Northern Michigan University men, women swimmers runners-up at Calvin Invite

Rachel Helm

MARQUETTE — The Northern Michigan University men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams each finished as runners-up at the Calvin College Winter Invitational held Thursday through Saturday in Grand Rapids.

The Wildcats set a number of team records, pool records and NCAA Division II National Championship qualifying times. The NMU men, who won four events Friday and five Saturday, accumulated 1,994 points for second place among six teams, while the women, claiming six victories Friday and four Saturday, had 1,566.5 points in a field of eight schools.


Helm leads NMU women

Sophomore Rachel Helm of the women’s team collected five victories, taking the 100 backstroke in 55.09 on Friday and 200 back in 1:59.29 on Saturday, then joining teammates in winning the 200 freestyle relay in 1:34.07 on Friday, 400 free relay in 3:27.79 on Saturday and 200 medley relay in 1:43.49 on Saturday.

Lajos Budai

The 200 free relay, which included freshman Lena Soulas, junior Regan Kilburn and sophomore Victoria Reese, set a team record, tied a pool record and made the NCAA “B” cut qualifying time.

The 200 medley relay, including Kilburn, sophomore Madelyn Irelan and freshman Margaret Vaitkus, set a school record, while the 400 free relay, with Reese, Soulas and freshman Gabriella Spajic, earned an NCAA “B” cut.

Soulas added individual victories in the 200 free in 1:50.62 on Friday and the 100 free in the 100 free in 50.60, an NCAA “B” cut.

Spajic added a school record and pool record in the 200 butterfly in 2:02.27 on Friday, beating her own record she set in the preliminaries earlier that day.

Kilburn was second and junior Savanna Saunders third in the 200 back as each made NCAA “B” cuts.


Budai paces Wildcat men

Sophomore Lajos Budai of the men’s team collected four victories, winning the 100 free in 43.75 on Saturday and the 100 back in 47.55 and the 50 free in 20.16 on Friday, then joined sophomores Jonas Reinhold and Maks Kapustin and junior Ryan Knox-Leonard to win the 400 free relay in 3:01.10 on Saturday.

Knox-Leonard won the 400 individual medley in 3:58.56 on Friday and the 200 IM in 1:48.96 on Saturday, a pool record and NCAA “B” cut.

Junior Grantas Dapkus won the 500 free in 4:29.90 on Saturday, setting a school record and making a “B” cut, and also took second in the 200 free on Friday for another “B” cut.

Junior Renars Bundzis won the 200 back in 1:44.41 on Saturday for a school record, pool record and the only NCAA “A” cut of the weekend by NMU.

Reinhold won the 200 free in 1:40.27 on Friday, while junior Janne Roovers was second in Saturday’s 500 free while establishing another “B” cut.

The NMU teams

are off for the rest of the month and return to action for a one-day meet on Jan. 5 at the University of West Florida in Pensacola.

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