Aqua ‘Cats fall short in first away meet


The NMU swimming and diving team dropped their first inter-collegiate meet at Hillsdale Saturday, being outscored by the Chargers 135-90.

NMU divers were able to rack up all 32 points in both the one-meter and three-meter diving events due to the fact that Hillsdale doesn’t have any divers on their roster. The NMU swimmers weren’t able to continue capitalizing on the advantage however, dropping nine of the 11 swimming events overall. In the those events, NMU was outscored by a margin of 58 to 135.

NMU was able to earn victories in the final two events of the meet. Freshman Jess Linnen won the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:17.88. A group of four Wildcat swimmers won the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:50.59, defeating three teams from Hillsdale. The lone NMU squad beat the nearest Hillsdale team by over eight seconds.

NMU head coach Bob Laughna attributes the large point differential to the fact that the event was already Hillsdale’s third meet of the season.

“I wish we were able to start two weeks ago, but we were unable to bring any teams to compete against us in Marquette,” he said.
Freshman NMU swimmer Olga Budiansky and senior Hannah Bolger were missing from Saturday’s meet due to injury, leaving the Wildcats shorthanded.

Keeping NMU swimmers in the pool could be a problem when the team travels to UW-Oshkosh this coming weekend.
“We might have up to five swimmers out this week,” Laughna said. “I’m hoping that the swimmers who show up will do a lot better than they did last weekend.”

Laughna said his athletes are training hard this week to be able to compete at a higher level against a more talented school like Hillsdale. The team will practice for every days until the meet takes place on Saturday.

“We are doing off-the-wall sprints, power sprints, and off-the-block sprints to try to improve our overall times,” Laughna said. “We need to do more endurance and overload training.”
For Laughna, the Hillsdale meet was a chance to better evaluate the swimmers in a more competitive atmosphere, and he was encouraged by some of the things he saw.

“I liked how the swimmers were able to narrow down their split times [as a whole],” he said.

Sophomore Elyse Sawka, who finished fourth in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:51.51, knows that getting back into midseason shape can be tough.

“Not everyone swam their best, but we are all just getting used to being back in the season,” she said. “We got some pretty good times, and now we know what we have to work on.”
Sawka feels she and the rest of the team have room for improvement from the Hillsdale meet going into the upcoming meet with Oshkosh.

“I need to work on my technique for butterfly and the speed of my backstroke,” she said. “Everyone needs to get in tune with each other for the relays. We need to know how each other swim.”