Swimming & Diving snags first place finishes

Lauren Lee

The Northern Michigan University Swimming and Diving team has broken multiple records, earned various individual awards, and now sets sights on high achievements at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point meet at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12.

re-swim-ssWildcats freshmen Rachel Helm and Lajos Budai were deemed National Swimmers of the Week by CollegeSwimming.com. The award was given after the ’Cats faced off Oct. 28-29 against Saginaw Valley University and Grand Valley State University.

Helm won six titles in four different disciplines including freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke and individual medleys. Budai won crowns in five different freestyle and backstroke races.

So far this season Helm set a school record in the 200 individual medley. Budai broke pool and school records in three events: the 100 backstroke, 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle.

“When I came here my personal goal was to beat the school records. I already beat them, so now my goal is to be in the top three in the national,” Budai said.

Helm and Budai were also deemed GLIAC Athlete of the Week the previous week. The ’Cats took GLIAC Athlete of the Week award, two weeks in a row this season. Sophomores Angela Probstfeld and Ryan Knox-Leonard were awarded after the Ashland University Fall Invite Saturday, Oct. 1.

Head coach Heidi Voigt said the team has a strong positive energy that is contagious at practice.

“They have been on fire, so it really feels like a magical season,” Voigt said. “We just got to keep them healthy and keep them going. It’s one of the best motivated teams that I’ve seen and been able to coach. This is the highest our men have been ranked and women too.”

The Men’s team has had an undefeated season, placed first in all five meets. The Women’s team placed first in three out of the five meets.  The Wildcats last raced against Saginaw Valley State University on Friday, Oct. 28 and SVSU and Grand Valley University Saturday, Oct. 29 at the PEIF Pool.

Senior captain Rachel Borchardt said her favorite meet so far this season was against Saginaw Valley State University and Grand Valley State University.

“We had a lot of energy coming off of that. Saturday was really exciting. It was so loud in here, everybody was cheering for everybody,” Borchardt said.

The Wildcats took first place in 19 different races against the Saginaw Valley Cardinals. The women won 147-84 against SVSU, the men took the win 131-102. GVSU Men’s Swimming and Diving  is currently ranked No. 3 in the nation, NMU trailing behind at No. 10.

Budai said swimming against highly ranked teams like GVSU pushes him to be the best.

“I always want to beat them, but we beat them by a lot,” Budai said. “Last year they were the first in GLIAC, so I think this is a good measurement of where we stand.”

Saturday the men defeated Grand Valley University with a 63.5 advantage, 395-331.5. It came down to the 400 freestyle relay race for the women, that clinched the win. The ladies came in with a 3:34.92 time. They came from behind surpassing GVSU. This gave the ladies a 351-342 win.

NMU heads to Wisconsin-Stevens Point to take on the Pointers. The meet starts at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12. Budai said he would do anything for his teammates, who are his No. 1 motivator.

“This coming weekend I heard our opponent isn’t that strong,” Budai said. “So now I’m a little bit curious and excited.” Voigt said the Wildcats’ next focus is the invite at Calvin College.

“We wrestle a little bit for it,” Voigt said. “That’s a meet in the past where we have been able to get some times that get us into the national championships. After that we’ll start readjusting and getting ready for conference.”