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    Four 'Cats Post NCAA `B' Cut Times at Big Ten Championships

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Uula Auren continued his first Big Ten Championship with an NCAA 'B' cut in the 200 breaststroke Saturday morning.
    Uula Auren continued his first Big Ten Championship with an NCAA 'B' cut in the 200 breaststroke Saturday morning.

    Feb. 25, 2012

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    IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Four Wildcats met NCAA `B' cut standards Saturday morning during the final preliminary swim at the Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center in Iowa City, Iowa.

    Tony Mattar (Lake Orion, Mich./Indiana), Charlie Rimkus (Tustin, Calif./Beckman), Varun Shivakumar (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Fremd) and Uula Auren (Helsinki, Finland/Mäkelänrinteen Lukio) notched the top times in the 200 butterfly, 200 backstroke and 200 breaststroke swims, respectively. Mattar, Rimkus and Auren will represent Northwestern in the consolation final of their respective events later this evening.Shivakumar is in the bonus final.

    The final day of the Big Ten's biggest week began with five preliminary heats of the 200 backstroke. Northwestern's Daniel Salovesh (Casa Grande, Ariz./Casa Grande Union) was in the first heat. The junior shed 1.58 seconds off his seed time as he finished the heat in 1:50.59, his best clip of the season.

    Freshman Mark Ferguson (Perth, Australia/John XXIII) returned to the water after a busy day Friday to join the field in the second heat. He touched home in 1:51.54 Saturday morning.

    Junior Varun Shivakumar (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Fremd) was the final Wildcat swimmer to partake in the 200 backstroke. He also dropped precious seconds off his qualifying time as he finished the swim in 1:46.37, his best time this season. Shivakumar qualified for a spot in tonight's bonus final.

    Ten 'Cats were next in line to swim across nine heats of the 100 freestyle. Newcomer William Rosler (Bexley, Ohio/Columbus Academy) kicked things off in the first heat with a time of 46.56 seconds, a career-best mark. Ross McAuliffe (Shapwick, United Kingdom/Millfield School) swam the race in 46.38 seconds, while Matt Wilcox (Bemidji, Minn./Bemidji) finished second in that heat with a career-best swim of 44.89 seconds. Senior Jake Grosser (St. Charles, Ill./USC) posted a time of 45.94 seconds, top time for this year.

    Dominik Cubelic (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) entered the fourth heat with the top seed time of 46.01 seconds and he lived up to the billing as he breezed past the competition in 44.71 seconds, fastest in the heat and a career-best time for the sophomore. Toni Valcic (Ribnica, Slovenia/Gimnazija Ledina) swam right next to Cubelic in lane three and finished fifth in a time of 45.50 seconds, also a personal-best

    Another pair of Wildcats, Alex Ratajczyk (Parlin, N.J./Sayreville War Memorial) and John Frutiger (Alma, Mich./Alma), were placed together in heat five. Ratajczyk was the third swimmer to touch the wall in 45.02 seconds, his best effort of the season. Frutiger clocked in at 45.17, a career-best for the senior.

    Freshman Matthew Margritier (Leawood, Kan./Rockhurst) and sophomore Chase Stephens (Madison, Wis./Edgewood) were NU's final swimmers in the 100 freestyle. Margritier posted an identical time to Cubelic's two heats prior at 44.71 seconds. That number marks a personal-best by 0.55 seconds. Stephens came in just behind at 44.78 seconds, also a career-best.

    Three underclassmen represented the Wildcats in the 200 breaststroke event. Sophomore Brien Gerber (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) and Tim Smith (Oakland, Calif./De La Salle) led off in heat one, while Auren was placed in the fifth and final group.

    Gerber clipped 2.39 seconds off his seed time and seventy-four one-hundredths of a second of his previous career-best to touch home in 2:07.69. The Naperville, Ill., native swam fifth in the opening heat. Smith finished in 2:09.68.

    Yesterday Auren posted the second best time in the 100 breaststroke in NU history at 54.03 seconds. Saturday morning the freshman followed that up with a sub-two minute effort in the 200. Auren earned a lane in the consolation final with an NCAA `B' cut time of 1:59.77, the top pace for Northwestern this season.

    The last individual event of the morning session was the 200 butterfly. Classmates John Kim (Newport Coast, Calif./Corona del Mar) and Andrew Seitz (Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley) swam in heat one. Kim reeled off a career-best time of 1:51.28 en route to a fourth-place finish, while Seitz turned in a time of 1:53.85. That's also the best effort of his young career.

    Charlie Rimkus (Tustin, Calif./Beckman) was the third California-based 'Cat to participate in heat two. He turned in time of 1:48.47 and earned the final spot in tonight's consolation final.

    Mattar was the final individual swimmer of the morning for NU in heat three. The senior posted the second NCAA `B' cut time of the morning for the Wildcats with a season-best score of 1:47.30. Mattar placed 13th overall and earned a lane in Saturday night's consolation final

    Northwestern's Nick Pinkerton (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) and Tanner Nemkov (Littleton, Colo./Heritage) are in the field for this afternoon's platform diving trials.

    The final session of the 2012 Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships will commence from Iowa City at 6:30 p.m.


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