Dec. 2, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Northwestern concluded its fall competitive season Sunday at the Iowa Invitational, getting NCAA `B' provisional qualifying times from a pair of Wildcats and one comeback performance for the ages in diving competition.
NU ended up in fourth place among the main seven-team field, scoring 472.5 points. Iowa was third with 559.5, Nebraska came in second with 670 and No. 22 Michigan won the meet with 876.5 points.
Senior Taylor Reynolds (St. Louis, Mo./Webster Groves) won her second event of the meet with an NCAA `B' time in the 100 freestyle, very nearly taking down her own career-best in the event at just the midpoint of the season. Freshman Karen Turner (Lake Oswego, Ore./Lakeridge) also showed off her potential, turning a consolation final swim in the 200 back into her first collegiate NCAA `B' time during a great competitive race.
On the diving boards, senior Felicitas Lenz (Altadena, Calif./Polytechnic School) won the 10-meter platform event by a huge margin after only returning from injury to even train just two weeks ago. After a longer-than-expected layoff, the performance announces Lenz should once again be a force come Big Ten Championships time.
NU now moves on to its winter training trip to Boca Raton, Fla., where it will hold one dual meet before hitting the waters against in January in preparation for the Big Ten Championships.
Sunday morning preliminary action
In the morning's first event, the 200 back, Turner was NU's top qualifier with a 13th-place and season-best time of 2:01.55 that put her through to the consolation final. Three Wildcats earned second swims in the bonus final: freshman Shelly Patton (Littleton, Colo./Heritage) in 19th (2:03.51), Madeleine Klichowski (Chicago, Ill./Loyola Academy) in 20th (2:04.08) and Meaghan Fenn (New Rochelle, N.Y./The Ursuline School) in 22nd (2:04.64).
Fresh off a dominating win in the 50 free Friday evening, Reynolds positioned herself to do the same thing Sunday in the 100 free. The 2012 NCAA Championships qualifier established a meet record and picked up another NCAA `B' provisional qualifying time with a prelim swim of 49.71, topping the rest of the field by .42 of a second. Her 49.71 is just .41 of a second off of her career-best in the event.
Sophomore Valerie Nubbe (Huntsville, Ala./Huntsville) did crush her career-best in the 100 free Sunday morning, also making the championship final with a 50.93 to qualify seventh overall. The lone other Wildcat to earn a second-swim in the 100 free was Katie McCullough (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central), whose season-best 51.79 put her 20th in the field and in the afternoon's `C' final.
Freshman Julianne Kurke (Atlanta, Ga./Parkview) kicked hard in the final 50 yards of the 200 breast to surge into the championship final with a seventh-place 2:18.49, a time that was a season-best and .30 seconds clear of the cut line for the `B' heat. In that consolation final, junior Megan Goss (Brentwood, Tenn./Ravenwood) has the opportunity to score points for the Wildcats after a 2:19.17 that represented a 3.80 second drop from her previous season-best in the event.
Becca Soderholm (Madison, Wis./Madison East) made the non-scoring bonus final of the 200 breast with an 18th-place and season-best time of 2:22.70, just one-tenth of a second away from the consolation heat.
Soderholm would eventually scratch her swim in the 200 breast Sunday afternoon, though, because she was one of two Wildcats to make the championship final of the very next event, the 200 fly. Soderholm turned in a season-best 2:02.40 to place fifth overall in qualification behind her teammate senior Meredith King (Louisville, Ky./duPont Manual), whose 2:01.44 was good for second place just five one-hundredths away from the top preliminary swim.
Senior Marybeth Hall (Brighton, Mich./Brighton) (2:06.54) and freshman Chelsea Soderholm (Madison, Wis./Madison East) (season-best 2:08.25) both qualified for the 200 fly bonus final Sunday afternoon.
The meet's divers competed in the 10-meter platform event during the morning's preliminary action, and Northwestern's platform specialists rose to the top. Despite this being her first meet of the season after sitting out most of the fall due to injury, and despite not making a championship final in either of the Iowa Invitational springboard events, 2012 All-Big Ten platform honoree Felicitas Lenz roared back to form to win the event Sunday with a 309.00, a score which topped the field by a whopping 33.45 points.
Junior Cosima Lenz (Altadena, Calif./Polytechnic School), who like her older sister excels on the platform, placed third overall with a score of 261.95. Freshman Caroline Grant (Winnetka, Ill./New Trier) scored four points for NU with a 13th-place 206.45 while junior Mary Kate Campbell (Burr Ridge, Ill./Fenwick) tallied two points with a 15th-place 200.15.
Sunday afternoon finals action
Three Wildcats scored points in the 1,650 freestyle during Sunday afternoon's first swimming finals event, led by Ellen Anderson (Montgomery Village, Md./Gaithersburg) in seventh place with a time of 16:53.31. Classmate Emily Launer (DeKalb, Ill./Rosary) earned 10th-place points with a 17:02.65 and Goss swam to a season-best 13th-place 17:07.31.
Turner turned it on to win the consolation final of the 200 back, building an early edge against Nebraska's Ellan Dufour before ending up in a neck-and-neck battle that resulted in Turner touching first by .15 of a second for a season-best and NCAA `B' provisional qualifying time of 1:58.57. Patton rebounded from a tough morning swim in the event to win the bonus final by 1.48 seconds in 2:00.62. Also in that 200 back heat, Klichowski cut 1.20 seconds from her prelim swim to take 19th overall in 2:02.88 and Fenn also had a faster evening time for a 21st-place 2:04.60.
Reynolds showed up in a big way to win the 100 free, further lowering her meet record and coming two one-hundredths of a second away from her career best in the event with an NCAA `B' time of 49.32. She was not first at the 50-yard mark of the race, but she pulled away at the end for a .43 of a second win. Nubbe scored 11 points with an eighth-place 51.16 in that championship 100 free heat while, in the bonus final, McCullough swam slightly quicker than her morning outing to take 20th in 51.67.
In the championship final of the 200 breast, an early deficit was too much to overcome for Kurke, who kicked hard for a 2:17.79 (.70 of a second faster than in the morning) to take eighth overall. Fresh off scoring points in the mile, Goss re-entered the water for 200 more yards and tallied four more points for NU, this time with a 13th-place 2:19.48.
In the 200 fly, Becca Soderholm swam 1.05 seconds faster than in the morning to move up and take fourth place with a time of 2:01.35. Right on her heels was King in fifth place with an identical 2:01.44 to what she swam in the preliminary heat. In the bonus final, Becca's younger sister, Chelsea, took 21st with a 2:08.43 while Hall was 22nd in 2:08.91.
Northwestern's team of Nubbe, Reynolds, King and McCullough closed out the meet with a third-place finish in the 400 free relay, swimming a 3:22.43 that narrowly edged Iowa at the wall thanks to a big surge from McCullough on the anchor leg.
Be the first to know what's going on with the 'Cats -- Follow @NU_Sports on Twitter, become a fan of Northwestern Athletics on Facebook, subscribe to the NU Sports Express e-newsletter and sign up to receive promotional text alerts for the latest news, schedule updates and video and to interact with NU. For more information on following specific Northwestern teams online, visit our Social Media page!