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    'Cats Continue Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM John Frutiger posted a career-best time in the 500 freestyle Thursday with a mark of 4:23.31.
    John Frutiger posted a career-best time in the 500 freestyle Thursday with a mark of 4:23.31.

    Feb. 23, 2012

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    IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Northwestern's men's swimming and diving squads wrapped up the second day of the 2012 Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center Thursday. After three grueling sessions, the Wildcats are sitting in ninth place overall.

    Northwestern's lone individual competitior in the field Thursday evening was junior Toni Valcic (Ribnica, Slovenia/Bridgeport). After reaching an NCAA `B' cut standard with a time of 20.23 in the 50 freestyle during his preliminary heat, Valcic came in just off that mark in a time of 20.37 seconds in the bonus final. His first time of the day marks a career-best and the fastest time of the season for the Wildcats.

    The 'Cats were seeded in the first of two 400 medley relay heats. Swimming against Minnesota and Michigan State, Northwestern finished second to the Golden Gophers in a time of 3:13.27. That is the top time this season for NU and the fifth-fastest effort in program laurels. Dominik Cueblic (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) swam backstroke, Uula Auren (Helsinki, Finland/Mäkelänrinteen Lukio) handled the breaststroke, Jake Grosser (St. Charles, Ill./USC) represented the 'Cats in the butterfly and Matthew Margritier (Leawood, Kan./Rockhurst) anchored the relay with his freestyle. Northwestern's effort held up for eighth place.

    In the morning preliminary session, John Frutiger (Alma, Mich.) also earned a `B' cut mark in the 500 freestyle with a career-best time of 4:23.31. The senior qualified for the bonus final in that event, but opted to scratch from the race to focus on the 400 medley relay and other future events throughout the week.

    One of three seniors on this year's squad, Tony Mattar (Lake Orion, Mich./Indiana), got things started for the 'Cats in the second of seven 500 freestyle heats. Mattar led things off with a time of 4:32.73, more than five seconds quicker than his previous season-best effort in the event. It was also the third fastest swim to that point for the Wildcats this season.

    Mattar's classmate, Frutiger also swam in Thursday morning's preliminary session for NU. He finished second in his heat after touching the wall in 4:23.31. That is a career-best swim for Frutiger, an NCAA'B' cut mark and the fastest clip of the season for the Wildcats.

    Charlie Rimkus (Tustin, Calif./Beckman) was the third Wildcat to hit the water in the fifth heat. The junior touched the wall in 4:26.47, a time that marked his best effort of the year by 1.84 seconds.

    Northwestern sent three swimmers, all underclassmen, to the block for the 200 individual medley this morning. Sophomore Brien Gerber (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) and freshman Andrew Seitz (Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley) were in the opening heat. Gerber narrowly missed a career-best time with an effort of 1:53.88 to finish third in the opening heat, while Seitz set a new personal-best with a time of 1:54.38. He finished more than three seconds under his seeded time. Later, newcomer John Kim (Newport Coast, Calif./Corona del Mar) represented the 'Cats. He touched home in 1:53.65

    The final swimming event of the first morning session of the championship featured 10 Wildcats spread across nine heats of the 50 freestyle sprint. Three heats, numbers three, four and six, featured two Northwestern swimmers.

    Tim Smith (Oakland, Calif./De La Salle) led off with a time of 26.42 in the first heat. The second heat featured William Rosler (Bexley, Ohio/Columbus Academy). Rosler swam the fastest time of his young career in 21.18 seconds. Sophomores Ross McAuliffe (Shapwick, United Kingdom/Millfield School) and Matt Wilcox (Bemidji, Minn./Bemidji) swam side-by-side in heat three. Wilcox narrowly edged McAuliffe with a mark of 20.82. McAuliffe posted a time of 20.91 seconds.

    Cubelic posted a career-best time of 20.47 in heat four, while Alexander Ratajczyk (Parlin, N.J./Sayreville War Memorial) was right behind him at 20.57 seconds, also a personal-best. Chase Stephens (Madison, Wis./Edgewood) clocked in at 20.53 seconds, a career-best time by 0.43 seconds.

    Margritier and senior Grosser swam in lanes four and five, respectively in the sixth heat of the 50 freestyle. Margritier just missed out an NCAA `B' cut time with an effort of 20.31 seconds to finish fourth in his heat, while Grosser posted his best time of the season in 20.51 seconds.

    The final 'Cat to hit the water was junior Toni Valcic was in the ninth and final heat. Valcic posted an NCAA `B' cut time in 20.23 seconds. He will represent Northwestern in the bonus final tonight. Margritier is the second alternate for the 50 freestyle.

    The first official diving event, the one-meter springboard competition, took place Thursday afternoon. Sophomores Tanner Nemkov (Littleton, Colo/Heritage) and Nick Pinkerton (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) were in the field for NU. Nemkov placed 21st with a score of 279.20, while Pinkerton dove 26th with a final score 266.95.

    The 2012 Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships kick back into gear on Friday morning at 11 a.m. at the CRWC. The lineup of events for tomorrow is: 400 individual medley, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke and the three-meter springboard dive.


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