Northwestern junior Jordan Wilimovsky (Malibu, Calif./Malibu) won the 1,650 freestyle Big Ten championship Saturday night in dominating and record-breaking fashion to lead the Wildcats on the final day of the conference meet at Iowa's Campus Recreation and Wellness Center.
Saturday night's session -- including Wilimovsky's win -- will air on BTN at 10:30 a.m. CT tomorrow, Sunday, March 1.
Wilimovsky swam an incredible NCAA `A' automatic qualification time of 14:33.50 to break his own Northwestern school record, the Iowa pool record and -- most importantly -- earn his first-career Big Ten championship and the first for Northwestern since 2008 when newly minted NU Athletic Hall of Famer Kyle Bubolz won the 50 freestyle.
Wilimovsky's previous career-best was a 14:42.99 he completed to finish second at last year's Big Ten Championships. Earlier this week, Wilimovsky finished third in the 500 free to make Saturday's swim his second podium finish of the meet. Wilimovsky went out just behind Michigan freshman PJ Ransford and stayed with him until the 600-yard mark of the race, at which point Wilimovsky passed his Wolverine rival and never looked back. His final margin of victory was 16.13 seconds, or more than an entire length of the pool.
Wilimovsky, a member of the U.S. National Team in the open water and 1,500-meter freestyle events, now currently has the top time in the nation in the 1,650-yard freestyle entering next month's NCAA Championships.
In addition to his school record in the 1,650 free, his 1,000 free split of 8:45.66 smashed his own school record at that distance by nearly nine seconds.
By virtue of his win, Wilimovsky was named an All-Big Ten first-team selection. Senior Andrew Seitz (Pleasanton, Calif./Amador Valley) earned NU's Big Ten Sportsmanship Award nod following the conclusion of the meet. Northwestern as a team finished the 2015 Big Ten Championships in ninth place overall with 181 points. Read on for the rest of Saturday's results for the #B1GCats:
Preliminary Portion of Saturday's Action:
Northwestern placed four Wildcats in scoring finals during preliminary action in five events Saturday morning.
Northwestern got two swimmers into the consolation final of Saturday's first event, the 200 backstroke. Junior Grant Halsall (Laxey, Isle of Man, GBR) became the fifth-fastest Wildcat ever in the event with an NCAA `B' cut and career-best 1:43.79 to qualify 11th overall for the evening while freshman Alex Snarski (Libertyville, Ill./Libertyville) was just behind him in 12th with a career-best 1:44.27.
Two more Wildcats straddled the line of automatic second swims in the 200 back. Sophomore Jonathan Lieberman (Eden Prairie, Minn./Eden Prairie) dropped over four seconds off of his career-best in the event to swim an NCAA `B' cut of 1:45.37 and place 24th overall, earning a bonus final swim. Meanwhile, freshman Nick Petersen (Thiensville, Wis./Homestead) swam a career-best 1:45.61 for a `B' cut of his own to place 25th.
Freshman Almog Olshtein (Haifa, Israel/Haifa) made the scoring consolation final of the 100 free with a career-best and NCAA `B' time of 43.99 to qualify 15th overall. Sophomore Andy Jovanovic (Chicago, Ill./Loyola Academy) had a career-best 44.52 to place 24th overall, grabbing the final bonus heat slot for Saturday night.
In the 200 breast, junior Van Donkersgoed (Eden Prairie, Minn./Minnehaha Academy) went an NCAA `B' time of 1:58.97 to come in 20th overall in the morning, picking up a bonus final swim in the evening.
Senior Seitz was NU's top finisher in the 200 fly Saturday morning, placing 30th overall with a career-best 1:51.84.
In the platform diving event, in his final collegiate competition, senior John Andrade (Avon, Conn./Avon) qualified 15th overall for the platform consolation final with a career-best score of 289.55.
Finals Portion of Saturday's Action
Wilimovsky wasn't the only Wildcat to swim in the 1,650 freestyle Saturday evening. Sophomore Charlie Cole (Bernardsville, N.J./Bernards) scored one point for NU with a career-best and NCAA `B' time of 15:17.48 that placed him 16th overall among the field and third all-time in the event at Northwestern. Cole scored points in all three of his individual events at the Big Ten meet -- the only Wildcat to do so.
In the consolation final of the 200 back, Halsall was not quite able to repeat his time from the morning, but he still took second in the heat and 10th overall in the event with a 1:44.07. Snarski grabbed one point with a 16th-place finish.
Neither Lieberman (21st) nor Petersen (24th) matched their morning times in the 200 back bonus final. In the bonus heat of the 100 free, Kohner did go lower, .52 of a second faster in fact, to touch in 44.70 and finish 18th in the conference. Mark Ferguson (Perth, Australia/John XXIII) got to swim in the bonus final after fully eight swimmers ahead of him scratched their final, and he swam a 45.26 to place 21st. Morris was right behind him in 22nd position.
In the 200 breast bonus heat, Donkersgoed remained in 20th position with a 1:58.81, .16 of a second faster than his morning effort.
In the final individual event of the Championships, Andrade moved up one spot during the consolation final of platform diving to score three points with a 14th-place 286.35.
The meet concluded with Olshtein, Snarski, Auren and Jovanovic swimming an eighth-place 2:56.99 in the 400 free relay.