MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan swimming and diving team finished the 2010-11 season under first-year head coach Heidi Voigt. The Wildcats competed in seven meets and had team captain Kelli Vander Baan participate in the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championship.
“This first year was a lot of fun,” Voigt said. “I wish we would’ve had more swimmers qualify for Nationals but we really came together as a team and supported each other all year.”
Vander Baan dove in the one and three-meter events in San Antonio, Texas. She finished 13th in the one-meter dive with a score of 379.55 and 11th in the three-meter with a score of 378.25. She was the long senior on the squad, “Kelli was an exceptional leader for us all season. She is so driven and set a good example for the team to follow.”
NMU was defeated in the season opener at the UW-Eau Claire (Oct. 23). Budiansky and Vander Baan both had two wins in the meet. The NMU relay of Gaby Alzaga, Budiansky, Gena Haas and Lauren Cockels won the 400 medley relay with a time of 4:11.88. Jessica Linnen won the 1,000 freestyle as she touched the wall with a time of 11:37.33. Budiansky then won her first event of the meet, the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:17.92. Vander Baan captured the one-meter dive with 215.75 points with teammate Danielle Laimbeer second (204.75). Lindsay Stedman swam a 2:30.56 in the 200 butterfly for a third-place finish. Cockels (57.49) in the 100 freestyle was fourth. Alzaga won the 200 backstroke. Vander Baan picked up her second win when she registered 243.35 points in taking the three-meter diving. Budiansky also won her second event of the day in the next event, the 200 breaststroke. The final event of the meet, the 400 freestyle relay, the tandem of Stedman, Stephanie Rogaczewski, Meghan Cepela and Haas placed second with a time of 4:05.75.
NMU won 11-of-16 events to win the first home meet of the year (Oct. 30) over Hillsdale (152-137). Event one was the 200 medley relay as Alzaga, Budiansky, Jenny Gallagher and Kelsey Sipple teamed up for a time of 1:53.78. Rogaczewski (11:33.93) and Linnen (11:37.33) finished one and two in the 1,000 freestyle event. Alzaga won her first individual race of the meet winning the 100 backstroke at a time of 1:00.75. She also won the 200 backstroke (2:13.60). Budiansky took the 100 breaststroke at 1:08.29 and the 200 breaststroke (2:25.24). She won her fourth event and third individual event when she won the 200 IM (2:16.37). Gena Haas (2:44.41) and Lindsay Stedman (2:29.79) were the top two in the 200 butterfly and Kelsey Sipple (25.23) and Cockels (25.53) were the top two in the 50 freestyle. NMU dominated the diving board as Kelli Vander Baan won both the three-meter and one-meter events. She scored a 262.65 in the three and a 239.55 in the one. Breanne Bajo finished second in the three-meter dive and third in the one-meter dive. Laimbeer was second in the one-meter event.
“We surprised Hillsdale,” Voigt said. “The team sat down and strategized how we can be successful in dual meets even if it meant swimmers participated in various events. It was fun seeing the team unity and teammates cheering for each other.”
The Wildcats won 11-of-13 events when they hosted UW-Oshkosh (Nov. 6) on the day Vander Baan qualified for Nationals. The ‘Cats won the 200 medley relay (1:54.68). Stedman took the 100 freestyle (11:23.69). Alzaga won the 200 freestyle (2:05.63) and the 100 backstroke (1:00.23). Sipple finished first in the 50 freestyle (25.87). Cockels won the 100 butterfly (1:02.39). Sipple (56.58) and Budiansky (56.90) were the top two finishers in the 100 freestyle. Stedman won the 500 freestyle (5:35.82). Budiansky won the 100 breaststroke.
NMU finished sixth at the Calvin Winter Invitational (Dec. 4). Alzaga was the lone ‘Cat to take home a first-place when she won the 100 backstroke with a time of 58.20. Budiansky made it to the finals in the 100 breaststroke, finishing sixth. Stedman was eighth in the 400 IM and the 400 medley relay team finished fourth. Vander Baan had another great performance on the three-meter board finishing third. Breanne Bajo squeezed into the finals and finished eighth in the three-meter dive event.
NMU finished sixth at the Get to the Point invite (Jan. 22) in Stevens Point, Wis. Alzaga took home two first-place finishes herself in the 100 and 200 backstroke events. Alzaga’s time in the 100 yard was 1:00.36 and 2:10.5 in the 200. Budiansky was first in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:27.06. She was fourth (2:18.15) in the 200 yard IM and fifth (1:11.01) in the 100 breaststroke. Vander Baan was second in the three-meter dive with a score of 410.55 and third (393.9) in the one-meter dive. Alison Black was fourth (400.4) in the three-meter and fifth (382.4) in the one-meter dive.
The Wildcats finished seventh at the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships (Feb. 9-12). Budiansky, Alzaga, Vander Baan and Black all had top 10 finishes for the Wildcats in the final meet of the season. Budiansky had the top finish on the weekend for NMU as she was third in the 200 yard breaststroke with a time of 2:21.06. She was also eighth in the 100 yard breaststroke (1:07.79). Alzaga finished fourth in the 200 yard backstroke (2:04.33) and sixth in the 100 yard backstroke (57.51). Vander Baan finished seventh in the three-meter dive with a score of 391.55 and Black was 10th in the event. Cockels finished won the consolation heat in the 100 yard butterfly for ninth (58:48).
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