MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University Swimming and Diving Teams return to the water Friday as they will compete in the 2018 Fazoli's Invitational hosted by the University of West Florida for their first meet in over a month.
Friday's meet is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in Pensacola, Florida. In a meet where only relays will score points, the women's team will compete against West Florida, Brenau University and Ouachito Baptist University. The men's team will take on just Ouachito Baptist.
Follow @NMU_Wildcats for continued coverage throughout the meet.
Movin' on up: The men's team is now ranked fifth in the country after moving up five spots in the latest poll. They started the year ranked #15 and moved up to #10 in November.
Women stay in the top ten: The women's team stayed in the top ten nationally as they continue to be ranked #10. The team started the season ranked 17th and rose seven spots in the monthly poll to #10 in November.
The last meet: Aiding the men's rise was a second-place finish at the Calvin Winter Invititational in early December. The Wildcats captured 11 first-place finishes at the meet and posted four school records, two pool records, and seven B-Cut times. Junior Renars Bundzis (Riga, Latvia/Riga Secondary School) also posted an NCAA A-Cut time in the 200-yard backstroke.
Women's Calvin Performance: The women's team also took second place fueled by 10 first-place times. The women set four new school records, two pool records and saw seven swimmers post NCAA B-Cut times.
Record-setting men: The 800-yard freestyle relay team of sophomore Lajos Budai (Kecskemet, Hungary/Bolyai Janos), junior Ryan Knox-Leonard (South Wales, Australia/Toronto), junior Grantas Dapkus (Kaunas, Lithuania/Kaunas Saule) and sophomore Jonas Reinhold (Neinhagen, Germany/Holty Gymnasium-Celle) posted a new school record of 6:36.60. Junior Janne Roovers (Khobar, Saudi Arabia/Khahran) then set a new record time of 15:43.52 in the 1,650-yard freestyle. Dapkus joined in the record-breaking fun by breaking the schools time in the 500-yard freestyle, setting a new time of 4:29.90.
Women set relay records: Like the men's squad, the women's 800-yard freestyle relay made of sophomore Rachel Helm (Newcastle upon Tyne, England/Burnside College), freshman Gabriella Spajic (New South Wales, Australia/De La Salle Catholic College Cronulla), senior Hannah Crump (Grand Rapids, Mich./Northview/South Dakota State) and freshman Lena Soulas (London, England/Woodhouse College) posted a new record time of 7:29.91. At the time of the meet, it was the nation's second-fastest finishing time. Soulas, junior Regan Kilburn (Muscatine, Iowa), sophomore Victoria Reese (Lombard, Ill./Clenbard South) and Helm then set another pool record with a time of 1:34.07 in the 200-yard freestyle relay. In the 200-yard medley relay, Kilburn, Helm, sophomore Madelyn Irelan (Owosso, Mich.) and freshman Margaret Vaitkus (Munster, Ind.) teamed to set a new record time of 1:43.49.
More records fall: In addition to the relays, Spajic set a new school record in the 200-yard butterly. Spajic posted a time of 2:02.27 to set the new NMU time and also broke the pool record in the process. Knox-Leonard set a pool record in the 200-yard invididual medley with a time of 1:48.96. Bundzis' time of 1:44.41 in the 200-yard backstroke also gave him a pool and school record.