Swimming and Diving: Northwestern falls in close fight against Wisconsin, honors seniors at last home meet


Daily file photo by Joanne Haner and Angeli Mittal

A Northwestern swimmer swims in a fall dual meet. While NU fell against rival Wisconsin, the team is refocusing ahead of Championship season.

Kate Walter, Reporter

After a close duel this Saturday against Big Ten rival Wisconsin, Northwestern was ultimately unable to fend off the Badgers.

A year after the men narrowly lost against Wisconsin and the women won by over 100 points, both teams lost in this season’s dual meet. The final score was 160-130 for the women and 163.5-136.5 for the men.

NU swim and dive is keeping its head and spirit up as it embarks on its last meet of the regular season at Minnesota, and heads into the Big Ten and NCAA Championships.

“A quote I mentioned to the team afterwards is to not let the wins get to our heads or the losses get to our hearts,” coach Katie Robinson said. “I want to stay positive moving forward and this is a good little temperature check as to how we’re preparing, so we can change a few things and be better in the future.”

Despite the loss, NU’s individual and relay performances bode well for the rest of the season. 

Jasmine Nocentini dominated the sprint freestyle events, getting her hand to the wall first in a time of 22.47 in the 50-yard freestyle and 49.75 in the 100-yard freestyle. 

NU swept the women’s 100-yard breaststroke, with Hannah Brunzell, Sophia Angus and Tara Vovk going 1-2-3, respectively. All three of these swimmers have top 20 times in the NCAA this season, solidifying the trio as a formidable threat for the postseason.

Bruznell had a dominant showing this weekend, finishing first in the 200-yard breaststroke in addition to her win in the 100. The Sweden native has big goals for the championship season, including to win an All-American finish by placing in the top eight. Vovk and Angus placed second and third in the 200, respectively.

Despite the loss, Brunzell believes the team performed well against Wisconsin, a team recruiting well and particularly dominating this year. She said this meet taught her that sometimes it’s best to focus less on best times and more on the details, especially in tough training periods and to be “satisfied with that instead.”

The Cats shined in the 200-yard medley relay, with both the men and women medley relays claiming victory.

On the men’s side, highlights for the Cats include Kevin Houseman’s first-place finish in 100-yard breaststroke and Marcus Mok’s win in the 200-yard breaststroke, which allowed NU to sweep the breaststroke events against Wisconsin. Andrew Zhang’s victory in the 50-yard freestyle topped off the Cats’ success in the sprint freestyle events. 

The diving squad showed out against Wisconsin, in a performance highlighted by junior Jaye Patrick’s new pool record on the women’s 1-meter platform.

“Jaye is a phenomenal diver and she was able to put together an amazing lift of dives on Saturday,” Robinson said. “To be honest, the whole diving squad performed exceedingly well on Saturday, so they just deserve a lot of the success they reached and there’s more to come.”

Markie Hopkins, Jaye Patrick, Labonita Ghose and Leah Parsons finished in the top-four spots in the 3-meter, and Yohan Eskrick-Parkinson and Evan Labuda claimed first and second in the 3-meter as well.

More Big Ten action awaits next weekend at Minnesota where the Cats will compete against the Golden Gophers, Purdue and Iowa in their last competition before championship season. The Cats were ranked 17th in the most recent women’s poll and unranked in the men’s poll, receiving votes in the latter. 

Robinson says the team is entering meets hoping to win, but also to improve.

“Sometimes success means actually winning, sometimes it means an individual earning points for the team,” 

During the dual meet against Wisconsin, NU celebrated the seniors and their contributions to the swimming and diving program. 

The class of 2022 arrived on campus as freshmen at the same time Robinson joined the swimming program as associate coach, a position she served in for two years before becoming director of swimming and diving. More than anything, she is proud of the people her swimmers have become during their time at NU, both inside and outside of the pool. 

“To see them grow into the young men and women they are today is the reason why I coach,” Robinson said. “It’s incredibly inspiring.”

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Twitter: @katewalter03

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