Oct. 17, 2012
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern opens its 2012-13 swimming and diving season at 2 p.m. CT Friday, Oct. 19, at Eastern Michigan.
Northwestern has a strong corps of seniors returning for their final season as Wildcats, headlined by 2011 NCAA Championships qualifier Charlie Rimkus (Tustin, Calif./Beckman) in the distance free, IM and butterfly events. Toni Valcic (Ribnica, Slovenia/Gimnazija Ledina), a multiple-time Division II All-American before transferring to Northwestern prior to last season, will lead the NU sprint free squad alongside Alexander Ratajczyk (Parlin, N.J./Sayreville War Memorial) while Varun Shivakumar (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Fremd) seeks to cap his career with backstroke glory next to classmate Daniel Salovesh (Casa Grande, Ariz./Casa Grande Union).
Several returning Wildcats will make noise at the 2013 Big Ten Championships, including 6-7 junior Chase Stephens
(Madison, Wis./Edgewood) in the freestyle, junior Dominik Cubelic
(Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) in the sprint free and backstroke events, sophomore Matthew Margritier
(Leawood, Kan./Rockhurst) in the middle distance free and sophomore breaststroker Uula Auren
(Helsinki, Finland/Mäkelänrinteen Lukio), who has the potential to rocket into his first NCAA meet this year.
A strong freshman class that was ranked No. 16 in the nation by Collegeswimming.com is led by Jordan Wilimovsky (Malibu, Calif./Malibu), who had an incredible summer leading up to his first collegiate season. In the span of one week in August, Wilimovsky won the 1,500 meter freestyle at the USA Swimming Junior National Championships in meet-record fashion before earning two medals with Team USA at the World Junior Open Water Championships.
Isle of Man, Great Britain, native Grant Halsall (Laxey, Isle of Man, GBR) was the No. 16 overall recruit in the 2012 class as ranked by Collegeswimming.com. He was the fastest 18-and-under backstroker in his native country, ranking fourth all-time in that nation.
Breaststroke specialist Van Donkersgoed (Eden Prairie, Minn./Minnehaha Academy) will give the Wildcats a strong 1-2 punch in those events with Auren. He was ranked as Collegeswimming.com's No. 1 recruit in the state of Minnesota and No. 63 overall in the nation at the time of his signing.
Sophomore transfer Aaron Sears (Neenah, Minn./Neenah) adds freestyle and breaststroke support for the Wildcats while local product Nick Bessler (Naperville, Ill./Naperville North) provides depth in the butterfly and individual medleys.
Also a newcomer this year is assistant coach Andrew Sheaff, who most recently spent three years as an assistant at Bucknell. Sheaff worked as a volunteer assistant with current NU head coach Jarod Schroeder when he was the interim head coach at Maryland in 2007-08.
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