Whitman Swimmers Win Against Linfield, Willamette

Elena Aragon

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The Whitman swim teams opened the 2012-13 Northwest Conference season at the Louise and Paul Harvey Pool with dominant victories in dual meets over Linfield College and Willamette University.

Both the men’s and women’s teams defeated Linfield in the Friday meet, with a men’s score of 140-62 and women’s 127-78. Whitman went on to sweep the weekend, winning against Willamette with a score of 160-40 in the men’s meet and 146-55 in the women’s.

The swim team comes together for a cheer before their meet against Willamette University on Saturday, November 3. The men’s and women’s teams won both of their meets this weekend.  Photos by Halley McCormick.

The strength of the teams this year have made it possible for them to aim for some major wins against top-level competition.

“This year, we have a large senior class, but other than that, the team is composed of mostly freshmen and sophomores. We picked up a huge class of very talented freshmen and are poised to become a nationally competitive team. This is the fastest team that Whitman College has ever had,” said senior Paul Chang in an email.

Swimmers dive in for the women’s 200-yard freestyle at the swim team’s meet against Linfield on Friday, November 2.

Both the men’s and women’s teams’ long-term goal for the season is to climb to the top of the NWC. Individually, a number of Missionaries want to qualify for postseason competition.

“I would really like to qualify for NCAA DIII Nationals and go with some of my teammates. I missed the qualifying times last year by a small margin and I’d really like to make it this year,” said Chang.

“My goals are to help the team win conference. We have a really strong team and everyone is pretty excited at the opportunity to take Whitworth down,” said first-year Nick Wechter.

A key for both Whitman teams this year will be their depth.

“The guys’ team is looking to win conference this year, and we’re gonna use our depth to our advantage,” said sophomore Kevin O’Leary.

The men’s team is led by senior captains Kevin Dyer and Andrew Roehrig and supplements its core of returners with strong first-years. Seniors Genay Pilarowski and Libby Arnosti lead the women’s team.

“We have some really awesome freshmen, including Sam Starr,” said O’ Leary, who competed on Saturday for the first time in six months due to surgery after a series of knee dislocations.

Cari Cortez ’13 competes this weekend in the 100 yard breaststroke.

“Our biggest meet will be against Whitworth, who have held the conference title for about a decade,” said Chang.

 

Despite the encouraging start to the season, sophomore Rachael Barton and her teammates acknowledge that there is a lot of work to be done both individually and as a team in order to accomplish their goals.

“This year I’m trying to focus on my technique more. Swimming with correct form earlier in the season is crucial in minimizing injuries and strains on the body later on as intensity [and] duration of practices increase,” said Barton, who swam events in butterfly and freestyle.

Erin Kiskaddon ’13 in the women’s 1650-yard freestyle on Friday.

The Missionaries kicked off against Linfield on Friday with strong individual performances, a theme that continued throughout both meets.

Willamette is a lot of fun to swim against, even though we definitely outnumber them in terms of team size. This weekend we had a lot of races that were well matched, and many of them were neck-and-neck even in the last pool length of the race,” said Barton.

When not in the pool racing, the Missionaries cheered on their fellow swimmers, shouting and paddling their hands to encourage them to stay strong and swim faster. The palpable positive energy on the sidelines permeated throughout the crowd up in the viewing area.

“The side pool presence is very positive,” said sophomore spectator Claire Skach, who came to cheer on former roommate Barton.

The swim team cheers on its relayers at their meet against Linfield on Friday.

Sophomore Nic Win won the men’s 400 individual medley with a time of 4:21 after coming out strong in the backstroke leg of the race. First-year Sam Starr won the men’s 100 backstroke in 54 seconds. In the women’s 100 backstroke, first-year Cameo Hlebasko finished first with a time of 1:00. First-year Elise Tinseth won the 400 IM in 4:54, staying far ahead of the competitors nearly the entire race.

Several Missionaries competed in events other than their usual set of races. They did well for one of their first major meets, especially considering that several strong swimmers––including junior Katie Chapman, who owns multiple Whitman swimming records––are injured.

The Missionaries rode their momentum from Friday’s victories into Saturday’s meet against Willamette.

In the women’s 200 breaststroke, Pilarowski finished first in 2:30, Tinseth came in second in 2:33 and junior Claire Collins rounded out the top three with a time of 2:34. Whitman dominated the men’s 200 breaststroke with Chang coming in first with a time of 2:16, Wechter second in 2:21 and first-year Robby Dorn at 2:28. Senior Charlotte Graham won the  women’s 500 in 5:36.

“Saturday was good. We were told to get excited about this meet and focus on carrying on the team spirit after winning last night,” said first-year Teylor Greff, who competed in the 400 IM and 400 freestyle relay.

On the men’s side, O’Leary won the 100 freestyle with a time of 49 seconds, with junior Shunei Asao finishing second in 50 seconds. Junior Galen Sollom-Brotherton lapped multiple competitors with his smooth flip turns and balanced strokes and won the men’s 500 freestyle with a time of 4:59. Sollom-Brotherton and sophomore Karl Mering represented Whitman at Nationals last spring.

Whitman won both the men’s and women’s 400 freestyle relays to close out a successful weekend of competition.

Whitman travels to Lewis and Clark College and Pacific University for dual meets Nov. 9 and 10.

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