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    Northwestern Remains Unbeaten on Weekend with Double Dual Sweep

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Junior Varun Shivakumar won both backstroke events Saturday by wide margins over his competition.
    Junior Varun Shivakumar won both backstroke events Saturday by wide margins over his competition.

    Nov. 12, 2011


    Site: Evanston, Ill. (Norris Aquatics Center)
    Score: Northwestern 157, UIC 130
    Score: Northwestern 173, North Dakota 115
    Records: NU (4-1), UIC (3-1), North Dakota (3-3)
    Next NU Event: November 18-20 -- TYR Invitational (Norris Aquatics Center), 9 a.m. CT/5 p.m. CT

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern remained perfect at home on the young 2011-12 season by sweeping a double-dual meet Saturday morning at the Norris Aquatics Center. NU defeated UIC, 157-130, and North Dakota, 173-115.

    Northwestern's 400 medley relay team of Mark Ferguson (Perth, Australia/John XXIII), Uula Auren (Helsinki, Finland/Mäkelänrinteen Lukio), Jake Grosser (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles) and Alexander Ratajczyk (Parlin, N.J./Sayreville War Memorial) powered its way to a win in the opening event, swimming a 3:26.29. The squad finished 1.06 seconds ahead of NU's second-place `B' relay comprised of Varun Shivakumar (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Fremd), Toni Valcic (Ribnica, Slovenia/Gimnazija Ledina), Dominik Cubelic (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) and Matthew Margritier (Leawood, Kan./Rockhurst), whose closing 100 free split of 44.81 made for a much tighter race at the end.

    Senior John Frutiger (Alma, Mich./Alma) got out in front of the pack early in the 1,000 free, cruising home in 9:44.88. Brien Gerber (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) was third overall with a time of 10:07.26.



    Junior Jan Hanulik (Cavisov, Czech Republic/Sportovni Gymnazium), who just the day before earned the first dual-meet victory of his career in a win over Wisconsin, captured his second win with a 1:41.26 in the 200 free. He was 2.27 seconds faster than Margritier in second overall (1:43.53) and 2.32 quicker than Tony Mattar (Lake Orion, Mich./Lake Orion) in third (1:43.58).

    Shivakumar took first-place points in the 100 back with a 51.73 to beat the field by 1.57 seconds. Grosser placed second overall with a 53.25 in his backstroke debut on the year.

    In the 100 breast, Auren continued his mastery of the event early in his collegiate career, busting out a 56.52 to win by over three full seconds in the four-lap race. Freshman John Kim (Newport Coast, Calif./Corona del Mar) then got a win in the 200 fly, outlasting Hanulik in the outside lane for a 1-2 finish with a 1:54.38 that topped Hanulik's season-best 1:54.87.

    Cubelic led a top-four Northwestern sweep of the 50 free, swimming a season-best 21.26 to out-touch teammate Chase Stephens' (Madison, Wis./Edgewood) 21.29. Ross McCauliffe (Shapwick, United Kingdom/Millfield School) was third in 21.58 and Ratajczyk took fourth in 21.59.

    In diving action during the first half of the meet, Tanner Nemkov (Littleton, Colo./Heritage) was third on the 3-meter board with a 255.70 while teammate Nick Pinkerton (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) was just .2 of a point behind in fourth overall with a 255.50. Both divers finished behind a pair of UIC competitors but in front of all North Dakota entries. On the 1-meter board, Pinkerton was sixth overall and Nemkov was seventh.

    Freshman Matt Wilcox (Bemidji, Minn./Bemidji) (46.71) and Valcic (46.94) finished 1-2 for Northwestern from the first heat of the two-heat 100 freestyle event. They were followed in the Nos. 3-4 positions by Grosser (46.97) and Frutiger (46.98) to give NU four sub-47.00 times.

    Shivakumar was in the pool by himself seemingly in the 200 back, swimming a 1:51.97 to win by nearly six full seconds over his teammate Ferguson's 1:57.59. In the 200 breast, Auren tried to close a big gap in the final 50 yards with a 32.56 split against his UIC opponent's 33.92, but he fell .05 of a second short in coming in with a runner-up time of 2:08.81. Kim followed Auren in third with a season-best 2:12.62.

    Following the 200 breast, Northwestern elected to exhibition its scores in the remaining events, meaning its times counted but it accrued no points in the team tallies.

    In the 500 freestyle race, Mattar battered the field to win in a season-best 4:41.15, topping his second-place teammate Stephens' season-best time of 4:45.99. UIC had the fastest time in the 100 fly followed by Hanulik (52.07) in second and Margritier (52.36) in third.

    Shivakumar ended up second in the 200 IM with a 1:59.42 to lead Northwestern, then the team of Margritier, Cubelic, Grosser and Valcic swam an NU-season-best 1:21.86 to finish first in the 200 free relay.

    Northwestern returns to action November 18-20 in its home TYR Invitational at the Norris Aquatics Center. Preliminary sessions will begin at 9 a.m. CT with finals getting underway at 5 p.m. CT.


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