Swimmers rally at home in PEIF pool

Kelly McCommons

The NMU swimming and diving team defended their home waters last weekend against St. Cloud State and Minnesota-Moorhead Friday, Oct. 18 to win 146-94 and 169-74, as well as Saturday, Oct. 19, 161-131 and 204-95.

Freshman Julia Mead helped NMU win their home meet last weekend. (Anthony Viola NW)
Freshman Julia Mead helped NMU win their home meet last weekend. (Anthony Viola NW)

Head coach Heidi Voigt said she could not  have been happier.

“Both St. Cloud and Moorhead pushed us to the limit, and we came out with a win against both,” Voigt said. “This was our only home meet this season, other than our intrasquad competitions, so I couldn’t be happier.”

Junior Molly Kearney had NCAA qualifying scores in the one- and three-meter dives.

Kearny won both events on multiple days, scoring 261.00 in the three-meter dive and 262.3 in the one-meter dive.

Kearney said it felt good to get the pressure out of the way after scoring so well.

“I actually qualified last weekend in Grand Valley,” Kearney said. “The original scores were incorrect but it was nice to get it again this weekend, to be sure.”

On Saturday, Kearney said she felt rushed before the competition.

“I came in really late, like 45 minutes before competition,” Kearney said. “I just walked it out, found energy and used it. Friday was a bit easier, but by the end of Saturday I was feeling it.”

Head diving coach Milton Braga said  Kearney did well.

“Friday she was very consistent,” Kearney said. “She was a little sore, but we’re only in October, so we have a long way to go.”

Kearney said she will be working on some new dives to strengthen her dive list.

“My next task is to start perfecting some new dives and use them in competition,” Kearney said. “We’ll see how that goes.”

A strong performance for the ’Cats was noticed as junior Debbi Lawrence took numerous victories for the Wildcats as a four-time winner on Saturday in the 200-yard medley relay, 50-yard backstroke, 100-yard freestyle and the 200-yard freestyle relay.

Another double winner for the ’Cats was junior Emily Brennan.

Brennan took first place finishes in both the 200- (1:59.56) and 500- (5:20.56) yard freestyle races.

Brennan said she had been tired the days prior to the meet, but she worked hard to compete with the rest of the athletes.

“This last week we’ve had some really tough and long practices,” Brennan said. “That being said, I wasn’t necessarily racing against the clock as trying to keep pace and beat the competitors.”

Brennan said it was nice to swim in her own pool.

“Rarely do we have another team that’s willing to travel here,” Brennan said. “It was nice to be home for a change. We can actually sleep in our own beds and not have a 10-hour bus ride. Plus, most of our parents come as well, it’s great.”

Other placers for the Saturday meet were junior Tara Dowling, second in the 1,000-yard freestyle (11:12.86), junior Emily Bourguignon, second in the 200-yard freestyle (1:59.88) and sophomore Crystal Bennet, second in the 50-yard breaststroke.

Junior Madisen Sechena also placed second in the 100-yard butterfly (1:00.76), 100-yard breaststroke (1:07.64) and 200 individual medley (2:13.01)

The ‘Cats have a week off before traveling to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Gustavus Adolphus University at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 2 in Eau Claire, Wis.

“We’ll have next weekend off before traveling,” Voigt said. “It’ll be good to give some girls a break from traveling and put some hard training in. We are looking forward to it all.”