Nov. 18, 2012
EVANSTON, Ill. -- After trailing Illinois through the first two days of its own three-day TYR Invitational at the Norris Aquatics Center, Northwestern surged ahead in Sunday's final action to claim the team championship in the six-team meet.
NU easily erased its 21.5-point deficit entering the finals to win by a 107-point margin, tallying 1,056.5 total points to Illinois' 949.5. Bowling Green State came in third with 644 points, North Dakota claimed fourth in 411 and UIC claimed fifth with 351 points -- edging sixth-place Kenyon College (350 points) by the slimmest of margins.
The `Cats earned first-place finishes in the 1,650 free, the 100 free and the 400 free relay. Numerous NU swimmers moved on from the morning's preliminary session into the finals. Most finals races included multiple Wildcats.
The highlight of the day centered on Kenyon College's Hannah Saiz who set the Norris Center pool record in the 200 fly. Her time of 1:58.97 gave her a provisional "A" qualifying time at the Division III level.
Northwestern now has a week off from competition before returning to action Nov. 30-Dec. 2 in a second fall season invitational, this one the Iowa Invitational hosted by the Hawkeyes in Iowa City.
Preliminary Portion of Sunday's Action:
Northwestern wasted no time getting started Sunday morning. Freshman Julia Pratt (Vincennes, Ind./Vincennes Rivet) raced out ahead in the 50 fly and stayed there, qualifying first in a time of 25.39. She will be joined in the final by sophomore Valerie Nubbe (Huntsville, Ala./Huntsville) and senior Marybeth Hall (Brighton, Mich./Brighton). Nubbe was fourth after each heat, while Hall came in fifth. Junior Fallon Fitzpatrick (Delray Beach, Fla./Boca Raton Community) qualified for the "B" final, finishing in the 14th spot.
The Wildcats qualified more swimmers for the championship final of the 200 back than the entire rest of the competition combined. Five NU swimmers filled out qualifying spots three through seven. Freshman Shelly Patton (Littleton, Colo./Heritage) led the way for the `Cats, finishing her swim in 2:02.13. Freshman Karen Turner (Lake Oswego, Ore./Lakeridge), freshman Ellen Anderson (Montgomery Village, Md./Gaithersburg), senior Meaghan Fenn (New Rochelle, N.Y./The Ursuline School), and sophomore Madeleine Klichowski (Chicago, Ill./Loyola Academy) all finished within a half-second of each other and all moved on with Patton to the "A" final.
Two more Wildcat swimmers were able to move onto the "B" final, as junior Erin Sosdian (The Woodlands, Texas/Woodlands College Park) and freshman Emily Launer (DeKalb, Ill./Rosary) finished 10th and 13th, respectively, to round out the NU dominance in the event. Freshman Chelsea Soderholm (Madison, Wis./Madison East) also contributed, qualifying for the bonus final.
The 100 free also was largely dominated by Northwestern swimmers. Three Wildcats moved on to the "A" final with senior Taylor Reynolds (St. Louis, Mo./Webster Groves) leading the way, qualifying third in a time of 51.22. She was just .23 seconds off the leader. Nubbe finished directly behind Reynolds in fourth. She swam the race in 51.44.
Senior Katie McCullough (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central) moved on with her teammates, placing seventh in the preliminary heats. Senior Meredith King (Louisville, Ky./duPont Manual) was ninth to pace the pack into the "B" final. Teammate Hall joined her in qualifying for the final, coming in 15th. One Wildcat advanced onto the bonus final of the 100 free, as Pratt just missed the final "B" qualifying spot.
Freshman Julianne Kurke (Atlanta, Ga./Parkview) swam her best time to date in the 200 breast, qualifying fourth in a time of 2:21.00. Junior Megan Goss (Brentwood, Tenn./Ravenwood) also put forth her best effort of the season, swimming the event in 2:22.99. She advanced to the "A" final in the seventh spot. Fenn was ninth, placing her atop the list in the "B" final. She will be joined by junior Becca Soderholm (Madison, Wis./Madison East).
There was a small field jockeying for a position in the 50 backstroke, and three `Cats took advantage. Patton led the entire field, qualifying first in a time of 26.21. She held off the second-place finisher by one-one hundredth of a second. Turner advanced in the third spot, swimming a 26.92. Klichowski was the other Wildcat to make it to Sunday night's session in the event. She was fourth in the prelims in 27.32.
