Cardinals, graduates face off in swimming’s alumni meet

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Current and past Cardinal swimmers participated in the alumni swim meet in Merner Field House on Friday, Oct. 20.  The events for the night included a 50-yard race for each of the four strokes: freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly.  Student winners included freshmen Beth Ryan and Nick Mielke for freestyle, junior Katherine Canfield and freshman Ryan Lewellyan for backstroke, Beth Ryan and freshman Ian Greenway for butterfly, and Nick Mielke and freshman Amy Feltz for breaststroke. The meet concluded with a 200-yard mixed freestyle relay with Cardinal Swimmers and alumni racing together.

“I loved swimming at North Central, it was a wonderful experience,” said alum Loreli Patschke (’14, ’16). During her college career Patschke swam the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard backstroke and the 100-yard butterfly.

Two years before Patschke, alumni Kelsey Tumpane (’12, ’14) received a bachelor’s degree in sports management, and then received her master’s in sports leadership. While at North Central, Tumpane swam the 100-yard, the 200-yard butterfly and the 400-yard Individual Medley.  “It kept me on track to do good in school,” Tumpane said.  “It also led me to get my master’s degree to be the graduate assistant for the swim team.”

Alumni compete in the backstroke category. Photo by Jack Plewa

Graduating with Patschke was alumni Jacob Nurczyk (’14), who also participated in the meet.  During his time at North Central, Nurczyk swam backstroke and butterfly.  “I really liked swimming at North Central, I thought it was a good experience,” Nurczyk said.  “We only had three or four guys on the team and maybe six or seven girls so it was really difficult.”  Using his bachelor’s degree in actuarial science, Nurczyk currently works in Chicago for a healthcare consulting company — valuing the cost of health benefits.

Although the swim meet was fun and exciting, some of the alumni had trouble finding their stroke.  “It was very exciting,” Patschke said.  “It was very difficult as well though because some of us haven’t been in the pool for a year since the last swim meet.”  While this is some alumni’s first time swimming in the meet, others have made it a tradition.  “I come every year just to prove to myself that I still can swim,” Tumpane said.  “It’s much harder than it was, but it’s good to come and see everybody that’s here every year and relive the glory days.”

According to head swim coach Mark Schmitt, the team has been struggling for the past few years because they didn’t have the numbers to have two relays.  “I am incredibly excited about the fact that we have enough swimmers to have two relays in each gender,” Schmitt said.  “Those incoming freshmen are fast enough that they are going to be challenging some of the top teams in our conference.”

The meet gave Cardinal Swimmers one last chance to practice before their first official meet on Saturday, Oct. 21 against Monmouth College and Knox College.

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