Two Pool Records Fall on Day One of TYR Invitational

Photo Credit: Northwestern Athletics

EVANSTON – Two Norris Aquatics Center pool records went down tonight in the women’s 500 free and 400 medley relay to highlight the first day of racing at the TYR Invitational at Northwestern University. The Northwestern women and Michigan State men lead the team standings heading into day two.

Northwestern Women’s Press Release

Northwestern saved its best for last Friday during the opening day of its three-day TYR Invitational, ripping a 17-year-old relay pool record off the board to take a commanding lead in the seven-team meet.

NU broke Stanford’s 17-year-old Norris Aquatics Center pool record in the 400 medley relay, which was one of two pool records to fall Friday at the traditional fall-season-ending event.

The Wildcats accrued 366 points to lead Michigan State (287), Air Force (173), UIC (108), Saint Louis (95), Truman State (84) and Northern Iowa (36 points with only divers competing) entering Saturday’s action.

Day Two of the 2014 TYR Invitational begins with a 9 a.m. preliminary session tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 22, with the finals sessions starting at 5 p.m. Sunday’s last day of competition has prelims at 9 a.m. and finals at 3 p.m.

Friday’s Preliminary Session

A trio of Wildcats got the TYR started off right by qualifying for the championship final of the 50 breaststroke event. NU’s top 100 breaststroker this season, junior Julianne Kurke (Atlanta, Ga./Parkview), qualified third overall in 29.65 followed by sophomore Katie Branch (Phoenix, Ariz./Horizon Honors) in fifth and backstroke/butterfly specialist Lacey Locke (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) in seventh.

Freshman sprint freestylist Mary Warren (Hartland, Wis./Arrowhead) locked up a scoring spot in the 50 breast `B’ final with a Friday morning time of 30.51 to finish 13th overall. Freshman Anna Keane (Edmonds, Wash./Meadowdale) also earned a second swim in the event with an 18th-place 31.53 to make the non-scoring `C’ heat.

After seeing Air Force’s Genevieve Miller swim an NCAA `B’ provisional qualifying standard in the 500 free one heat before her, sophomore Lauren Abruzzo (Denver, Colo./Kent Denver) went out and topped it with one of her own, swimming a `B’ time of 4:46.84 to qualify first overall for the championship heat. Abruzzo’s time was just .73 of a second off her own pool record set at last year’s TYR, setting the stage for another challenge swim Friday night.

After Miller and an Air Force teammate in second and third, the Wildcats deep distance free group comprised the remainder of the `A’ field in the 500 free. Junior Emily Launer (DeKalb, Ill./Rosary), freshman Sydney Modeas (East Amherst, N.Y./Clarence), junior Ellen Anderson (Montgomery Village, Md./Gaithersburg), sophomore Ellen Stello (Shorewood, Wis./Shorewood) and sophomore Megan Purdy (Boulder City, Nev./Boulder City) rounded out the field for NU with Purdy grabbing the eighth and final lane in the championship heat by three one-hundredths of a second.

With six Wildcats in the `A’ heat, sophomore Melissa Postoll (Acworth, Ga./Kennesaw Mountain) was the lone ‘Cat to earn a second swim in the `B’ or `C’ finals. Postoll qualified 20th overall in 5:04.17 to qualify for the bonus heat.

Locke and Abruzzo led Northwestern in the 200 IM Friday morning by making the championship heat. Locke’s 2:02.73 was good for second place overall while Abruzzo’s 2:04.14 was third. Both times were season-bests for the Wildcats.

Postoll came back out to pick up a scoring spot in the 200 IM `B’ final with a 10th-place and season-best 2:06.57.

Northwestern again dominated the morning qualifying in the 50 free, moving five Wildcats along to the championship final in special fashion. Warren led the way with the first sub 23:00 time of her collegiate career for NU, swimming an NCAA `B’ qualifying standard of 22.87 that was just a tenth off of the pool record. Sophomore Annika Winsnes (Singapore/United World College) followed behind Warren with a career-best time of her own, touching in a second-place 23.29.

Julia Pratt (Vincennes, Ind./Vincennes Rivet) in fourth and senior Valerie Nubbe (Huntsville, Ala./Huntsville) and freshman Aja Malone (Acworth, Ga./Allatoona) tying in a dead-heat for sixth rounded out NU’s `A’ finalists.

Freshman Katherine Senseman (Terre Haute, Ind./Terre Haute South Vigo) moved on to the scoring `B’ final with a 23.97 in the morning to place 14th overall while Maddy Sims (Downers Gove, Ill./Downers Grove) and Lacey Smith (Boulder, Colo./Fairview) made the `C’ final for the Wildcats. Keane was the second alternate for the 50 free following morning action.

In morning diving action on the 3-meter springboard, freshmen Mashal Hashem (Potomac, Md./Winston Churchill) and Monique Demaisip (Norwalk, Calif./Gahr) earned tickets to the championship final Friday night. Hashem qualified fifth overall with a 233.90 while Demaisip was seventh with a 228.70.

