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    Northwestern Earns First Two NCAA 'B' Cuts of the Year at TYR Invite

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Chase Stephens was a member of Northwestern's NCAA 'B' cut-winning 200 free relay Friday night.
    Chase Stephens was a member of Northwestern's NCAA 'B' cut-winning 200 free relay Friday night.

    Nov. 18, 2011


    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern earned its first two NCAA `B' provisional qualifying times of the season Friday night at its home TYR Invitational and currently sits in second place among the five-team field.

    Missouri State currently leads the meet with 304 points, followed by Northwestern in second with 261. Cleveland State is third with 225, Kenyon College is fourth with 162 and UIC is fifth with a total of 104 points.

    Preliminary portion of Friday's action:

    Freshman Uula Auren (Helsinki, Finland/Mäkelänrinteen Lukio) was the lone swimmer to post a sub-26.00 time in the meet-opening 50 breast prelims, earning himself the top seed in the championship heat with a 25.93. Junior Toni Valcic (Ribnica, Slovenia/Gimnazija Ledina) also snuck into the championship final with a 27.70, good for eighth place after the morning swims.

    Sophomore Brien Gerber (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) tied for ninth place overall at 27.81, making him one of the top seeds in Friday night's 50 breast consolation final. Tim Smith (Oakland, Calif./De La Salle), John Kim (Newport Coast, Calif./Corona del Mar) and William Rosler (Bexley, Ohio/Columbus Academy) also earned lanes in the point-scoring consolation heat as the No. 13, No. 15 and No. 16 place finishers, respectively.

    Junior Charlie Rimkus (Tustin, Calif./Beckman) made it 2-for-2 for Northwestern in earning top seeds on the day, topping his season-best in the 500 free by more than five seconds for a first-place 4:28.42. His time was 6.01 seconds faster than anyone else in the field Friday morning. Senior John Frutiger (Alma, Mich./Alma) also earned a championship final berth with a fifth-place time of 4:36.92.



    Four Wildcats earned spots in the bonus final of the 500 free. Jan Hanulik (Cavisov, Czech Republic/Sportovni Gymnazium) took 20th overall, Tony Mattar (Lake Orion, Mich./Lake Orion) was 22nd, Varun Shivakumar (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Fremd) finished 23rd and Chase Stephens (Madison, Wis./Edgewood) qualified for the final second swim in 24th position.

    Kim was Northwestern's top finisher in the 200 IM Friday morning, earning a consolation final berth with a 12th-place and season-best time of 1:56.78. Gerber took 18th in 1:57.63 and Andrew Seitz (Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley) was 21st in 1:58.07 to make the bonus final cut.

    Two former Wildcat All-Americans swimming unattached took the top seed and seventh seed in the championship final of the 200 IM. Alex Tyler's 1:51.12 led the field while Sean Mathews' 1:54.04 was seventh. Both are attempting to earn USA Swimming cuts this weekend.

    In the 50 free, freshman Matthew Margritier (Leawood, Kan./Rockhurst) took fifth overall with a 20.94 to earn a championship final position. Four Wildcats took the top four spots in the consolation final, a mere .18 of a second away from the `A' heat for all of them. Valcic (21.06) was ninth overall, Stephens (21.09) took 10th, Jake Grosser (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles) (21.12) was 11th and Dominik Cubelic (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) (21.16) placed 12th.

    Five more Wildcats qualified for bonus final swims, led by Matt Wilcox (Bemidji, Minn./Bemidji) in 18th with a 21.45. Alexander Ratajczyk (Parlin, N.J./Sayreville War Memorial) was 19th with a 21.47, Ross McAuliffe (Shapwick, United Kingdom/Millfield School) was 20th in 21.70, Auren took 22nd with a 21.87 and Mattar finished 24th with a 22.12. The first alternate for the bonus final is NU's Rosler, who turned in a 22.13.

    Finals portion of Friday's action:

    Northwestern blazed the field in the 200 free to begin Friday night's festivities, swimming its first NCAA `B' provisional qualifying time of the season. Margritier gave NU the early edge with a season-best 20.70 leadoff leg before teammates Stephens (20.03), Grosser (20.12) and Valcic (20.08) brought it home for a 1:20.93, which was good for a 1.01 second win.

    Auren won the 50 breast with a 25.32, remaining the lone competitor to break the 26.00 second barrier in the event all day. Valcic moved up from the eighth seed to earn fifth-place points in 26.79.

    In the consolation final, Smith jumped from the 13th seed up to a 10th place finish in 27.23 followed by Kim in 11th at 27.43, Gerber in 13th after a 27.69 and Rosler in 14th with a 27.79.

    Rimkus and Frutiger led a dominant 1-2 Northwestern finish in the 500 free championship final. Rimkus swam a season-best 4:28.31 to win followed by Frutiger's season-best 4:30.06. Frutiger closed with the fastest splits in the pool over the final 100 yards, narrowing the gap against Rimkus considerably.

    Northwestern finished 2-3-4 in the 500 free bonus final. Mattar touched in 4:39.70, just .03 of a second ahead of teammate Shivakumar. Chase Stephens was fourth in the heat and 20th overall in the event with a 4:40.32.

    Northwestern had just two representatives in the 200 IM finals. In the consolation final, Kim came from behind with a full second faster time than his second-place competition in the freestyle leg (26.45) to win with a season-best 1:53.92. In the bonus final, Gerber took fourth place (20th overall) with a 1:57.95.

    In the 50 free championship final, Margritier came in fourth with a 20.71. Valcic nearly swam the best time of the day in winning the consolation final with a Northwestern-season-best 20.47 followed by Grosser in 10th overall (21.01) and Cubelic and Stephens tied for 12th (21.07).

    The Wildcats went 1-2-3 in the 50 free bonus final, led by Ratajczyk in 21.15, McAuliffe in 21.26 and Wilcox in 21.31. Auren was 22nd overall with a 21.99 while Mattar swam a 22.43 to take 24th.

    In diving action Friday night, Nick Pinkerton (Hudson, Ohio/Hudson) was NU's top finisher on the 1-meter board with a third-place score of 287 while Tanner Nemkov (Littleton, Colo./Heritage) was fifth with a 270.85 and Amrit Trewn (Grosse Point, Mich./Cranbrook Kingswood) was eighth with a 239.85.

    Northwestern closed out Friday night's action with a win and another NCAA `B' cut with a 3:17.31 in the 400 medley relay. The NU team of Cubelic, Auren, Grosser and Margritier left the entire field in the dust en route to a little less than a 3.0 second win.

    The second day of the three-day TYR Invitational begins tomorrow morning, Saturday, Nov. 9, with a 9 a.m. CT preliminary session followed by a 5 p.m. CT finals session. Sunday's schedule calls for a 9 a.m. preliminary session with finals starting at 3 p.m. CT. Live results are available at


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