big Ten Championships in West Lafayette, Indiana, in late February. Although the Cats lost to some of the Big Ten’s most powerful teams this weekend, strong individual performances have left them hopeful for the upcoming meet.

“I’m super excited for Big Tens,” Page said. “I think I’ve taken the necessary steps along the way to be successful there.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @kentuckyjohnson