Friday’s Finals Session

The evening session kicked off with three timed finals of the 200 free relay. When the thrashing water calmed, Northwestern’s team of Warren, Pratt, Nubbe and Winses had touched before the rest for a season-best 1:32.54.

Kurke moved up one spot in the championship final of the 50 breast, touching the wall in 29:39 to finish as the runner-up in the race. Branch and Locke were unable to replicate their morning swims and ended up sixth and seventh, respectively.

In the consolation final, Warren dropped three-quarters of a second from her prelim time to surge to the top and win nine points with a ninth-place overall finish for NU, touching in 29.77. Northwestern also took the top spot in the bonus final of the event courtesy of an Anna Keane 30.79 that also was nearly three-quarters of a second faster than her morning swim.

The 500 free championship final featured six Northwestern swimmers but the real battle was between the top two qualifiers: NU’s pool-record holder Abruzzo and Air Force’s Miller, both of whom swam NCAA `B’ times in the morning qualifiers. Miller came out on a mission in the final and broke Abruzzo’s pool mark by 2.15 seconds with a better `B’ time of 4:43.96 to win. Abruzzo placed second with a second `B’ cut of 4:47.75. She touched in front of a second Air Force entrant in the heat, then Stello, Anderson, Modeas, Launer and Purdy followed in that order for the Wildcats.

Stello dropped over eight seconds from morning to evening to swim a 4:49.31 while Anderson’s fifth-place swim of 4:51.90 represented a 4.06 second cut. Postoll scratched the 500 free bonus final to focus on her 200 IM consolation berth.

In that 200 IM, Abruzzo dropped nearly a full second from her prelim time to finish third in 2:03.29 for the Wildcats despite her 500 free duel just moments earlier. Locke touched in 2:03.67 to place fourth overall.

Postoll’s rest served her well. The sophomore cut 2.53 seconds from her preliminary race to touch in 2:04.04 and win the consolation final by nearly a full-second cushion.

Warren re-kindled her NCAA `B’ cut magic from the morning to swim a 22.93 in the 50 free championship final Friday night, winning the event for the Wildcats. Winsnes took second in 23.47, Malone was fourth and Pratt and Nubbe tied for fifth overall in a strong event for the Wildcats.

In the 50 free consolation final, Senseman took second in the heat and 10th overall with a 23.86 as NU’s lone entry. Sims’ 24.15 in the bonus final was good for second in that race and 17th overall while Smith ended up 21st following an evening 24.36.

In the 3-meter diving final, Hashem took fifth-place points with a 225.20 while Demaisip ended up sixth overall with 225.20.

The evening closed Friday with the 400 medley relay, which Northwestern led from the start and ran away with in pool-record fashion. Locke grabbed more than a second lead with a 55.36 100 back split and the Wildcats went crazy from there, extending the lead via Kurke and Malone before closing with Winsnes’ 49.65 anchor leg to touch in 3:41.95, a time that blew away the 17-year-old pool record of 3:43.10 established by Stanford in 1997.

In a fun quirk, NU’s `B’ relay of Postoll, Branch, Stello and Warren took second overall with a 3:47.07, but rules of the Invitational state that just one relay per team gets to score.

Northwestern Men’s Press Release

Northwestern got one NCAA `B’ cut during the opening day Friday of its three-day home TYR Invitational and currently ranks second among the five-team field at the Norris Aquatics Center.

Thanks in large part to having 10 of the 16 scorers in the 200 IM Friday, Michigan State leads the meet over Northwestern in second. Saint Louis is third, UIC is fourth and Truman State is fifth.

The Wildcats got season-bests from nearly every swimmer they fielded despite not resting at all for this meet; NU is sending 11 to the U.S. Nationals Dec. 3-6 and will use that meet as its fall-season-ending yardstick.

Day Two of the 2014 TYR Invitational begins with a 9 a.m. preliminary session tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 22, with the finals sessions starting at 5 p.m. Sunday’s last day of competition has prelims at 9 a.m. and finals at 3 p.m.

Friday’s Preliminary Session

A senior and a freshman, one a breaststroke specialist and the other not, got the Wildcats started well Friday morning in the 50 breast preliminary heats. Senior Uula Auren (Helsinki, Finland/Mäkelänrinteen Lukio), Northwestern’s top 100 breaststroker this year and every year he’s been with the squad, qualified second overall for the evening finals in the abbreviated stroke event with a 25.55. Following closely behind was freshman Almog Olshtein (Haifa, Israel/Haifa), NU’s best sprint freestylist in his first season, in a third-place time of 25.79.

Two more Wildcats advanced to the scoring `B’ final in the 50 breast. Senior Aaron Sears (Neenah, Minn./Neenah) moved on in a 10th-place time of 26.85 and junior Van Donkersgoed (Eden Prairie, Minn./Minnehaha Academy) earned the right to score points with an 11th-place 26.96. Senior free/fly specialist William Rosler (Bexley, Ohio/Columbus Academy) made the `C’ final with an 18th-place 27.74.

