Feb. 22, 2012
Official 2012 Big Ten Championships Site
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Conference championship season is here and the Northwestern Wildcats kicked off the 2012 Big Ten Men's Swimming and Diving Championships Wednesday evening at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center in Iowa City, Iowa.
The first event of an action packed week to hit the water was the 200 medley relay. The Wildcats swam in the second heat after qualifying with a seed time of 1:29.31. The 'Cats, behind a ferocious freestyle effort from junior Toni Valcic (Ribnica, Slovenia/Gimnazija Ledina) in the final 25 yards of the race, finished fifth in a time of 1:26.81, their best effort of the year by 2.5 seconds. Valcic swam the second fastest final 25 yards with a time of 10.19 seconds. Sophomore Dominik Cubelic (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South), freshman Uula Auren (Helsinki, Finland/Mäkelänrinteen Lukio) and senior Jake Grosser (St. Charles, Ill./USC) swam the first three legs of the race for Northwestern.
Wednesday's 200 medley time of 1:26.81 stands as the fourth fastest in NU annals. It is also an NCAA `B' cut standard.
After the first relay, divers from around the Big Ten put on a three meter springboard synchronized exhibition. The Wildcats were not represented in that event, however. Nick Pinkerton (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) and Tanner Nemkov (Littleton, Colo./Heritage) are slated to take part in future events throughout the diving championships.
The final event of the opening evening was the 800 freestyle relay. NU came in Wednesday with a seed time of 6:37.57 and found themselves in the second of two heats once again. Matthew Margritier (Leawood, Kan./Rockhurst), Charlie Rimkus (Tustin, Calif./Beckman), Chase Stephens (Madison, Wis./Edgewood) and anchor John Frutiger (Alma, Mich./Alma) teamed up to post a time of 6:28.92 and an eighth-place finish. That effort came in nearly nine seconds under the previous season best. Like the 200 medley relay, that clip rates as an NCAA `B' cut time.
The 2012 Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships begin in earnest with a full slate on Thursday at the CRWC. The preliminary heats for the 500 freestyle, the 200 individual medley and the 50 freestyle will commence at 11 a.m. The one meter springboard diving trials start at 1:30 p.m. The finals for each of those events will begin at 6:30 p.m.
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