Feb. 28, 2013
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Northwestern swimmers picked up two scoring chances in the 50 free, earned four total second swims and netted four NCAA `B' consideration times during Thursday morning preliminary action at the 2013 Big Ten Championships.
Two Wildcats lowered their career-bests in the 50 freestyle by significant margins Thursday morning to earn scoring lanes in the consolation final of that event on Thursday night. Junior Chase Stephens (Madison, Wis./Edgewood) first chopped .53 of a second from his previous career best -- a massive drop in such a short race -- to place 11th overall in 19.97. Stephens becomes the fifth Wildcat in school history to break the 20 second barrier in the race.
Sophomore Matthew Margritier (Leawood, Kan./Rockhurst) continued his successful march back from an injury in the fall, lowering his career-best time to 20.06 to earn 14th place overall after the prelims.
Senior transfer Toni Valcic
(Ribnica, Slovenia/Gimnazija Ledina) also won a second swim opportunity with a career 50 free, lowering his personal-best time by four one-hundredths to touch in 20.19 and place 20th after the morning. All three of those 50 free swims constituted NCAA `B' cuts for the Wildcats.
Freshman Jordan Wilimovsky (Malibu, Calif./Malibu) cut over four seconds from his seed time in the 500 free to record an NCAA `B' consideration time of 4:24.29. After entering the event as the 23rd seed, Wilimovsky moved up to 20th and will swim in the bonus final on Thursday night.
Senior Charlie Rimkus (Tustin, Calif./Beckman) had a tough start to his final Big Ten Championships, going slightly slower than his seed for the season to touch in 31st position with a 4:27.56. Out of Rimkus' three events at the conference meet, however, the 500 free would be considered his "weakest," and Rimkus still has excellent chances for points and NCAA qualification in the 400 IM Friday (he is the sixth seed) and the 200 fly on Saturday (he is the 10th seed).
In the 200 IM, junior Brien Gerber (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) was Northwestern's lone entry, cutting 2.04 seconds from his seed to swim a 1:54.46 and place 58th overall.
The 2013 Big Ten Championships continue with 1-meter diving prelims throughout the afternoon before finals action at 5:30 p.m. CT tonight, Thursday, Feb. 28. Live Results are available at IUHoosiers.com.
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