Swimming: Northwestern to face Louisville, Cincinnati on road

Benjamin Rosenberg, Assistant Sports Editor

Swimming and Diving

Northwestern will trek to a pair of destinations along the Ohio River this weekend, with both programs traveling to take on Louisville on Friday and Cincinnati on Saturday.

The Wildcats will be especially challenged by the Cardinals, who are ranked No. 8 on the men’s side (5-2) and No. 16 on the women’s (3-2). The NU women, though, could pose a threat to Louisville, as they have just entered the Top 25 at No. 23.

“We’re looking at some really tough racing, but we’re going to go in and race hard,” coach Jeremy Kipp said. “We’re going to challenge (Louisville) in quite a few events, and the expectations are just to be better than we were this past weekend.”

The Cats are coming off a rather disappointing showing in Iowa City, Iowa last Saturday, especially on the men’s side. The NU men (2-3, 0-3 Big Ten) lost to both Iowa and Wisconsin, while the women (4-2, 2-2) defeated the Hawkeyes but fell to the No. 17 Badgers.

Nevertheless, the Cats still had several strong individual performances at the tri-dual, particularly in the distance freestyle events and the women’s backstroke events.

“(Sophomore) Liam (Gately)’s 200-yard freestyle, that 1:38 in-season was a good swim for him,” Kipp said. “Andrew Zhang, our freshman, he had a really good 100 free; he got touched out by the Iowa guys but he beat the Wisconsin guys.”

Kipp also praised the performances of freshman Manu Bacarizo in the 200-yard backstroke, as well as sophomore Calypso Sheridan, who finished second in three events: the 100 back, 200 back and 200-yard individual medley. The first-place finisher in all three of those races was Wisconsin’s Beata Nelson, who finished in the top eight in all three events at last year’s NCAA Championships.

After battling the Cardinals on Friday, NU should have an easier time against the Bearcats on Saturday. The Cincinnati men and women are both 4-0, but the Bearcats’ wins have come against lesser programs in Indianapolis, IUPUI, Miami (Ohio) and Xavier.

Kipp said he scheduled the back-to-back to prepare his team for the multi-day Big Ten Championships coming up in late February and early March.

“(Cincinnati) is a really good mid-major,” Kipp said. “The Big Ten Championships is a three-and-a-half day format, so one reason why we scheduled this really tough Friday, really tough Saturday is to get the athletes ready for that.”

The Cats will continue to look for strong performances from sophomore DJ Hwang, who swam a season-best in the 1000 free in Iowa City and blew away the field; sophomore Sophie Angus, who won both the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke last Saturday; and senior Olivia Rosendahl, who is looking for her third consecutive national championship in the platform diving.

Kipp, Hwang and Angus all said defeating Cincinnati is the expectation, even after racing hard against Louisville the day before.

“Louisville is one of the top teams in the country, so it’ll be really interesting to see how we match up with them,” Hwang said. “Against Cincinnati, I think everyone can get up and race again and find a way to win that meet.”

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