The NMU swimming and diving team was at home last weekend as it hosted the Hillsdale College Chargers on Saturday, Oct. 30. The ’Cats rebounded after a tough loss against UW-Eau Claire last weekend by defeating the Chargers 152-137. First-year head coach Heidi Voigt was impressed by the team’s performance in the pool.
“They we’re wonderful today,” Voigt said. “We had several personal best times, which is great for this early in the season.”
The Wildcats wasted little time taking the early lead as their 200 Medley Relay team of Gaby Alzaga, Olga Budiansky, Jenny Gallagher and Kelsey Sipple out-raced the Chargers with a time of 153:78. The ’Cats kept on the attack in the 1,000-yard freestyle with Stephanie Rogaczewski and Jessica Linnen taking the top spots with times of 11:33.93 and 11:37.74. Voigt was pleased to see her team come together and compete.
“I was really happy with how they came together today,” she said. “We have some people who have been sick, and we got them back in the water racing with us. I’m just really happy with the way they swam.”
Hillsdale responded back in the 200 yard freestyle event, finishing the top three swimmers to take a 28-26 edge on the score board. The ’Cats battled back in the 100 yard backstroke as sophomore Gaby Alzaga took first place with a time of 1:00.75, and Lauren Cockles came in a close third at 1:04.47. Northern kept on the attack in the next two races as sophomore Olga Budiansky took first place in the 100-yard breaststroke at 1:08.29, and Gina Hass took first place in 200-yard butterfly at 2:29.11.
“Gina Hass took almost 20 seconds off from last weekend in a big race,” Voigt said. “She was great.”
Olga Budiansky had a big day in the pool for the ’Cats as she was part of four first-place finishes on the day, totaling 38 points for the team.
Sophomore Gina Hass, who also had a first place finish, was impressed with the team’s improvement.
“I thought we did awesome, we we’re really together,” Hass said. “We really improved this year.”
The Wildcat divers helped the team keep the edge on the scoreboard as the Chargers didn’t have any competitors for both the one- and three-meter diving events. Diving coach Andy Ward said he was pleased with the dives, but understands the team has a long way to go.
“We’re at the beginning of the season, so a lot of changes have to be done,” Ward said. “But overall I was pleased with their outcome and performance.”
Senior Kelli Vander Baan finished in first place on both the one and three-meter diving events with scores of 262.65 and 239.55. With a meet next week Ward doesn’t plan on making any big changes in the divers’ approach.
“Because it’s only a week there’s not going to be a lot of major changes,” he said. “We’re going to stay with the dives they’re presently doing and just try to make them look better, get them coordinated.”
The Wildcats are at home again this weekend as they host UW-Oshkosh on Saturday, Nov. 6 at 11 a.m. in the PEIF pool.