EVANSTON, Illinois, November 22. WHILE other schools are hosting invitationals that feature the normal NCAA championship lineup to get swimmers ready for the end of the season, Northwestern has put 50s of the strokes in the TYR Invitational to add some spice to the proceedings.
The first day of competition today featured the usual first-day events — 200 free relay, 500 free, 200 IM, 50 free and 400 medley relay — as well as the 50 breaststroke. Renata Sander of Missouri State won the women’s 50 breast with a 28.34 to remain the only swimmer under 29 seconds today. Sander led prelims with a 28.65. Uula Auren of Northwestern took the men’s 50 breast with a 25.06 in a close race with Missouri State’s Isaac Springer, who was second with a 25.08.
To kick off the finals session, Bowling Green won a three-way race in the women’s 200 free relay, winning with a time of 1:33.42. Missouri State followed with a 1:33.64 and Northwestern was third with a 1:33.92.
With the help of a 19.87 leadoff leg by “Morning Swim Show” guest Chase Stephens, Northwestern had no trouble winning the men’s 200 free relay with a 1:20.44 ahead of Missouri State’s 1:21.35. Stephens’ leadoff leg was a lifetime best and broke the pool record of 19.93 held by Northwestern alum and two-time Olympian Matt Grevers since 2004, and gets him closer to Grevers’ school record of 19.35. Stephens would return to win the 50 free with a 20.04.
Northwestern freshman Lauren Abruzzo set a pool record twice in the 500 free today, first swimming a 4:46.91 in the prelims then lowering it with a 4:46.11 to win the final. The Wildcats swept the top three places, as Ellen Anderson posted a 4:54.01 for second and Erin Sosdian was third with a 4:55.06.
Jordan Wilimovsky posted his fastest 500 free of the season with a 4:22.57 to win the men’s 500 free. For now, the time is in the top five in the national collegiate rankings and is also a lifetime best for the freshman. At last season’s Big Ten championship, he swam a 4:23.82. Well back in second place was teammate Charlie Cole with a 4:26.95, while Missouri State’s Jon Burke was third with a 4:28.48.
Lacey Locke, a freshman at Northwestern, held off teammates Becca Soderholm and Abruzzo to win the 200 IM with a 2:02.05. Soderholm swam a 2:02.54, while Abruzzo had an impressive double, placing third with a 2:2.83.
Paul Le, a Missouri State standout who recently appeared on “The Morning Swim Show”, won the 200 IM with a 1:47.41. He led teammate Uvis Kalnins by 1.3 seconds after the backstroke leg, and held off Kalnins, who was second with a 1:47.51. Andrew Jovanovic was also in the race, posting the fastest freestyle leg to place third with a 1:47.59.
Brittany Szekely of Bowling Green put up a winning time of 23.32 in the 50 free, ahead of Summer Strickler of Missouri State, who posted a 23.58. Victoria Griffin placed third with a 23.63.
Missouri State’s women won the 400 medley relay with a 3:46.42, while Northwestern’s men took the 400 medley relay with a time of 3:13.10 to break a seven-year-old pool record.