SOUTH BEND, Indiana, January 9. NO. 23 Northwestern fell behind Notre Dame early in a dual meet Saturday at the Rolfs Aquatic Center before putting together one of the comebacks it has patented this season, winning the final relay to capture the meet, 153-147.
The win improves the Wildcats to 7-2 on the dual-meet season. Notre Dame entered the meet receiving votes in the most recent College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) top-25 rankings.
Notre Dame won the opening 200 medley relay with Northwestern teams scoring points in both second and third places. Liza Engstrom (Reno, Nev./Robert McQueen), Jenny Wilson (Bethesda, Md./Sidwell Friends School), Meghan Cavanaugh (Anchorage, Alaska/East Anchorage) and Emily Wong (Nepean, Ontario/St. Joseph's) comprised the Wildcats' top relay with a time of 1:45.46.
The Irish again took the top place in the first individual event of the meet, the 1,000 free, with a trio of Wildcats coming in second, third and fourth. Former Big Ten Swimmer of the Week Jenn Kocsis (Omaha, Neb./Marian) was second for Northwestern with a 10:17.29 followed by Ellen Grigg (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Latin School) and Kate Stephensen (Davis, Calif./Davis Senior).
Kassia Shishkoff (Raleigh, N.C./St. David's School) broke through for Northwestern's first win with a 1:48.87 in the 200 free, blazing past the rest of the field by more than three seconds. Shishkoff's time matched her previous season best reached at the TYR Invitational in November and gave her another NCAA `B' provisional qualifying standard on the season.
Engstrom's 57.40 in the 100 back was good for second place, then the Wildcats went 2-3-4 in the 100 breast after a Notre Dame swimmer won with a `B' cut of her own. Wilson led the way for the 'Cats with a 1:04.44 followed by Kathleen Patterson's (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) 1:04.83 and Marybeth Hall's (Brighton, Mich./Brighton) 1:07.42.
The Irish continued to come out on top of races just ahead of a slew of Wildcats, this time in the 200 fly. Katie Casey won the event for the home team over Meredith King (Louisville, Ky./duPont Manual), who led a 2-3-4-5 finish for NU. King swam a 2:04.04 and was followed by Cavanaugh, Hannah Points (Tualatin, Ore./Tualatin) and Rachel Rys (Goleta, Calif./Dos Pueblos).
The trend continued in the 50 free with NU's Wong, Taylor Reynolds (St. Louis, Mo./Webster Groves) and Teisha Lightbourne (Nassau, Bahamas/Peddie School (N.J.)) placing second-through-fourth before the meet's midway point break.
Coming out of the breather, Wong got Northwestern back on the winning track with a first-place time of 50.81 in the 100 free. Genny Szymanski (Haines, Alaska/Haines) kept the good times rolling in her signature event, winning the 200 back by more than a full second with a personal and Northwestern season-best time of 2:01.21. Meaghan Fenn (New Rochelle, N.Y./The Ursuline School) took third and Engstrom scored fourth-place points in the race.
A 2:17.94 from Wilson in the 200 breast got her a second-place finish in the race, followed by Points in third with a season-best 2:20.32.
Shiskoff won her second race of the day with a runaway victory in the 500 free, clocking in with a 4:53.58 to win by more than seven seconds. Kocsis was third for the 'Cats.
Notre Dame took the top two spots in the 100 fly, with Katie Eschenburg (Hartland, Wis./Arrowhead) leading NU's entries with a third-place and season-best time of 56.34.
Needing basically a miracle to climb back into contention, Northwestern got one. Shishkoff closed out the individual portion of the meet with her third win, a season-best 4:22.01 in the 400 IM to lead a Northwestern sweep of the top four spots in the race. Points was second with a 4:24.46, Patterson third in 4:25.86 and King fourth with a 4:26.40, helping to complete the comeback and put the Wildcats in a position to win the meet with a victory in the final relay.
The Wildcats were able to do just that. The team of Wong, Lightbourne, Reynolds and Shishkoff got a 3:25.23 in the 400 free relay, easily holding off Notre Dame by more than two seconds for the victory.
In diving action during the day, Felicitas Lenz (Altadena, Calif./Polytechnic School) was NU's best on the 3-meter springboard with a fourth-place total of 257.18 before upping that to a second-place result on the 1-meter board with a 272.70.
