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    Wildcats Post Top Times Across The Pool at Big Ten Championships

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Uula Auren clinched the top spot in the consolation final of the 100 breaststroke with the second fastest time in 54.03 seconds.
    Uula Auren clinched the top spot in the consolation final of the 100 breaststroke with the second fastest time in 54.03 seconds.

    Feb. 24, 2012

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    IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Northwestern moved into the third day of the 2012 Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships Friday by qualifying five swimmers for the consolation finals in their respective events at the Campus Recreations and Wellness Center in Iowa City, Iowa.

    Friday's first event was the 400 individual medley with three Wildcats spread across the five heats. Andrew Seitz (Pleasanton, Calif./Armador Valley) held the top seed time in the first heat with a mark of 4:10.23. The newcomer dropped 9.48 seconds off that time to set a new career-best mark.

    Like Seitz, Tony Mattar (Lake Orion, Mich./Indiana) had the fastest seed time in heat two with an incoming pace of 4:02.45. Mattar was the top finisher in the second heat with an NCAA `B' cut effort of 3:52.27. Also like, Seitz, the senior shed significant time, 10.18 seconds to be exact, to establish a new top time for this season.

    Charlie Rimkus (Tustin, Calif./Beckman) continued a busy meet with an appearance in the fourth. Already with an NCAA `B' cut under his belt in this event, Rimkus set a new top time for the year with a swim of 3:50.09, the fourth-best in program history and the 10th-fastest time of the morning. Both Rimkus and Mattar (13th) earned spots in this evening's consolation final.

    Four 'Cats hit the water this morning in the 100 butterfly. Ross McAuliffe (Shapwick, United Kingdom/Millfield School) was the lone entry in heat one and he kicked things off with a time of 52.08 seconds, his best effort of the season to date.

    Heat two featured a pair of freshmen in John Kim (Newport Coast, Calif./Corona del Mar) and Mark Ferguson (Perth, Australia/John XXIII). Ferguson swam second in the heat with a time of 48.38 seconds, just ahead of Kim, who touched the wall in 50.21 seconds. Both times signify best swims in the young careers of Ferguson and Kim. Ferguson's effort was merely four one-hundredths off an NCAA `B' cut time.

    Senior Jake Grosser (St. Charles, Ill./USC) continued his final Big Ten championship meet with his career-best mark in the 100 butterfly. The senior came home in 48.57 seconds, just shy of a `B' cut.

    Ferguson's time will allow him to compete in the consolation final Friday night, while Grosser will represent the 'Cats in the bonus final.

    The day's most populated event was the 200 freestyle with 74 Big Ten swimmers spread over nine heats; Northwestern featured six of its top freestylers. Daniel Salovesh (Casa Grande, Ariz./Casa Grande Union) made his 2012 Big Ten Championship debut in the second heat alongside Matt Wilcox (Bemidji, Minn./Bemidji). It was Wilcox who set the pace for much of the race as he finished second in the heat with a time of 1:39.06, a new career top time. Salovesh checked in with his best time of the season at 1:41.34.

    Alexander Ratajczyk (Parlin, N.J./Sayreville War Memorial) and Matthew Margritier (Leawood, Kan./Rockhurst) swam in heats three and four. Ratajczyk clocked in at 1:39.76, the quickest effort of his three-year career. Margritier dropped 2.66 off his previous best to finish second in his heat at 1:38.34.

    Chase Stephens (Madison, Wis./Edgewood) continued the trend of posting career-bests with an effort of 1:37.36 in heat five. He became the first Wildcat in the event to record an NCAA `B' cut time at the conference championship Friday. Stephens earned a spot in the bonus final with that mark.

    John Frutiger (Alma, Mich./Alma) followed up yesterday's career-best in the 500 freestyle with another career-best time in the 200 freestyle. Frutiger came in under the NCAA `B' cut standard by touching the wall in 1:36.69. The senior's time ranked 12th overall and he will swim in the consolation final later today.

    A quartet of breaststrokers also took part in Friday's 100-yard variety at the preliminary session. Tim Smith (Oakland, Calif./De La Salle) and Toni Valcic (Ribnica, Slovenia/Bridgeport) finished first and second, respectively, in heat one. Smith came in under a minute at 58.63, while Valcic was just behind in 59.31 seconds. Both times represent career-best efforts. Brien Gerber (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) posted a time of 58.22 seconds in the second heat, which also marks the swiftest effort of the sophomore's career.

    Uula Auren (Helsinki, Finland/Mäkelänrinteen Lukio) in the fifth and final heat. Auren notched another NCAA `B' cut for NU and the second fastest swim in school history with a time of 54.03 seconds. The freshman holds the top time for tonight's consolation final.

    Friday's first session concluded with the 100 backstroke. Salovesh led off in heat one with a time of 52.07, another top time for the season.

    Varun Shivakumar (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Fremd) and Ferguson were paired together in the third heat. The Wildcats swam one-two in the event with Ferguson posting the time to beat at 49.08 seconds, just ahead of Shivakumar's effort of 49.60. For both swimmers, that qualifies as a top time this season.

    Finally, Dominik Cubelic (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) swam in the fifth of six heats and recorded the best effort of his career in 48.93 seconds. All three backstrokers earned lanes in the consolation final this evening. Cubelic finished 18th overall, Ferguson was 20th and Shivakumar earned the final spot at 24.

    Northwestern's diving duo of Tanner Nemkov (Littleton, Colo./Heritage) and Nick Pinkerton (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) will participate in the three-meter springboard dive this afternoon.

    The meet resumes with the bonus, consolation and primary finals of today's preliminary races at 6:30 p.m.


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