The ’Cats couldn’t handle the top dogs.
From Feb. 27 to March 2, the Northwestern Wildcats men’s team took part in the Big Ten Swimming and Diving Championships at Iowa City, Iowa. Indiana won the event, giving them their third straight men’s title and a sweep of the 2019 men’s and women’s meets. Though there were a number of personal best times for the team, Northwestern was mostly outswam by their opponents during the week, finishing ninth ahead of only Michigan State for the third straight season.
The best moment for the Wildcats was the meet’s first event: the 200-yard medley relay. The team of first-years Ryan Gridley and Andrew Zhang and seniors Will Hofstadter and Arjun Sharma finished sixth ahead of Penn State by .01 seconds, giving them a second-best time in school history. Their sixth-place result was their best relay finish of the week, as they would eighth in three other events and ninth in the final 400 freestyle relay.
Fast start for the ‘Cats! 200 Medley Relay team of Gridley, Sharma, Hofstadter and Zhang finish with the second best time in NU history! pic.twitter.com/qHCmJwGdMN— NorthwesternSwimDive (@NUSwimDive) February 28, 2019
Northwestern’s highest individual placing came in the 400 individual medley, as sophomore Jeffrey Durmer swam to second in the consolation final, good for 10th overall. Durmer would also finish as the fastest Wildcat in the 1650 free at 15th place. Sophomore Liam Gately joined Durmer in taking home two NU top finishes, coming in at 13th place in the 500 free and 19th in the 200 free.
In the 200 backstroke two ’Cats tied for 12th place: senior Jack Thorne and first-year Manu Bacarizo. Senior Tyler Lis followed soon after at 15th. Another senior swimmer, Hofstadter, touched the wall first for the team in the 100 and 200 breaststroke at 14th and 23rd, respectively. One other Wildcat swimmer achieved a top 16 consolation final finish: Gridley at 13th in the 100 back.
The diving squad failed to make it out of preliminaries in the three diving events, but secured points for the team. First-year Evan Labuda took 18th in the 1-meter dive. Senior diver Ben Magliato finished 21st and 22nd respectively in the 3-meter and platform events.
The team achieved a dozen swimming B Cuts during the event, but are unlikely to receive an invite to the NCAA Men’s Championships. After his first season at the helm, swimming and diving director Jeremy Kipp will need to find a way toward success if the men’s team wants to develop into a national presence in the years to come.