Women’s Swimming: Northwestern looks to bounce back in pair of meets


Daily file photo by Keshia Johnson

Peyton Greenberg takes a breath. The junior hopes lead NU against a trio of opponents this weekend in Champaign.

Rachel Kupfer, Reporter

Swimming and Diving

After starting off the season with a pair of losses to Georgia and Georgia Tech, Northwestern hopes to turn the tables this weekend and emerge victorious from two upcoming tri-meets.

First up is a Big Ten matchup Friday in Urbana-Champaign against Illinois and Rutgers before the Wildcats return home Saturday to take on the University of Chicago and Illinois-Chicago.

Last season, the Cats came away with wins against all four of those teams. They will seek to repeat that success this year while also improving their technique after the disappointing meets last weekend. Coach Abby Steketee said she wants to see crisper turns, starts and finishes from the swimmers and has also talked with the team about race strategy.

Sophomore Krystal Lara, who won the 500-yard freestyle against Georgia Tech last Saturday, emphasized the importance of having a gameplan for her races.

“My coach always says ‘Stay in your own lanes,’” she said. “You’re only your own focus. There’s no one to tackle you, so I really just stick to my own race plan to see how I go.”

Senior co-captain Aja Malone said she has worked to keep the energy up during practice and hopes it translates to the meet.

Additionally, Malone said encouragement during hard sets and having music on before practice — like team-favorite “Baby” by Justin Bieber — helps keep everyone smiling, joking and laughing.

“We’re really focusing on coming in with purpose and really just attacking every set and having a good mindset,” she said.

Malone, who swam both sprint and distance freestyle events last weekend, said the swimmers are competing in a variety of events this weekend because many teammates are injured.

Steketee said she is excited to see the Cats “go after it” again in the upcoming contests.

“We have people swimming in very different events between the two days, swimming events that they didn’t swim last weekend,” she said. “I love that … getting up and having the courage to go after something they haven’t swam before.”

The Cats are continuing to work on stamina during practice, starting a new training phase this week, Steketee said. The phase has a higher intensity, and the team will focus more on pace speed, she said. She added the training regimen will help the team work toward its long-term goal of success at Big Tens and NCAAs.

Lara said she trusts her coaches and knows they have the best in mind for the team and its performance.

“Knowing that I have the training behind me to help me get through the next couple weeks,” she said, “that helps me stay positive and helps me motivate myself.”

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