Rachel Helm, Lajos Budai star in Northern Michigan University swimming, diving sweep

Rachel Helm

MARQUETTE — The Northern Michigan University swimming and diving teams pulled off a clean sweep over the weekend with both women’s and men’s teams winning their Friday and Saturday home meets at the PEIF pool over Findlay by at least 50 points in each meet.

The Wildcat women won 169-85 on Friday and 199-92 on Saturday, while the Northern men posted victories of 153-101 on Friday and 190-91 on Saturday.

Here is recap about each team:


Helm leads women

On Friday, two-time NCAA Division II national champion Rachel Helm, a senior, accounted for four wins. She took the 25-yard backstroke in 12.37 seconds, 75 back in 42.16 and swam with the winning 125 medley and 125 freestyle relays, the free relay consisting of five swimmers. Joining her in the medley relay was sophomore Briana Arnold, senior Madelyn Irelan and freshman Michaela Nelson, while also on the free relay were Nelson, freshman Pilar Perello Ferrer and juniors Margaret Vaitkus and Gabriella Spajic.

Vaitkus added a 25 free win in 11.79, Nelson the 75 free in 39.04, Irelan the 25 butterfly in 11.87 and sophomore Mary Grossman the three-meter diving with 237.15 points.

There was also freshman Maria Arakelian, who took the 175 free in 1:41.38, and freshman Meritxell Font Cantarero in the 75 fly in 42.04.

On Saturday, the Wildcats not only dominated, but established four NCAA “B” provisional cut times and scores in both swimming and diving.

Freshman Amanda Baird won the three-meter diving with 279.75, a “B” cut score, while Grossman’s winning 271.43 and Baird’s runner-up 256.42 in one-meter diving were also “B” qualifying point totals.

Helm got the final “B” cut when she won the 100 back in 56.41, then added another win in the 200 back in 2:02.50.

Arakelian won the 500 free in 5:12.09 and 1,000 free in 10:44.34, Perello Ferrer the 100 free in 54.64 and 200 free in 1:56.28, Nelson the 50 free in 24.91 and 200 individual medley in 2:13.16 and Font Cantarero the 100 fly in 58.42 and 200 fly in 2:08.15. And sophomore Katharina Springhetti won the 200 breaststroke in 2:25.35.

Both relays also went in the NMU win column — the 200 medley in 1:47.60 included Helm, Arnold, Irelan and Nelson, and the 200 free in 1:39.62 by Vaitkus, Helm, Perello Ferrer and Nelson.


Budai wins 7 times

Senior Lajos Budai won three times on Friday and four times Saturday, four of them individual events.

On Friday, he took the 25 free in 9.81 seconds and 75 free in 33.89 while swimming with the victorious 125 free relay in 50.32. The five-man team included senior Jonas Reinhold, junior Amir Saman Khajegi, sophomore Henry Bauer and freshman Ivan Amillo Escobedo.

Freshman Roberto Camera also won twice in the 25 breast in 12.01 and 75 breast in 42.12. Senior Maksim Kapustin won the 25 fly in 10.65, Reinhold the 175 free in 1:31.80 and freshman Micah Currie the one-meter diving with 258.67 points.

Saturday’s quartet of wins for Budai included the 50 free in 21.54 and 100 free in 47.78 to go with relay wins in the 200 medley and 200 free. The medley relay clocked 1:35.35 and included Camera, Kapustin and sophomore Sam Konigsberg, while the free relay came in at 1:25.48 with Saman Khajegi, Camera and Amillo Escobedo.

Camera also won the 100 breast in 57.54 and 200 breast in 2:09.58, while junior Ondrej Zach took the 500 free in 4:45.64 and 1,000 free in 9:45.62 and freshman Micah Currie won the one-meter diving with 271.80 and three-meter with 226.50.

Konigsberg won the 200 back in 1:58.40, junior Drew Del Papa the 200 IM in 1:59.65, Amillo Escobedo the 200 free in 1:42.79 and Reinhold the 200 fly in 1:56.78.

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



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