MARQUETTE, Mich. – 18 members of the Northern Michigan University Swimming & Diving team will head to Greeensboro, North Carollina for the 2018 NCAA National Championship Meet.
The Championship meet begins Tuesday, March 13 with the diving competition and finishes Saturday, March 17. The meet can be followed with live results. The championship meet program is also available.
Follow @NMU_Wildcats for continued coverage.
NMU competes: The women's team will compete in 18 races, and qualified for 14, including all five relays. The men's team qualified for eight individual races and two relays and will compete in 16 races. Those swimmers who qualified for the NCAA Nationals are also invited to swim in any other races where they earned an NCAA Provision B-Cut but may not have officially qualified. The men's team will also be allowed to compete in each relay since they had more than four swimmers qualify for individual races.
Tuesday's action: The meet begins Tuesday with the diving competition. Junior Kyle Flickinger (Brimley, Mich./Sault Area) and junior Charlie Pavlak (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way West) will compete on the men's side while sophomore Jamie Kimble (Prior Lake, Minn./Prior Lake) dives for the women. All divers compete in both the one and three-meter events with the top performers advancing to the finals.
Wednesday's action: Swimming events begin Wednesday and the first day features the finals for the 1,000-yard freestyle, the 200-yard individual medley, 50-yard freestyle, the women's three-meter dive and the 200-yard medley relays.
In the women's 1,000 free, freshman Gabriella Spajic (New South Wales, Australia/De La Salle Catholic College Cronulla) hits the water for NMU. In the men's race, junior Grantas Dapkus (Kaunas, Lithuania/Kaunas Saule) qualified 19th with a seed time of 9:17.84 and is coming off a GLIAC Championship victory in the event. Junior David Miranda (Vinaros, Spain/IES Jose Viloplane) will also compete in the men's 1000-yard free.
In the women's 200 IM, sophomore Rachel Helm (Newcastle, England/Burnside College) won this event at the GLIAC Championships and is seeded 11th with a time of 2:02.21. Seeded sixth on the men's side, junior Ryan Leonard (South Wales, Australia/Toronto) clocks in at 1:47.81 and is also coming off a GLIAC Championship victory.
Lena Soulas (London, England/Woodhouse College) will swim in the women's 50-yard freestyle, with sophomore Lajos Budai (Kecskemet, Hungary/Bolyai Janos) seeded 19th on the men's side with a seed time of 20.18.
Wednesday concludes with the defending GLIAC Champion women's 200-yard medley relay entering the NCAA Championship ranked tenth with a time of 1:42.85. The men's team will also compete in the race.
Competing on Thursday: The finals on Thursday will begin with the 200-yard freestyle relay, where the women's team qualified in 16th, 1:34.07. The men will compete in the race as well.
Spajic's time of 4:25.04 seeds her 14th in the women's 400-yard individual medley while Leonard is 18th with a time of 3:55.29 on the men's side. Miranda will also take part in the men's race.
In the 100-yard butterfly, Helm is seeded 20th with a 55.20 and also won this race at the GLIAC's. Budai and Dapkus will compete in the men's 200 freestyle. The men's one-meter diving finals will also take place.
Rounding out the night will be the 400-yard medley relay, where the women are ranked 11th and the men are 15th.
Friday night's events: Friday night features Helm defending her national championship in the women's 100 back, where she is currently seeded third with a time of 53.91. In the men's race, Budai enters seeded seventh, timing in at 47.55, and junior Renars Bundzis (Riga, Latvia/Riga Secondary School) is 12th with a time of 48.41.
Freshman Katharina Springhetti (Tramin, Italy/Auerora Specialized Secondary School for Economic Field) looks to advance in the 100-yard breaststroke while Spajic goes into the women's 200-yard butterfly seeded 12th at 2:02.27. Miranda goes into the men's 200-yard butterfly seeded 17th at 1:48.40 and Leonard will also compete in the men's 200 fly.
After the women's one-meter dive finals, the 800-yard freestyle relay will take place. The women's team enters seeded 20th while the men's squad, who is coming off their third-straight GLIAC Championship victory, is 12th.
The final day: Saturday's action begins for NMU with Dapkus invited to swim the men's 1,650-yard freestyle. Soulas will then take part in the women's 100-yard freestyle where she is ranked 17th with a seed time of 50.60. Budai is ranked fifth for the men with a time of 43.75.
The next race, the 200-yard backstroke features the best rankings for NMU of the entire meet. Helm is seeded first in the women's race, posting a time of 1:56.38. Junior Regan Kilburn (Muscatine, Iowa) is 14th and has a seed time of 2:00.60. Bundzis' time of 1:44.00 seeds him second on the men's side.
The diving portion of the meet concludes Saturday with the women's three-meter dive before the meet closes with the 400-yard freestyle relays. For the women, NMU is seeded 24th, having posted a time of 3:27.35. The men's team will also compete.
Relay specialists: In addition to the individual races, both teams will also feature additional swimmers who will focus on helping the team achieve success in the relays. Freshman Margaret Vaitkus (Munster, Ind.), sophomore Madelyn Irelan (Owosso, Mich.) and junior Dana Stroven (Howell, Mich.) look to aid the women's team. For the men, sophomore Jonas Reinhold (Nienhagen, Germany/Holty Gymnasium-Celle) and junior Arnoldo Herrera (Heredia, Costa Rica/Saint Jude) will compete in relays.