Northwestern returns to action Saturday, Jan. 16, in split-squad fashion. Half of the Wildcats will travel to Michigan for a 1 p.m. CT meet while the rest will remain in Evanston to face Carthage and Lewis along with the NU men at 1 p.m. CT at the Norris Aquatics Center.
For the men, Northwestern put together its most complete dual meet of the season, earning eight season-best times in scoring finishes in its first competition after winter break to defeat Notre Dame Saturday, 158.5-139.5.
The win improves Northwestern to 2-3 on the dual-meet season. Notre Dame entered the meet receiving votes in the most recent College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) top-25 rankings.
Northwestern opened the meet in style with more than a full-second victory in the 200 medley relay. Alex Tyler (Birmingham, Mich./Birmingham Groves), Nathan Butler (Cincinnati, Ohio/Turpin), Brian Kerr (East Grand Rapids, Mich./East Grand Rapids) and Sean Mathews (St. Louis, Mo./Lafayette) combined for a 1:32.31 to win the race.
Charlie Rimkus (Tustin, Calif./Beckman) and Peter Park (Princeton, N.J./Peddie School) then swept the 1,000 freestyle, with Rimkus turning in a season-best 9:26.54 and Park also notching a season-best time with a 9:31.51.
John Frutiger (Alma, Mich./Alma) was the top Wildcat in the 200 free, placing third with a 1:42.20 and narrowly losing a dash to the wall for second place against Andrew Hoffman's 1:42.13. Notre Dame also won the 100 backstroke with Petar Petrovic using a strong second 50 yards to get home in just under a half-second faster than Northwestern's Jan Hanulik (Cavisov, Czech Republic/Sportovni Gymnazium), who swam a season-best time of 51.98.
Butler and Tyler swept the top two spots in the 100 breast to keep Northwestern on top early in the meet. Butler sliced his season-best time in the event to 56.98 to win Saturday's race, followed by Tyler's time of 57.46.
Mathews then captured the 200 fly with a time of 1:48.79. Park took third-place points in the race with a season-best 1:51.90. Kerr led Northwestern in the 50 free with a season-best 21.20, good for second place heading into the meet's halfway point break.
During the break, the men completed the 3-meter diving event in which Kalister Harmon (Olympia, Wash./Capital) gave Northwestern huge points in the meet with a tremendous victory over four Irish divers. Harmon's season-high score of 328.88 bested Wesley Villaflor's second-place total by a mere .54 of a point. The total qualified Harmon for NCAA Zone Diving competition later in the year.
Back in the pool, Mathews and Kerr swept the 100 free coming out of the rest with times of 46.32 and 46.42, respectively. ND's Petrovic won his second backstroke event of the day in the 200, but Hanulik again placed second for the Wildcats, this time with a 1:52.64.
Northwestern's top two breaststrokers swept the top spots in the stroke again in the 200, this time switching places. Tyler won with a 2:04.23 while Butler recorded his second season-best time of the day to place second with a 2:06.55. Jay Calhoun (Palos Verdes Peninsula, Calif./Palos Verdes Peninsula) made it a clean NU sweep on top with a third-place effort of 2:10.59 in the race.
Rimkus' second win of the day came via a 4:34.75 in the 500 free. He led teammate Tony Mattar (Lake Orion, Mich./Lake Orion), whose 4:39.36 gave him second-place honors in the event.
Mathews' time of 50.00 in the 100 fly gave him his third victory of the meet. Chris Doman (Pittsburgh, Pa./St. Charles Prep (Columbus, Ohio)) swam a 50.91 to take third and give NU its second-straight 1-3 finish headed into the second break of the meet.
On the 1-meter board, Harmon did not repeat his heroics from the 3-meter event, but he did garner third-place points with a score of 262.50.
Tyler then rounded out the individual races with a 1:50.42 in the 200 IM, good for another first-place Northwestern finish.
With the meet already decided, Notre Dame won the final 400 free relay over NU's second-place team of Kerr, Doman, Hanulik and Alexander Ratajczyk (Parlin, N.J./Sayreville War Memorial).
Northwestern returns to action at 1 p.m. CT Saturday, Jan. 9, against both Carthage and Lewis at the Norris Aquatics Center.
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