The NMU women’s swimming and diving team faced some tough opponents on Friday, Oct.19, and Saturday, Oct. 20 as they traveled to Moorehead, Minn. for their first road competition of the season.
The Wildcats swam against Minnesota State University-Moorehead and St. Cloud State and came up with a second place finish for the weekend’s events. They lost to St. Cloud 106-81 on day one, and 182.5-117.5 on day two. NMU beat Moorehead 117-113 and again 189-109 over two days.
Day one opened with the 400-yard medley relay. NMU saw victory in the relay as seniors Gaby Alzaga, Olga Budiansky and sophomore Madisen Sechena, and junior Debbi Lawrence took first place by three seconds. In the 1650-yard freestyle, sophomore Jordan Iverson took second to St. Cloud by 14 seconds.
The Wildcats took the top three spots in the 200-yard freestyle, with Lawrence taking first. She was followed by sophomores Emily Bourguignon and Tara Dowling, respectively. Junior Kelsey Sipple took third in the 50-yard freestyle, only a second away from first. The 400-yard individual medley was another NMU victory as sophomore Emily Brennan led the pack, winning by seven seconds. Brennan later won the 500-yard freestyle with Dowling taking third. Alzaga took a very close second in the 200-yard backstroke, only losing by a fraction of a second.
NMU’s diving team did really well, with sophomore Molly Kearney taking first in both the one and three-meter diving competitions. She is currently undefeated this season and is 20 points away from qualifying for nationals. Kearny said that was a goal of hers.
“I was hurt last year, so I’m just really happy to be competing,” Kearny said following her win over the weekend. “I anticipate qualifying for nationals. It’s a big goal of mine. It’d be nice to qualify early in the season, so there is no stress later.”
NMU finished off the first meet with a second place finish, and looked to improve going into day two of the meet. However, there was much of the same as St. Cloud matched them step for step, with the Wildcats never being able to take the lead in the meet.
Day two began with a third place finish for NMU in the 200-yard individual medley. This close race came down to the wire, with only two seconds being the difference between a first and third place finish. NMU saw redemption at the end of the meet as they won the 200-yard freestyle by just 0.03 seconds. Iverson continued her show of long distance swimming as she took second in the 1000-yard freestyle, following St. Cloud to a close finish. Brennan and Bourguignon took first and second respectively in the 200-yard freestyle.
The 50-yard backstroke saw Alzaga and senior Lauren Cockels take second and third, each coming up only a fraction of a second from first place. Budiansky also had a second place finish, with a close loss in the 50-yard breaststroke. The same result came from Lawrence who finished a very close second in the 50-yard freestyle. Lawrence went on to win the 100-yard freestyle, and 200-yard individual medley, each with a very close result. Brennan and Iverson took first and second in the 500-yard freestyle. Brennan lead, while Iverson took second. Coach Heidi Voigt had nothing but praise for her team following the meet.
“I’m very happy with the team’s performance,” Voigt said. “They won more events than anyone else, winning seven of ten, despite being very tired on the second day. The 400-yard freestyle relay team is faster than it has ever been at this point in the season. We had a few injuries, but we were still able to swim well. It’s nice having this weekend off.”
NMU will play their next meet at home at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3, against UW-Eau Claire.