It came down to the final relay and just four total points, but the No. 18 Wisconsin Badgers women’s swim team couldn’t escape No. 9 Southern California on Monday afternoon in sunny Los Angeles. The No. 7 Trojan men also gave the Badgers more than they could handle in a day of wicked fast racing outdoors.
As both USC’s men and women continued its unbeaten streak, the Badgers also had plenty to smile about. With multiple event sweeps for the women, and the men coming away with crucial wins despite the absence of one of their top swimmers, the meet served as adequate preparation for championship season, which is looming closer by the day.
Notable wins for the Badgers included an utterly dominant victory by junior Madison Tew in the 1000-yard freestyle, where her time of 9:54.81 was over six seconds faster than anyone else in the field. Senior Victor Goicoechea dropped two and a half seconds from his seed time to win the men’s version of that event, where his 9:09.81 mark annihilated his competition by over 15 seconds. Goicoechea also won the 500-yard freestyle, where his 4:27.85 outlasted USC’s Jake Sannem.
Sophomore Beata Nelson was also on her A-game, winning both the 100-yard backstroke and the 100-yard butterfly. Her 100 back time of 52.61 was 1.78 seconds faster than USC’s Hannah Weiss, her closest competitor. Redshirt senior Abby Jagdfeld was another two-event winner, as she took home the top time in both the 200- and 500-yard freestyles.
Freshman backstroker Matthew Novinski did not swim for the Badger men in this meet, and his absence was strongly felt in his signature events, which were swept by the Trojans’ star freshman Robert Glinta.
USC ultimately won both sides, with USC women winning 133 to 129, and the men winning 148 to 109. The women’s score is the closest margin of defeat against USC in the series’ seven-year history.
The Badgers’ next action will come in two weeks, when they head to Notre Dame for the Shamrock Invitational, which serves as a final tune-up for next month’s Big Ten Championships.