Northwestern vs. Eastern Michigan (Men)

YPSILANTI, Michigan, October 21. NORTHWESTERN won nearly every swimming event in a strong season-opening performance Friday at Eastern Michigan, besting the perennial Mid-American Conference champion 165-130.
Northwestern won every swimming race except for the 200 back, and head coach Jarod Schroeder had his team exhibition the final two events to account for the final 165-130 score.

"Our times were not quite where they need to be yet, but we are on the right track," Schroeder said.

Northwestern opened the meet with a dominating win in the 200 medley relay. The team of Dominik Cubelic (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South), Uula Auren (Helsinki, Finland/Mäkelänrinteen Lukio), Jake Grosser (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles East) and Toni Valcic (Ribnica, Slovenia/Gimnazija Ledina) swam to a 1:32.06, good for a more than three second victory.

Junior Charlie Rimkus (Tustin, Calif./Beckman) crushed the field in the 1,000 free with a 9:35.25, beating his nearest opponent by nearly 12 full seconds. In the next event, John Frutiger (Alma, Mich./Alma) and Jan Hanulik (Cavisov, Czech Republic/Sportovni/Gymnazium) went 1-2 in the 200 free. Frutiger won with a 1:41.26 while Hanulik led the rest of the field with a 1:43.04.

Cubelic then gathered an individual win with a 50.18 in the 100 back before breaststroke specialist Auren won the 100 breast by 1.71 seconds with a time of 57.04.

"We were very pleased with Uula's race in the 100 breast just because we did not know what to expect," Schroeder said. "He had a great collegiate debut."

Senior Tony Mattar (Lake Orion, Mich./Lake Orion) led Rimkus in a 1-2 Wildcat sweep of the 200 fly with a 1:52.57, narrowly defeating his junior teammate by .07 of a second but taking out the rest of the field by nearly four full seconds.

Northwestern dominated both sprint freestyle races with 1-2-3-4 finishes in the 50 free and 100 free. Grosser won the 50 while Cubelic earned a double win day with a first in the 100.

With stud 200 back man Varun Shivakumar (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Fremd) scratched due to a minor injury, Eastern Michigan took that race from Northwestern. Rimkus put the Wildcats right back on the winning path with a 2:07.18 to take the 200 breast by a mere .02 of a second over an EMU swimmer, coming from three-quarters of a second down in the final 50 yards for the victory.

Michigan native Frutiger got his second win of the day with a 4:39.71 in the 500 free, then Grosser and Mattar went 1-2 in the 100 fly. Grosser's winning time was 51.50 to beat out Mattar's 51.86.

Eastern Michigan won both diving boards, and Northwestern exhibitioned its swimmers in the final two races to account for the 165-130 final score. Though it did not count for points on Friday, the 400 free relay team of Valcic, Matthew Margritier(Leawood, Kan./Rockhurst), Cubelic and Grosser touched first in 3:07.28 for a more than 4.5 second win.

Eastern Michigan is the class of the Mid-American Conference, winning 29 MAC team titles since 1977-78, including 21 under current head coach Peter Linn. The Eagles have won 59-straight MAC dual meets and are 371-116 (.762) in dual meets overall since their inaugural season in 1964-65.

Northwestern returns to action in a combined dual meet with the women's team at 2 p.m. CT Saturday, Nov. 5, at Purdue.

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