The Northern Michigan University Swim and Dive team competed in Indianapolis this past weekend in the NCAA Championships, where they finished a tremendously successful season.
The first day of the Championships started strong for the Wildcats, as they came away with two school records and five All-Americans. Junior Rachel Helm placed in the 200-yard Individual Medley, as she placed fifth in the preliminary race and improved her place in the finals with a time of 2:01.07. In the men’s 200-yard IM, senior Ryan Leonard placed seventh with a time of 1:46.54. Both were named All-Americans.
In the 50-yard Freestyle, junior Lajos Budai got NMU points with a time of 20.23 seconds, good enough for 15th place and Honorary All-American honors.
In the morning prelims, both the men’s and women’s 200-yard Medley Relay broke school records. The women’s team of Helm, senior Regan Kilburn, junior Madelyn Irelan and sophomore Margaret Vaitkus posted a time of 1:42.84 and went on to place 14th in the finals. The men’s team of Leonard, Budai, and seniors Renars Bundzis and Arnoldo Herrera placed 13th with a time of 1:28.87 in the finals to break the school record that they had set earlier that day in the prelims. After two impressive performances, both teams were named Honorary All-Americans.
After day one, the men’s team was in 12th place with 22 points and the women’s team was in 13th place with 20 points.
The women’s 200-yard Freestyle relay team of Vaitkus, Kilburn, Helm and sophomore Lena Soulas kicked off the second day for NMU, finishing in 12th place with a time of 1:34.26.
Leonard went on to score more points for NMU, placing in 15th with a time of 3:55.57, good enough for Honorary All-American status. Helm would score a point in the women’s 100-yard butterfly, finishing in 16th place with a time of 55.73 seconds.
Three women participated in the 1-meter Dive, as all three placed in the top 20. Freshman Mary Grossman led the way with a 408.65 score and a 10th place finish. Senior Angela Probstfeld posted a 13th place finish with a score of 392.25 and junior Jamie Kimble finished with a score of 381.70 to take 17th place.
Soulas competed in the 200-yard Freestyle and finished with a time of 1:51.22 for the women, while Budai posted a time of 1:38.61 for the men. In the women’s 400-yard Medley Relay, the squad of Kilburn, freshman Briana Arnold, Irelan and Soulas got a time of 3:52.00.
After day two, the men’s team was in 19th place out of 26 teams with 26 points and the women’s team sat in 16th place out of 34 teams with 42 points.
Helm started off the third day for NMU, as she was the first Wildcat to race in the finals, finishing in sixth place in the 100-yard Backstroke with a time of 54.41, and she was named an All-American.
For the men, Bundzis also finished in sixth place with a time of 47.17, earning All-American status. Budai also placed with a time of 47.44, earning him a 10th place finish and was named an Honorary All-American.
Seniors David Miranda and Leonard competed in the men’s 100-yard Butterfly finishing with times of 1:50.15 and 1:53.55, respectively. For the women, Kilburn also competed in the 100-yard Backstroke, posting a time of 55.81 seconds.
In the final event of the day, the men’s 800-yard Freestyle Relay team of junior Jonas Reinhold, freshman Jon Busse, Leonard and Budai finished in seventh place with a time of 6:37.68. Their time was good enough to receive All-American Honors.
On the fourth and final day of the competition, the Wildcats showed out with four more All-American honors. Three ’Cats received All-American honors in the 200-yard Backstroke, as for the women, Helm and senior Savannah Saunders finished in third and sixth place, respectively. For the men, Bundzis placed fourth with a time of 1:43.91.
Soulas took 16th in the 100-yard Freestyle with a time of 50.77 seconds, earning Honorary All-American honors. Budai also claimed an Honorary All-American spot by placing 15th in the men’s 100-yard Freestyle with a time of 44.58 seconds.
Three NMU divers got points in the 3-meter dive as Grossman, Probstfeld and Kimble all placed in the top 16 once again. All three were named Honorary All-Americans after the event.
NMU continued to represent in the 200-yard Backstroke, as Kilburn finished with a time of 2:02.57 for the women, and Leonard posted a time of 1:49.14 for the men. In the 200-yard Breaststroke, Herrera had a time of 2:01.33 for the Wildcats.
The 400-yard Freestyle Relay women’s team of Helm, Vaitkus, Kilburn and Soulas went on to finish in 16th place with a time of 3:28.37.
The Wildcat men went to finish in 18th place for the meet with 65 points, and the women finished in 14th place with 99 points.