March 2, 2013
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The oldest school record still on Northwestern's books fell Saturday while several other Wildcats moved into NU's all-time top performers lists in their respective events at the final day of the 2013 Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships.
Freshman Jordan Wilimovsky (Malibu, Calif./Malibu) kicked off Saturday night's finals session in style for the Wildcats, competing in the final heat of the 1,650 free and taking down the school record in the event to finish in eighth place overall. Wilimovsky's time of 15:03.07 was more than seven seconds quicker than his seed time and it shattered the oldest existing record in Northwestern's book, a 15:08.78 set by Brian Davis in 2004.
After becoming the fourth-fastest Wildcat ever in the 50 free on Thursday, junior Chase Stephens (Madison, Wis./Edgewood) performed the same feat in the 100 free Saturday morning. With an NCAA `B' consideration time of 43.14, Stephens jumped into fourth on NU's all-time top times list in the event, but more importantly, he qualified sixth overall for his first career Big Ten Championships `A' final.
Stephens turned in another NCAA `B' time in a championship final heat that saw all eight swimmers touch the wall within eight tenths of a second of each other. Stephens' 43.47 was three tenths off the pace he set in the morning, placing him seventh in the field and earning NU 12 points.
Sophomore Matthew Margritier (Leawood, Kan./Rockhurst) finished the morning as first alternate for the 100 free bonus final with a career-best 44.49, then moved into the heat after a scratch above him. He made the most of the chance, jumping all the up from 25th following the morning to 19th after the bonus final with a time of 44.52.
Freshman Van Donkersgoed (Eden Prairie, Minn./Minnehaha Academy) advanced to his first-career Big Ten scoring final with a 15th-place preliminary time in the 200 breast of 1:57.91, an NCAA `B' effort that launched Donkersgoed up to third on NU's all-time top times list in the event behind former NCAA champion Mike Alexandrov and All-American Alex Tyler.
Donkersgoed further lowered his time by another .61 of a second in a super fast consolation final that only allowed him to move up one position despite the time cut. The freshman scored three points for the 'Cats with a 14th-place overall 1:57.30.
Sophomore Uula Auren (Helsinki, Finland/Mäkelänrinteen Lukio), who scored in the 200 breast last year, was unable to overcome the training lost due to injury early in the year, placing 32nd overall in the event with a 2:02.55.
Senior Charlie Rimkus (Tustin, Calif./Beckman) made it three events with a Wildcat in a scoring final when he qualified 15th overall for the 200 fly with an NCAA `B' time of 1:47.39 as NU's lone entry in the event.
In the consolation heat, Rimkus turned on the jets, blazing to a career-best and NCAA `B' consideration time of 1:45.72 that bested the field by over a second and gave the Wildcats nine points for the ninth-place finish.
In the 200 back, senior Varun Shivakumar (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Fremd) and freshman Grant Halsall (Laxey, Isle of Man, GBR) both were near the top of the qualifiers for the bonus final of the event. Shivakumar cut 2.23 seconds from his seed time to turn in an NCAA `B' cut of 1:45.71 and place 18th overall while Halsall was right on his back with a 19th-place `B' time of 1:46.32.
Perhaps the most impressive swim of the morning for Northwestern came from senior Daniel Salovesh (Casa Grande, Ariz./Casa Grande) in the 200 back. Throughout his career, Salovesh has shown the ability to cut massive amounts of time at the conference meet, but he never had earned a second-swim opportunity until the final day of his final season. Again dropping over six full seconds from his seed, Salovesh touched in a dead-heat for 25th place at 1:47.56, which was his best finish to date in any Big Ten Championships action and put him in a tie for the first alternate spot for the bonus final.
In a swim-off for that first alternate status, Salovesh again went quicker, this time going 1:47.31 to pull away from his opponent by 1.47 seconds. By virtue of that win, Salovesh moved into the bonus heat after a scratch above him.
In that race, Halsall further lowered his career best in the 200 back to an NCAA `B' time of 1:45.26 to win the heat and finish 17th overall. Shivakumar took third in 1:47.45 to end up 19th and Salovesh, in his final swim, touched in 1:49.37 to place 24th.
In diving on Saturday, junior Nick Pinkerton (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) finished 24th overall on the 10-meter platform after a score of 226.65.
In the final event of the 2013 Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships, Northwestern's 400 free relay comprised of Stephens, Dominik Cubelic (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South), Matt Wilcox (Bemidji, Minn./Bemidji) and Margritier slashed 4.16 seconds from NU's seed in the event to touch in a sixth-place NCAA `B' standard of 2:55.75. The sixth-place finish was the Wildcats' best in a relay during the meet.
As a team, Northwestern finished in ninth place overall in the conference with 161 points, 35 points ahead of 10th place Michigan State and 51 points in back of eighth-place Penn State.
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