ANN ARBOR, Michigan, January 14. IN its final road meet of the regular season, Northwestern earned an exciting victory over Notre Dame, 156-144, while falling to host No. 22 Michigan, 169-126, in double dual action.
"We had some good highlights today, though we hoped to be closer to Michigan," head coach Jimmy Tierney said. "Our team is really showing very competitive advancements since the last time we raced. It was great to have Rachel Kim, Hannah Points and Taylor Reynolds back in the lineup and healthy after they missed most of the fall with injuries."
Northwestern's 200 medley relay squad of Rachel Kim (Federal Way, Wash./Todd Beamer), Jenny Wilson (Bethesda, Md./Sidwell Friends School), Meghan Cavanaugh (Anchorage, Alaska/East Anchorage) and Taylor Reynolds (St. Louis, Mo./Webster Groves) opened the meet with a second-place finish, splitting a pair of Michigan teams with a 1:43.62, which was just .21 of a second shy of NU's top time of the year in the event.
The race featured the first collegiate action for well-regarded freshman backstroker Kim, who missed the fall season with an injury. Reynolds' 22.89 split in the anchor leg was a big step forward for the junior, who was limited all fall with a shoulder tear. Associate head coach Nichole Ellis credited Reynolds' hard work in dryland exercises for her ability to immediately compete at a high level at the start of the winter dual meet schedule.
Michigan took the top three spots in the 1,000 free followed by Megan Goss (Brentwood, Tenn./Ravenwood) in fourth overall and Erin Sosdian (The Woodlands, Texas/Woodlands College Park) in fifth, both ahead of the top Notre Dame swimmer. Goss' 10:09.75 and Sosdian's 10:13.03 both were season best times for the 'Cats.
Sophomore Jackie Powell (Madison, Wis./James Madison Memorial) won the 200 free with a time of 1:50.36, swimming the final 100 in 56.08 to reel in the top Michigan competitor and win by .18 of a second — just good racing. Senior Jacquie Godbe (Rapid City, S.D./Stevens) placed third overall for NU with a season-best 1:51.51. Kim then took fourth overall in the 100 back as Northwestern's top finisher, touching the wall in 57.41.
In the 100 breast, Wilson finished second overall in the event behind an Irish entry, but had a terrific swim to turn in a season-best and NCAA `B' provisional qualifying standard time of 1:02.11.
Cavanaugh's season-best 2:03.80 in the 200 fly was good for fourth place overall as NU's top finisher, then Reynolds (a season-best 23.63) and freshman Tori Larsen (Elmhurst, Ill./York Community) (23.64) came in 2-3 overall in the 50 free behind a Michigan competitor.
During the first diving event of the meet, junior Felicitas Lenz (Altadena, Calif./Polytechnic School) scored a 298.50 on the 3-meter springboard to come in third place overall.
To kick off the second half of the meet, Powell placed third in the 100 free with a 51.82 to lead Northwestern, then Lauren Clifford's (Pollock Pines, Calif./El Dorado) season-best 2:05.32 in the 200 back placed her fifth overall in the field to pace the Wildcats.
Wilson again finished second behind a Notre Dame swimmer in the 200 breast, but also again swam an NCAA `B' cut time with a 2:15.44 effort. Senior Hannah Points (Tualatin, Ore./Tualatin) came in fourth overall in the event with a 2:19.55.
Sosdian's season-best 4:57.76 was good for fourth place overall in the 500 free behind a trio of Michigan swimmers while Cavanaugh followed that effort with a 56.19 in the 100 fly to place second among three Wolverine entries in the top four.
Sophomore Cosima Lenz (Altadena, Calif./Polytechnic School) was the high Northwestern scorer on the 1-meter springboard, compiling a total of 281.05 to finish in third place. Points rounded out the individual events with a 4:23.80 in the 400 IM to pick up second-place points.
In a riveting final relay, Northwestern finished second overall behind Notre Dame with a 3:25.73, a mere .01 of a second ahead of the top Michigan relay in the race. The team of Marybeth Hall (Brighton, Mich./Brighton), Powell, Godbe and Reynolds spotted the Wolverines an early edge before taking the lead back in the middle two legs. Reynolds then fought to hold off a hard-charging Wolverine anchor for the slimmest of victories.
Northwestern returns to action at 11 a.m. CT Saturday, Jan. 21, against Iowa and Harvard at the Norris Aquatics Center in Evanston. Following the meet, the NU swimming and diving programs will host their Endowment Campaign kickoff event at 6 p.m. CT at the James Allen Center on the Evanston Campus.
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