Oct. 20, 2011
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern opens its 2011-12 season at 3 p.m. CT Friday, Oct. 21, with a dual meet at Big Ten rival Illinois.
Entering his 18th season at the Wildcats' head coach and 24th overall with the program, Jimmy Tierney reached the 100-victory mark for dual meets a year ago. Buoyed by a 27-10 record in dual action in the last three seasons, Tierney now has an overall record of 102-71-1 during his time with the Wildcats.
Northwestern will attempt to add to the win column of that record Friday at Illinois, anchored by its distance stroke group led by associate head coach Nichole Ellis and a sister act on the diving boards coaches by world-renowned diving coach Alik Sarkisian.
The distance and individual medley groups will be strengths both in talent and in depth for the Wildcats this season. 400 IM school-record-holder Hannah Points (Tualatin, Ore./Tualatin) returns for her senior season, as does classmate Jacquie Godbe (Rapid City, S.D./Stevens), who ranks second all-time at NU in the 200 IM, and fellow senior Kathleen Patterson (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley), who is in the top-six in both individual medley races all-time for Northwestern. Junior Meredith King (Louisville, Ky./duPont Manual) joins the senior triumvirate as a viable point-scoring threat on the conference level, especially in the 400 IM.
The distance freestyle events will be helped by a pair of sophomores who gained invaluable experience last season. Both Megan Goss (Brentwood, Tenn./Ravenwood) and Erin Sosdian (The Woodlands, Texas/Woodlands College Park) broke into NU's all-time top times list in the mile as freshmen last year, while senior Beth Loe (Upper Arlington, Ohio/Upper Arlington) returns as the leader of the group.
The sister combination of junior Felicitas Lenz
(Altadena, Calif./Polytechnic School) and sophomore Cosima Lenz
(Altadena, Calif./Polytechnic School) should prove to be a point boon for Northwestern in dual and invitational competition this season. The elder Lenz placed 10th in the 3-meter springboard event competing for her native Germany at the 2011 World University Games while the younger qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials by virtue of an eighth-place finish on the 10-meter platform at U.S. Nationals.
Sophomore Jackie Powell (Madison, Wis./James Madison Memorial) is a Big Ten threat in freestyle distances ranging from the 100 all the way up to the 500, while junior Taylor Reynolds (St. Louis, Mo./Webster Groves) is NU's returning sprint leader.
In the butterfly, senior Meghan Cavanaugh (Anchorage, Alaska/East Anchorage) returns after scoring points at the Big Ten meet in the 100-yard race in each of the last two seasons. She will be helped by junior transfer Lauren Clifford (Pollock Pines, Calif./El Dorado), who began her career at Texas A&M in 2008 before leaving following her sophomore year and not enrolling in school this past competitive season.
Northwestern has a challenge to replace school-record-holder Liza Engstrom in the backstroke. The 2011 graduate re-broke her own mark in the 100 while earning the second-fastest time in school history in the 200 during her senior season. Two freshmen, Madeleine Klichowski (Chicago, Ill./Loyola Academy) and Rachel Kim (Federal Way, Wash./Todd Beamer), are tasked with stepping up to fill the void left by Engstrom's graduation.
Senior Jenny Wilson (Bethesda, Md./Sidwell Friends School) has been Northwestern's best breaststroker since 20-time All-American Amy Balcerzak at the beginning of this century, and she is aiming to take down both of NU Athletics Hall of Famer's breaststroke marks. Wilson ranks second in both the 100 and 200 breast events behind Balcerzak on NU's all-time top times list.
This being an Olympic year, Northwestern also will be attempting to add to a growing roster of Wildcats who have made Olympic Trial cuts for the 2012 meet. King, Reynolds and Wilson all already have swimming Trial qualifications entering the 2011-12 collegiate slate.
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