Badgers get wet in home opener

first_imgThe University of Wisconsin’s men’s and women’s swim teams have a mission this season: finish ranked in the top 20.This goal is bolstered for both teams by a strong influx of youth that supplements a talented corps of upperclassmen. Following a successful meet for both teams against UW-Green Bay, coach Eric Hansen feels confident that his teams can attain that goal.”I think we’re capable of a lot,” he said. “We have some real solid talent coming through the door this year.”For the women’s team, that incoming talent would be freshmen Margaret Meyer and Karlyn Hougan. During the women’s decisive 159-80 win over UW-Green Bay, Meyer aided the “B” medley team to tie the Wisconsin “A” team for first place, and also helped the 200-yard freestyle relay “A” team secure first place, swimming the second-fastest leg of that relay.Hougan, meanwhile, also swam in that first-place freestyle relay, while also placing fifth in the 50-yard individual freestyle, the third-highest Wisconsin finisher in that event.In the diving well, the Badgers look to have an edge with impressive incoming freshman Ciara Rinaudo. Rinaudo finished first and third with her dives, her first coming in the one-meter event in which she scored 214.28. For her efforts, she was even named the Big Ten Diver of the Week, the first time a UW athlete won that award since sophomore Jenny Hawkins did so last October. Hawkins, in the meet versus UW-Green Bay, won the three-meter event with a score of 222.38The UW women’s team’s strength is not just in its youth, but also in a group Hansen called the “very seasoned veterans.” One of those veterans is reigning Big Ten Swimmer of the Week, senior Jackie Vavrek. Vavrek helped the “A” 200-yard medley relay team tie the “B” team for first, won the 50-yard freestyle event and posted the fastest individual time of anyone in the pool for the “A” team in the 200-yard freestyle relay.”I have rather high expectations for myself this year,” Vavrek said. “After just missing the Big Ten record last year at the Big Ten Championships in the 50 (freestyle), I would love to actually break that this year.”Another senior aiding the team is Katie Imhoff-Smith, who was on the same medley relay team with Vavrek that tied for first. A butterfly specialist, she won her 100-yard race and also moonlights for the “B” team in the 200-yard freestyle relay.On the men’s side, the Badgers won 12 of their 13 events in Green Bay, winning by a 159-77 score. The top freshmen on the men’s side were Kyle Thompson and Luke Lengfeld, who took first and second, respectively, in the 1,000-yard freestyle. They also teamed up on the “B” 200-yard freestyle relay team to take second place behind the Wisconsin “A” team.Wisconsin’s men’s team is led by junior Scott Rice and sophomore Phil Davies. Rice swam the third leg of the “A” team in the 200-yard medley relay, won the 200-yard freestyle race and won his butterfly event, the 100-yard race. He also took home Big Ten Swimmer of the Week. Davies, meanwhile, took first in the 100-yard freestyle and swam the first leg of the winning “A” team of the 200-yard of the freestyle relay.Wisconsin swept the Diver of the Week awards, as freshman Caleb Percevz took the honor home thanks to a first-place finish in the one-meter and three-meter events. Percevz put up scores of 275.85 and 245.63, respectively.”The team has the potential to dominate the Big Ten,” Percevz said.Hansen was also optimistic about both the men’s and the women’s team’s chances.”The majority of how we judge ourselves is how we are ranked nationally at the end of the year,” he said. “Our expectations are to be back in the top 20 on both sides.”Both teams open up Big Ten competition against Iowa at home in the Natatorium Thursday. That is followed up with a meet against visiting UW-Milwaukee Friday. Other dates to keep an eye on this year are Nov. 2 and 3, when Wisconsin travels to Tucson, Ariz., to face off against the Wildcats, and the Northwestern Triangular meet versus Northwestern and Michigan Nov. 16 and 17.”I think we have the potential to really take a step up in the national level,” Imhoff-Smith said.”We are definitely going to turn some heads,” Vavrek added.last_img