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The North Wind

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Oshkosh wins NMU swim meet, ‘B’Gosh’

Despite a strong resurgence in the second half of the meet, the NMU Swimming and Diving team fell to the UW-Oshkosh Titans by a score of 133-98, in their first home meet of the season.

Computer problems caused the meet to get off to a later than scheduled start, but once events got under way, head coach Bob Laughna was largely pleased with what he saw.

“Everybody swam well,” Laughna said.

Most of NMU’s strong performances came during the final nine events of the meet, of which the Wildcats won six.

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Catherine Sromek got the team its first victory of the day in the 200-yard Individual Medley, with a time of 2:25.33.

“I went in really confident,” Sromek said. “[I was] trying to get a [season] best time and I did, by I think a little over a second.”

The win is Sromek’s first official win since the Green and Gold intrasquad meet.

The 500-yard freestyle race was won by Wildcat Sarah Cempel in a time of 5:39.80. Cempel said she felt considerably better than the prior meet.

“I felt better. I wasn’t as tired,” she said.

Cempel also took second place in the 1000-yard freestyle.

Additional victories were earned by Emily Olson in the 100-yard butterfly (1:03.31) and Ashley Oliver in the 100-yard backstroke (1:04.60).

Despite strong performances, Laughna said he was disappointed at several points during the meet.

One example was the 400-yard medley relay, which was the first event of the day. NMU’s anchor swimmer left the blocks too early and the team was disqualified. The win would have given Northern an additional eleven team points.

“It would have helped,” Laughna said. “We could have gotten first in that one.”

Laughna was also disappointed to see several of his athletes held back by illness. The meet marked Hannah Bolger’s first competition after a two-week battle with a water-borne parasite. She became sick after drinking unsafe water while on a non-swimming related trip.

Bolger was able to turn in a time of 1:17.36 in the 100-yard breaststroke, just one one-hundredth of a second behind second place.

UW-Oshkosh was led by solid performances by Luci Reichel, who won the 200-yard freestyle (2:06.52) and placed second in the 500-yard freestyle. Also swimming well was Genisis Gruenke, who won the 100-yard breaststroke by nearly two seconds in 1:15.37. The Titans also won both team relays.

Although the 3-meter and 1-meter diving events were held at the meet, UW-Oshkosh did not bring any divers, leaving NMU athletes Kara and Kelli Vander Baan to compete against each other. Kelli took first in both events. Despite the lack of competition, however, diving coach Andy Ward was pleased with what he saw.

Ward explained that even if they are not competing against anyone at a meet, the girls are always aware that there are limited opportunities to make a national-qualifying score. It is this awareness, coupled with classes and academic obligations, which create great pressure and tough emotions at each meet in which the Vander Baan’s compete.

“I thought with some of these emotional disturbances they’ve had during the week, they did great to pull it all together here,” Ward said.

Ward plans to add a couple of more difficult dives to the girls’ routines for upcoming competitions.

“They’re ready for it,” said Ward. “Essentially it’s that time of the season for them to go ahead and [try out] this next group of dives. We’ll have to wait to see how they perform.”

The next meet for the Wildcat swimming squad will be another home meet on Nov. 22 at the PEIF pool. Hillsdale College will visit Marquette, and Laughna expects a tough challenge, as Hillsdale is yet another team that fields a much larger squad than Northern.

Although NMU will be outnumbered in terms of athletes, Laughna is not concerned about Northern’s chances.

“It can be done,” he said. “We’ll be ready.”

Events will begin at 11 am.

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