King's season-best swim in the 200 fly placed her in the finals alongside teammate Becca Soderholm. King was third in qualifying, swimming a 2:03.83. Solderholm advanced in the sixth spot, with a finishing time of 2:06.82. Two more `Cats were able to qualify for the bonus final of the event, as Chelsea Soderholm swam her best race of the season, coming in at 2:11.40. Fitzpatrick was the other Wildcat to move on to the bonus.
During Sunday morning's preliminary action, Northwestern and Illinois divers competed in the finals of the 5-meter platform event. NU swept the top three spots in the only point scoring of the morning, immediately erasing the Wildcats' deficit entering the day and surging the home team into the lead over the Illini, 649-646.5, entering Sunday afternoon's official finals sessions.
Junior Cosima Lenz (Altadena, Calif./Polytechnic School) won by more than 10 points with a 150.60 followed by freshman Caroline Grant (Winnetka, Ill./New Trier) in second with 140.45 and junior Mary Kate Campbell (Burr Ridge, Ill./Fenwick) in third with 128.55 points.
Finals Portion of Sunday's Action:
Northwestern was all over the top of the podium to begin the final portion on Sunday. The 1,650 free belonged to the `Cats all the way as they took the top four spots. Sosdian claimed first in a career-best time of 16:38.46, winning by a sizeable margin and placing herself seventh on NU's all-time top times list in the event. Second was Anderson in 16:51.40. Launer was third with a time of 16:54.40. Goss rounded out the top-four for NU, coming in at 17:12.40. All told, the Wildcats picked up 68 team points with their dominant effort to pull ahead of rival Illinois.
In the 50 fly, Pratt swam a strong race. Her 25.55 was good for third-place overall. Teammate Nubbe finished sixth, swimming a 25.96. Hall was right behind her, coming in seventh in a time of 25.99. In the consolation final, Fitzpatrick completed the event in 26.26 to claim 11th place.
The women dominated the field of the 200 backstroke during the final. In the championship final alone, five `Cats were among the top-seven finishers. Patton led the way for Northwestern, finishing second and crushing her best time to date. She recorded a time of 1:59.54. Turner came in fourth and also swam her best time in 2:02.64. Klichowski was fifth and, like those before her, swam a season-best 2:02.81. The trend would continue as Fenn, swimming her best time of the season, finished sixth with a time of 2:04.44. Anderson placed seventh overall in a time of 2:07.10. Sosdian and Launer competed in the consolation final, with Sosdian placing 10th overall and Launer coming in 16th. NU picked up 79 team points from this event.
Reynolds was fantastic in the finals of the 100 free, swimming her fastest race of the season on her way to claiming the title. Her time of 50.28 put her ahead of the rest of the field. Nubbe was fourth in the event with a 51.55. That posted time was her best of the season as well. McCullough rounded out the exceptionally fast final with her best time of the season, finishing in 52.33 and claiming eighth. The consolation final saw both King and Hall compete. King was 11th while Hall was 16th.
Times continued to fall in the 200 breaststroke with Kurke bringing down her season-best to a 2:19.16. With that effort, she was able to claim second-place. Goss also performed well in the event, swimming a 2:22.97, her best time, on the way to a seventh-place finish. In the consolation final, Becca Soderholm and Fenn finished 10th and 11th, respectively. The event helped Northwestern push their lead over second-place Illinois to over 100.
The `Cats continued the push for more points in the 50 backstroke. All three NU swimmers in the event placed in the top-four overall. Patton fell just short of winning, but still claimed second with a time of 25.82. Turner was right behind her, placing third with a 26.26, while teammate Klichowski came in fourth, swimming a 27.31.
The 200 fly was highlighted by a swimmer from Division III school Kenyon College. Hannah Saiz set a Norris Center pool record in the event with a 1:58.97 on her way to victory. The previous record was from 2007. On the Northwestern side, Becca Soderholm placed third with a time of 2:03.11. King finished directly behind her in fourth in 2:03.30.
The 400 free relay was very competitive with nobody gaining the upper-hand until Northwestern anchor Reynolds pulled away from the Illini down the stretch. After Nubbe, Patton and McCullough had swum their legs of the race, the two teams were in a dead-heat. Reynolds swam a 50.01 in the final 100 to clinch the win for the `Cats. The final time for NU stood at 3:24.59. The mark gives the team a new season-best. The "B" team for NU came to the finish in sixth-place. The team of Hall, Pratt, Turner and Sosdian had a time of 3:29.92.
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