Mixed results for Badgers in back-to-back weekend meets

first_imgThe Wisconsin men’s and women’s swim and dive teams took their show on the road this past weekend, facing off against conference rival Northwestern Friday and following up with a meet against a tough Notre Dame squad Saturday.The women’s team took care of business Friday against the Wildcats winning 162-136, while the men’s side had more trouble against their Big Ten opponent, suffering a 135-165 defeat. Saturday proved to be a  difficult day for both, losing by a final combined score of 362.5-234.5.Third-year head coach Whitney Hite remains proud of the way the teams performed, emphasizing his lack of concern about their dual meet record, instead focusing on the valuable experience the Badgers gained from competing against tougher opponents.“We’ve gone out and swam against some of the best teams in the country, “ Hite said. “We’re not afraid of them and we want to make sure that we compete against the best.”Despite taking the loss against Northwestern, the men’s team had multiple moments of strength. Freshman diver Andrew Suchla continued to prove he will be a force in the Big Ten for years to come, picking up an impressive victory in the one-meter dive against Northwestern freshman rival Andrew Cramer by just 5.50 points.Additional notable swims for the Badger men included dominant finishes in the middle-distance events. Junior Drew teDuits was victorious once again in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of one minute and 48.9 seconds, while junior Nick Schafer cruised to a convincing win in the 200-yard breaststroke with a two minute and 2.3 second finish and freshman Brett Pinfold stole the show in the 200-yard freestyle clocking in at one minute and 37.88 seconds.teDuits, the defending NCAA champion in the 200-yard backstroke, gave credit to the training methods executed in practices for his consistency in meets.“Our coaches have the team as a whole practicing race strategies in all of our events,” teDuits said. “I practice my strategy in the 200 back twice per week and make sure I work harder in the last 100 yards where it really hurts.”The women’s team came out of the gates swinging Friday, dominating the 200-yard medley relay by taking the top two spots. This set the tone for the rest of the evening as freshman diver Ashley Peterson followed up the team’s opening relay performance by owning the competition in the three-meter dive, winning the event by almost 30 points with a score of 296.63 over second place Northwestern senior Mary Kate Campbell.Multiple memorable performances in a variety of different races also helped seal the deal for the women’s side, including victories by senior Rebecka Palm in the 200-yard freestyle and sophomore Anna Meinholz in the 100-yard breaststroke. Junior Ivy Martin finished with arguably the most lopsided victory of the night, securing a first-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle by almost two seconds with a time of 49.83 seconds.Martin, a five-time NCAA All-American, credited her training methods as a big factor of her continual success in the sprint races.“It’s been a matter of getting stronger for me this year that has accounted for my improvement.” Martin said, “Going under 50 seconds in the 100 is a goal in every duel meet, and staying consistent in both meets and practice has been important as well.”Martin believed the teams diminished performance Saturday against Notre Dame was the culmination of exhaustion from back-to-back meets and long drives on the road. teDuits echoed Martin’s comments, but the team as a whole sees their road-heavy schedule (just one home meet all year) as good practice for the long and tiring championship weekends on the road at the end of the season.“Going to back-to-back dual meets where you’re swimming four events per day doesn’t even compare to swimming one event per day at the Big Ten’s and feeling rested,” teDuits said.Although the top-place finishes came in fewer numbers Saturday, the loss to the Fighting Irish showcased some strong performances, the most impressive being a pair of two-event finishers for the Badger men and women. teDuits finished atop the 100-yard and 200-yard backstroke — with times of 49.88 seconds and one minute and 48.91 seconds respectively — and Martin winning the 50-yard at 22.67 seconds  and 100-yard freestyle races at 50.55 seconds.These consistent performances out of Martin and teDuits are exactly what Hite looks for in his team leaders. He is quick to point out the contributions by his two star swimmers have had an impact on the team far beyond anything that can be read on a results sheet.“I think they’re both growing into their role as leaders since it’s not only about performance, but stepping up and saying the right thing at the right time and holding teammates accountable,” Hite said.Having reliable leaders on a team is especially crucial for a program that has a heavy base of underclassmen looking for an strong example to follow. Martin, teDuits and Hite all agreed the underclassmen have done a great job of stepping up and providing the team with some much needed depth.teDuits recognized the efforts of the underclassmen sprinters in particular for “taking a hold of those freestyle events,” referring to the efforts of freshman Chase Kinney and sophomore Annie Tamblyn on the women’s side, as well as the performances of freshman Ryan Barsanti and sophomore transfer Zach Wagner for the men this season.Hite added this is the most talented team he’s coached so far, and their potential is exciting for him to see.“We definitely have some good pieces in place to have great success this year,” Hite said.Following two weekends off, both Badger teams will travel to Austin, Texas for the three-day Texas Invitational Dec. 5-7.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *