Feb. 2, 2013
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Norris Aquatics Center)
Score: Northwestern 200.5, Missouri State 167.5
Score: Notre Dame 191, Northwestern 177
Score: Iowa 212.5, Notre Dame 155.5
Score: Notre Dame 210, Missouri State 160
Score: Iowa 246, Missouri State 122
Next NU Event: Feb. 27-March 2 -- Big Ten Championships (Bloomington, Ind.)
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern split its final dual meets of the season after concluding the 2013 NU Invitational Saturday at the Norris Aquatics Center. The Wildcats topped Missouri State, 200.5-167.5, while falling to Notre Dame, 191-177, on Senior Night.
Prior to Saturday's final session, seniors Alexander Ratajczyk (Parlin, N.J./Sayreville War Memorial), Charlie Rimkus (Tustin, Calif./Beckman), Daniel Salovesh (Casa Grande, Ariz./Casa Grande Union), Varun Shivakumar (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Fremd) and Toni Valcic (Ribnica, Slovenia/Gimnazija Ledina) were honored in a ceremony including Northwestern AD Jim Phillips and University President Morton Schapiro.
The NU Invite was scored as a quad-dual meet, however after just swimming against each other in a dual meet last week in Iowa City, Northwestern and Iowa are not scoring against each other this weekend.
In the opening 200 medley relay, two Iowa teams reached the wall first with a fierce battle for third place overall between Notre Dame and Northwestern unfolding behind. NU's team of Dominik Cubelic (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South), Uula Auren (Helsinki, Finland/Mäkelänrinteen Lukio), Mark Ferguson (Perth, Australia/John XXIII) and Matthew Margritier (Leawood, Kan./Rockhurst) found itself behind by .48 of a second entering the final 50 yards, where Margritier entered the pool and frothed his way to a 19.95 split that had him touching the wall in 1:30.69, just six one-hundredths behind Notre Dame's anchor.
Rimkus was in an incredibly tight race in the 400 IM, trailing by .66 of a second entering the final 100 yard freestyle leg. The senior turned it on in that leg, simply crushing the field to pull away for a 2.73-second margin of victory in 3:58.13. Freshman Van Donkersgoed (Eden Prairie, Minn./Minnehaha Academy) placed fourth overall in 4:02.81 for the Wildcats.
Ferguson placed second overall and first among NU's scoring opponents with a season-best time of 48.52 in the 100 fly. Chase Stephens (Madison, Wis./Edgewood) then was the top 'Cat in the 200 free with a seventh-place overall time of 1:41.75.
Sophomore Auren proved he is fully back from his injury that kept him out much of the fall with a strong performance in the 100 breast, besting the field by .51 of a second to turn in his first NCAA `B' provisional qualifying performance of the year with a 55.13. Donkersgoed placed ninth overall in 57.41 for the Wildcats.
In the 100 back, Ferguson and Cubelic went 5-6 overall, 2-3 against Missouri State and 1-2 versus Notre Dame to give the Wildcats solid points. Ferguson swam a 50.11 while Cubelic touched in 50.18 for Northwestern to close out Saturday morning's individual events.
In the final swimming event of Saturday's early session, NU's `A' 800 free relay team of Rimkus, Cubelic, Stephens and Ferguson swam a season-best time of 6:44.12 to place fourth overall.
In diving action between sessions, junior Nick Pinkerton (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) scored a 244.90 on the 3-meter springboard to place seventh overall.
Northwestern began the Saturday evening portion of the NU Invitational with a flourish, getting a win from freshman Jordan Wilimovsky (Malibu, Calif./Malibu) in 15:36.22 and a third-place overall result from Rimkus. Shivakumar then was the Wildcats' top finisher in the 200 back with a seventh-place time of 1:52.23.
Stephens and Margritier had strong showings for NU in the 100 free, taking 2-3 overall behind a swimmer from Notre Dame. Stephens touched in 45.37 while Margritier was just behind him in a season-best time of 45.44. Ratajczyk took sixth overall behind a pair of Iowa swimmers with a 45.79 to effectively give NU a 2-3-4 finish against ND and a 1-2-3 result versus Missouri State.
Donkersgoed continued his stellar swimming in the 200 breast, placing second overall Saturday evening with a 2:02.77. Auren placed fifth overall in a season-best 2:04.32. In the 200 fly, Rimkus went out hard and held a lead over a tightly bunched group of competitors at the 100-yard mark, but he ended up in second place with a 1:50.47 to lead Northwestern.
In the final 400 free relay, Northwestern's `A' team of Margritier, Ratajczyk, Cubelic and Stephens roared to a season-best 2:59.91 to win the event, holding off a charge from Iowa's top entry much to the delight of the Senior Night crowd.
Northwestern now leads headlong into a month of training before the Big Ten Championships Feb. 27 to March 2 in Bloomington, Ind.
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