Northwestern Women Cruise Past Illinois

CHAMPAIGN, Illinois, October 19. AFTER a slow start in its season-opening meet at Big Ten foe Illinois, Northwestern charged ahead and closed the door on the Illini for a 169-131 victory.

Northwestern will return home to host a unique event from 6-7 p.m. CT Wednesday, Oct. 24: Breaststroke4Breastcancer. This hour of music, fun and, of course, swimming, will raise money for local cancer research. Already 150 swimmers have signed up to be a part of the evening's relays, guaranteeing an entertaining spectacle for fans and supporters in the stands. An emcee will keep the action moving, there will be a “pink” bake sale and plenty of surprises.

Illinois captured the opening 400 medley relay Friday with the Northwestern team of Shelly Patton (Littleton, Colo./Heritage), Julianne Kurke (Atlanta, Ga./Parkview), Marybeth Hall (Brighton, Mich./Brighton) and Taylor Reynolds (St. Louis, Mo./Webster Groves) coming in second with a 3:53.79.

NU immediately hit its stride, however, in the first individual event with two freshmen leading the way. Ellen Anderson (Montgomery Village, Md./Gaithersburg) tore through the field en route to a 7.85-second win in the 1,000 free, turning in a time of 10:16.10. Classmate Emily Launer (DeKalb, Ill./Rosary) placed second in 10:23.95 while junior Erin Sosdian (The Woodlands, Texas/Woodlands College Park) came in third with a 10:25.02.

Illinois' top swimmer pulled away from NU's Jackie Powell in the final 50 yards of the 200 free, taking the race with a 1:52.28 against Powell's 1:52.82. Freshman Karen Turner (Lake Oswego, Ore./Lakeridge) then followed with a victory in her first collegiate race, swimming a 57.85 to hold off an Illinois challenger in the 100 back by .24 of a second.

The Illini grabbed their third win of the meet in the 100 breast, with Kurke taking top honors for the `Cats in a second-place time of 1:07.04 after a 34.97 split in the final 50 enabled her to catch by one-tenth of a second another Illini competitor, whose final 50 was a 35.46. A fourth Illinois victory then followed in the 200 fly, where NU's Meredith King (Louisville, Ky./duPont Manual) was second by nearly a full second with a time of 2:05.18.

Northwestern began its comeback in the sprint free events and diving. First, the senior Reynolds (23.85) led a 1-2 NU sweep of the 50 free alongside freshman Julia Pratt (Vincennes, Ind./Vincennes Rivet) (24.43). In the 100 free, Powell led the sweep with a 52.72 while Reynolds was second in 52.82.

Between those two events, junior Cosima Lenz (Altadena, Calif./Polytechnic) captured top honors on the 1-meter springboard with a 245.92, good for a nearly 20-point victory over Illinois' top entry.

Turner made it a sweep of the backstroke events with a strong win in the 200, going out fast with a sub-30.00 opening 50 before holding off an Illini foe with a 2:06.29. Illinois would fight back, however, with a 1-2 sweep of the 200 breast before Anderson captured her second event with another huge margin of victory, this time taking the 500 free by nearly six seconds with a time of 5:01.68.

Illinois pushed its way back into the competition with a 1-2-3 sweep in the 100 fly before NU took control for good, beginning with its own 1-2-3 sweep on the 3-meter springboard. Lenz again led the way with a 261.61 followed by freshman Caroline Grant (Winnetka, Ill./New Trier) in second (252.97) and Mary Kate Campbell (Burr Ridge, Ill./Fenwick) in third (236.92).

Junior Becca Soderholm (Madison, Wis./Madison East) battled with her teammate Patton in the 400 IM, holding off the youngster after building a big lead in the backstroke. Soderholm's final time was 4:28.31 to Patton's 4:28.53.

A final win in the 400 free relay put an exclamation point on the win for Northwestern. The team of Powell, Katie McCullough (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central), Sosdian and Reynolds swam a 3:30.44 for the victory.

Northwestern has two weeks off from competition following its opening meet of 2012, returning to action at 4 p.m. CT Friday, Nov. 2, against UIC at the Norris Aquatics Center.

The above article is a press release submitted to Swimming World Magazine. It has been posted in its entirety without editing. Swimming World offers all outlets the chance to reach our audience by contacting us at Newsmaster@swimmingworldmagazine.com. However, Swimming World reserves the right to choose what material is posted.

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