The Northern Michigan University swim and dive team took to the pool for their preseason intrasquad competition match last Saturday, Sept. 28 at the PEIF pool. The Gold squad won over the Green squad 111-103. Head swim coach Heidi Voigt was extremely happy with the results all around.
“In general, we’re faster than last year,” Voigt said. “We also had a pool record today, which I don’t think we’ve ever had this early in the season.”
The pool record was set during the first race of the day by junior Debbi Lawrence, who took down the 50-yard backstroke record during the opening leg of the 200-yard medley relay.
“Today I hit everything just right,” Lawrence said. “I think I can go faster, but it’s still early.”Lawrence also said a key to her success is attempting to swim most of her race underwater.
“That’s my whole race, I’ll swear to everyone that it’s key,” Lawrence said. “It’s my whole strategy, once I surface then I just try and keep up my speed.”
Double winners for the ’Cats included Lawrence in the 200-yard individual medley (2:11.73) and 100-yard freestyles (53.64), as well as junior Emily Bourguignon who won the 100-yard backstroke (1:01.42) and 50-yard freestyle (25.36).
Bourguignon said she was excited about the results.
“It’s the beginning of the season, so we’re still working on some kinks and stuff,” Bourguignon said. “But overall as a team we’re improving from last year. It’s nice to be back in the water and getting to race again.”
Junior Molly Kearney won both the 1- and 3-meter springboard diving competitions for the Wildcats.
Even with the win, Kearney said she has been feeling physically weaker than last year.
“I’ve been suffering with sore muscles and exhaustion, but my dives turned out better than I thought they would,” said Kearney, who missed qualifying for NCAA’s 1-meter springboard by four points. “Getting healthy and getting my full (dive) list back will be good. Being able to do my harder dives will help because they weren’t quite there today.”
Other individual winners for the Wildcats were junior Emily Brennan in the 500-yard freestyle (5:18.79), sophomore Crystal Bennet who pulled away with the 100-yard butterfly (59.72), freshman Rachel Borchardt in the 200-yard freestyle (2:00.34) and junior Madisen Sechena who grabbed the win in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:07.32).
One noticeable difference on the deck this year is a full squad of divers, something the Wildcats have not had in previous years.
Kearney said it’s been a big shift in practice.
“Last year we had four people on the team with two people normally competing, and this year we have six with five people currently diving,” Kearney said. “It’s been awesome because last year I practiced by myself 90 percent of the time.”
Voigt also said the team seems to be much stronger on the diving end, which will help the team improve greatly.
Voigt said it’ll be good to race with other teams and see where they are at.
The Wildcats have a week off before traveling downstate. They’ll be taking on Hillsdale at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11 and traveling to Grand Valley State for a noon match-up the following day.
Their next and only home competition will be a tri meet against St. Cloud State and Minnesota State Moorhead at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18 and 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 in the PEIF pool.
Voigt said the team is going to face a challenge with these upcoming meet dates.
“It’s going to be a tough back-to-back,” Voigt said. “We have Hillsdale at 6 p.m., then we turn around and drive to Grand Valley and face off with them at noon the next day. The weekend right after we host St. Cloud and Minnesota State Moorhead here at home. It’ll be a tough few weeks.”
It’ll be the first time that the Wildcats will take on other GLIAC teams. Bourguignon also said that it will be tough.
“We just need to keep improving, every race we want to get better and stronger,” Bourguignon said. “Especially looking forward to our conference meet (in March) and the Calvin Invite (in December). Overall, things are looking good right now.”