Fresh-faced director Jeremy Kipp recently told NUSports that his long-term goal is to take the Wildcats to the top of the college swimming & diving world.

Saturday’s meet made it clear that there’s still work to be done.

Coming off of a long break after a convincing TYR Invitational home sweep in November, Northwestern traveled to Iowa City to face a duo of conference foes and start the year strong. Instead, they encountered Iowa and Wisconsin, which weree ready to run the water red.

The Hawkeyes won the overall men’s tri-dual, and the Badgers topped the women’s matches. Of NU’s four matchups, their only victory came on the women’s side of Northwestern vs. Iowa. Still, the ’Cats ended up scampering away with the fewest total event wins.

Many of the records the team set during TYR ended up being difficult to replicate, possibly due to the rest a three-day invite allows. As a result, just a few personal best times were set at the meet. These included Ilektra Lebl’s 1st-place finish in the women’s 500-yard freestyle and 2nd-place time in the 1000-yard free. A DJ Hwang win in the men’s 1000 free was a new non-relay PR for the sophomore.

The Wildcats’ best races were in the women’s breaststroke. Sophie Angus won both events, while Tara Vovk and Becky Kamau were the runners-up in the 100 and 200 breast, respectively. Phenom Calypso Sheridan was unable to swim past Wisconsin’s Beata Nelson in three events, finishing second to her in the 100 and 200 backstroke and 200 individual medley.

Diving went a bit better for the ’Cats. NCAA champion Olivia Rosendahl won both the women’s 1- and 3-meter events. First-years Yohan Eskrick-Parkinson and Evan Labuda did not win, but achieved zone standards in the men’s 1-meter diving event, meaning they will get the opportunity to perform in a zone meet to qualify for national championships. Senior Ben Magliato also reached a standard in the 3-meter.

Manu Bacarizo, a first-year swimmer from Spain, finished second in the 200 back in his first recorded meet as a Wildcat.

Northwestern’s next meet is on Jan. 25 against Louisville.