Nov. 15, 2013
Northwestern 165, Wisconsin 135
Norris Aquatics Center Evanston, Ill.
EVANSTON, Ill. -- In a great back-and-forth battle all evening long, Northwestern held a slim advantage over Wisconsin throughout much of their meet Friday at the Norris Aquatics Center before pulling away for a 165-135 win.
NU improves to 3-2 overall on the dual-meet season, 1-2 against conference foes. Northwestern returns to action at its own TYR Invitational Nov. 22-24 at the Norris Aquatics Center.
Northwestern took the opening 200 medley relay over Wisconsin by nine-tenths of a second, pulling away early thanks to strong Mark Ferguson (Perth, Australia/John XXIII) backstroke and Uula Auren (Helsinki, Finland/Mäkelänrinteen Lukio) breaststroke legs. Andy Jovanovic (Chicago, Ill./Loyola Academy) and Chase Stephens (Madison, Wis./Edgewood) maintained that edge for a winning 1:30.25.
Sophomore Jordan Wilimovsky (Malibu, Calif./Malibu) traded the lead with Wisconsin's Nicholas Caldwell throughout the first two-thirds of the 1,000 freestyle. By the end of the race, however, the distance wunderkind had pulled away for a 4.5-second cushion to earn the last lap air horn, eventually touching in a winning time of 9:10.81.
The race for third in the 1,000 free was very exciting with both teams screaming at their representatives in the pool. NU freshman Jonathan Lieberman (Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie) won the battle against Wisconsin's Tyler Hines, out-touching him by five one-hundredths of a second in 9:43.39 to set off an explosion from his Wildcats' teammates.
NU freshman Charlie Cole (Bernardsville, N.J./Bernards) took second for NU in the 200 free with an NU-season-best time of 1:39.39 behind a winning Wisconsin time that was an NCAA `B' provisional qualifying standard.
Wisconsin nabbed its second-straight individual event victory in the 100 back when Drew Teduits came from behind to catch Ferguson, who was second in 49.51. Ferguson did lead a caravan of 'Cats in second through fourth with Jovanovic (50.54) and Dominik Cubelic (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) (51.44) on his tail.
Auren grabbed the lead in the 100 breast at the 50-yard mark before holding off a tough challenge from the top Badger swimmer to win by .17 of a second with a time of 56.15. Sophomore Van Donkersgoed (Eden Prairie, Minn./Minnehaha Academy) took third in 57.69 while junior Aaron Sears (Neenah, Minn./Neenah) was fourth in 58.52 to make the event quite lucrative for the 'Cats.
Sophomore Grant Halsall (Laxey/Isle of Man/Great Britain) also had to hold off a late Wisconsin surge to win the 200 fly, touching in 1:53.06 to win by .34 of a second. In the 50 free, an event he has absolutely dominated so far this season, Stephens missed a `B' cut by just two one-hundredths of a second with a season-best winning time of 20.21, good for a .89 of a second margin of victory in the short race.
During the first half of the meet, Wisconsin picked up a 1-3 finish on the 1-meter springboard diving event. NU freshman Andrew Cramer (Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral) placed second between them with a score of 317.90 that was just .45 of a point away from his season-best on the board.
Stephens made it a sprint free sweep in the 100 free with an incredibly close race and win against Wisconsin's Brett Pinfold. Just one-hundredth of a second separated the pair at the 50-yard mark and Stephens' 6-foot-7 frame touched at the end just four one-hundredths of a second in front of his Badger foe in a season-best 44.91 for the win.
Jovanovic was NU's top finisher in the 200 back with a second-place 1:50.63, then Donkersgoed also grabbed second in the 200 breast to lead the Wildcats, allowing NU to hold onto a slim three-point lead in the team race at that point.
The 500 free played out much like the 1,000 did with Wilimovsky and Caldwell dueling through the majority of the race before the NU sophomore pulled ahead at the end. Wilimovsky's time of 4:29.89 bested Caldwell's 4:31.14 in a 1-3 NU finish anchored by Cole's third-place 4:36.21.
Ferguson's season-best 49.23 and Jovanovic's second-place 50.12 in the 100 fly put NU just five points from clinching victory entering the final two events of the meet with the score at 146-118.
Part of that cushion came from the diving board in the second half of the meet when Cramer came out to claim first place on the 3-meter springboard. His monster score of 386.70 was easily the freshman's season-best and topped his second-place Wisconsin foe by 42.45 points. Junior John Andrade (Avon, Conn./Notre Dame) grabbed third place behind a big finishing dive that drew applause from across the pool for a score of 338.25.
Though Wisconsin went 1-2 in the 400 IM, NU's Wilimovsky, Donkersgoed and Andrew Seitz (Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley) finished 3-4-5 to earn the requisite points for the Wildcats to clinch victory.
In the final 200 free relay, NU's `A' squad of Stephens, Cubelic, Matt Wilcox (Bemidji, Minn./Bemidji) and the breaststroker Auren captured first in 1:22.28, .27 of a second ahead of Wisconsin. Impressively, Auren provided much of that winning margin with a final 20.44 split as the anchor leg.
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