Junior Jordan Wilimovsky (Malibu, Calif./Malibu) eased into the 500 free championship final with a second-place 4:28.74 in the morning to lead a trio of Wildcats in that heat. Jonathan Lieberman (Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie) in sixth (4:34.33) and Charlie Cole (Bernardsville, N.J./Bernards) in eighth (4:35.37) also made the `A’ final.

Freshman Jonathan Blansfield (Westport, Conn./Staples) was the only other Wildcat to earn a second swim in the 500 free with a 24th-place 4:44.16 in his preliminary heat.

Three more Wildcats made the championship final of the 200 IM Friday morning, this time with sophomore Andy Jovanovic (Chicago, Ill./Loyola Academy) leading the way in a third-place time of 1:51.54 that was over four seconds faster than his previous season-best. Junior Grant Halsall (Laxey, Isle of Man, GBR) and freshman Alex Snarski (Libertyville, Ill./Libertyville) snuck into the `A’ heat with seventh- and eighth-place finishes, respectively, in season-best low 1:53 times.

Five Wildcats earned the right to swim again in the 200 IM `C’ final: Donkersgoed, senior Andrew Seitz (Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley), freshman Nick Petersen (Thiensville, Wis./Homestead), Lieberman and Wilimovsky.

Olshtein returned to his sprint free roots to win the preliminary heats of the 50 free Friday morning by the relatively comfortable cushion of two-tenths of a second via a time of 20.65. Though he was the lone Wildcat to make the `A’ final, four more will score points Friday night in the `B’ heat. Freshman Gage Kohner (Boca Raton, Fla./Boca Raton Community) led that group with a 10th-place 21.20 followed by Jovanovic in 11th at 21.24 and Joao Steiner (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil/The Bolles School) and Jack Morris (Lansdale, Pa./North Penn) tied for 15th at 21.42. All of those times for the Wildcats in the `B’ final were season-best efforts.

Auren, Snarski and Petersen made the `C’ final of the 50 free for NU while Ferguson dead-heated for the first alternate spot at 21.72.

During morning diving prelims, sophomore Andrew Cramer (Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral) qualified first overall on the 1-meter springboard as the only entrant to crack the 300 point barrier, tallying a score of 307.00. His teammates Reed Dillon (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central) and John Andrade (Avon, Conn./Notre Dame) qualified fourth and fifth overall, respectively.

Friday’s Finals Session

Northwestern opened the evening’s action with a solid win in the 200 free relay. Olshtein grabbed a narrow lead over UIC’s relay in the opening leg with a 20.52 50 free split, then Saint Louis came from fourth place to nearly even the NU lead at the midway point following Kohner’s leg. Jovanovic added a tenth of a second to the Wildcats’ cushion before the sophomore Steiner swam the fastest anchor leg in the pool to bring it home for Northwestern in a winning 1:21.97, half a second ahead of SLU.

In the 50 breast, Auren and Olshtein reprised their roles from the morning heats and took second and third overall in the championship final. Auren dropped six one-hundredths to swim a 25.49 and place second while Olshtein cut 13 one-hundredths for a third-place 25.66.

Sears and Donkersgoed, however, were unable to replicate their morning times and finished 13th and 14th overall, respectively, after the consolation final. In the bonus final, Rosler dropped .64 of a second and placed second in the heat and 18th overall for the Wildcats.

Wilimovsky kept the 500 free championship final close for the first 150 yards before steadily pulling away for an NCAA `B’ provisional qualifying time and season-best effort of 4:21.70, giving himself a 6.02 second margin of victory. Cole cut over five seconds from his seed time to jump from eighth to fifth overall with a 4:30.22 while Lieberman remained in sixth place with a 4:33.71 in the final.

In the 500 free bonus final, Blansfield went from last to first, winning the heat in 4:38.54 after qualifying for the 24th and final second swim in the event. His nearly 5.5 second drop in time gave him a 17th place overall finish.

In a 200 IM championship final featuring five Michigan State swimmers and three from Northwestern, Jovanovic was the Wildcats’ top finisher with a fourth-place 1:52.27. Halsall placed sixth in 1:52.69 and Snarski was seventh with a 1:53.86.

Donkersgoed (20th), Wilimovsky (21st), Seitz (22nd), Petersen (23rd) and Lieberman (DQ) all competed in the bonus final of the 200 IM for the Wildcats.

Olshtein, who earlier in the session swam a season-best 20.52 leadoff leg in the 200 free relay, bested that mark with a 20.45 in the 50 free championship final to win the event for Northwestern. A quartet of Wildcats swam the consolation final with Kohner leading the way in an 11th-place 21.08. Steiner followed in a 12th-place and career-best 21.11 to continue a strong TYR Invitational for him. Morris finished 13th and Jovanovic 16th for NU.

In the 1-meter springboard final, Cramer did not crack 300 points again but he did register a 295.65 that was good enough for first-place points. Dillon took fourth overall with 268.35, a nearly identical total to his morning go-around, and Andrade finished sixth with 256.80.

In the 400 medley relay to conclude Friday’s action, Northwestern’s team of Snarski, Auren, Jovanovic and Olshtein swam a season-best 3:17.75 to place second overall.

Results: TYR Invitational, Day One (Women)

Results: TYR Invitational, Day One (Men)