Northern Michigan University’s Lajos Budai, Rachel Helm earn GLIAC swimming awards

UNIVERSITY CENTER — Northern Michigan University added three more individual titles Saturday for a total of 13 individual and relay victories during the four-day GLIAC Swimming & Diving Championships held at Saginaw Valley State.

In addition, one freshman from each of the Wildcats’ men’s and women’s teams was named a special award winner at the conclusion of the meet.

Lajos Budai, a winner of an event during each day of the meet, was named both GLIAC men’s Swimmer of the Year and Freshman of the Year.

Women’s team member Rachel Helm, also a winner each day, was named women’s Freshman of the Year.

On Saturday, Budai set a GLIAC record in winning the 100-yard freestyle, recording an NCAA “A” cut time of 43.15 seconds.

That same day, Helm won the 100 free in 50.48 seconds, then at the end of the meet, swam in the 200 backstroke as a time trial and swam the fastest NCAA Division II time in the country this season in 1:57.56, giving her an NCAA “A” cut time and the NMU record.

Saturday’s other winner was sophomore Renars Bundzis, who took the men’s 200 back in an NCAA “B” cut time of 1:45.92.

Other medalists from Saturday’s final day for NMU included Angela Probstfeld, who was runner-up in the women’s three-meter diving with 424.75 points, and Janne Roovers, third in the 1,650 free in 15:48.65.

Budai, Helm, Bundzis and Ryan Knox-Leonard were named All-GLIAC First Team members, and Probstfeld, Roovers and David Miranda All-GLIAC Second Team.

Team-wise, both NMU teams finished third, the No. 9-ranked men accumulating 722 points and the No. 12-ranked women 555.5.

“I’m so proud of this team,” Northern head coach Heidi Voigt said. “On the final night, we had 22 finalists and some very gutsy time trials.

“We’re so thankful for our parents’ unwavering commitment, the alumni enthusiasm and the very supportive administration. The Wildcats are now anxiously awaiting selections for the NCAA national championships.”

Up next for NMU is the Royal Open in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Friday and Saturday.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Writer Steve Brownlee. His email address is