Swim team finishes strong; diver qualifies for nationals

Stanley Jefferson

The Northern Michigan University swimming and diving team had a sixth place showing at the Get to the Point Invite in Stevens Point, Wisc. Friday and Saturday Jan. 21-22. The Wildcats had three first place finishes in the meet.

Gabby Alzaga won two events in the 100-meter and 200-meter backstroke while Olga Budiansky took home the 200 breaststroke. Alzaga finished the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:00.36 and 2:10.5 in the 200. Budiansky won the event with a time of 2:27.06.

Kelli Vander Baan took part in the three-meter dive scoring a 410.55 which was good for second-place while taking third place in the one-meter dive. Because of her score in the one-meter dive, Vander Baan has been qualified for the NCAA National Diving Competition. In addition, Alison Black finished in the top five in both the three meter and one-meter dives placing fourth and fifth respectively.

The Wildcats had three top 15 finishes at the Invite. Kelsey Sipple, with a time of 25.75, had a 10th place showing in the 50-yard freestyle while Lindsay Stedman placed 12th in the 400-yard IM with a time of 33.29 and 15th in the 1650 freestyle. Jenny Gallaher also took 15th place (2:41.29) in the 200-yard backstroke.

Even though the ‘Cats finished the Invite in sixth place, head coach Heidi Voigt said that the team needs to be energized as the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Championships is only two weeks away.

“I think we really just need a bit of rest and take the time in the next two weeks to polish techniques and tap into some speed on turns and relay starts,” said Voigt. “I feel that the team did well for where we are at on our training cycle. We are in the middle of our final preparations for the GLIAC Championships where I expect many outstanding swims and diving performances.”

The Wildcats will take the time to rest up for the next two weeks as they compete at the GLIAC Championships on Feb. 9 in Jenison, Mich.