Bearcat women take fourth, men fifth at NWC Championships

McMINNVILLE, Ore. - To no one's surprise, the Puget Sound women continued their dominance of Northwest Conference swimming, winning an unprecedented seventh straight conference championship Sunday at the Linfield Aquatics Center. The Whitworth men reclaimed the title they last won in 2001, outdistancing runner-up Puget Sound. Four conference meet records were bettered during Sunday evening's finals.

UPS, led by co-swimmer of the year Breanna Trygg, scored 785 points, more than 200 points than second-place Linfield, which finished with 562.

The Wildcats surged into the No. 2 spot after three straight years of
third-place showings. Whitworth's women claimed third, Willamette was fourth, followed by Whitman, Lewis & Clark and Pacific Lutheran.

The men's race was not quite as close. Whitworth's 876 points easily
bettered runner-up Puget Sound's 635. Pacific Lutheran moved into third place past Linfield, which finished fourth. Willamette was fifth, followed by Whitman and Lewis & Clark.

Trygg, who shared the women's top honor with Whitworth Kristen Satterfield, won the 50 freestyle, as well as the 100 and 200 backstrokes. Trygg's time of 2:06.28 in the 200 backstroke established a new conference meet record, bettering the old mark of 2:10.06 set by Linfield's Beth Slaughter in 1995. Satterfield was crowned conference champion in 100, 200 and 500 freestyle events.

Whitworth teammates Ryan Freeman and Kevin Wang split the men's swimmer of the year award. Freeman captured gold in the 100 and 200 backstrokes, and added another title in the 200 individual medley. Wang won the 500 freestyle, 400 IM and the 1,650 freestyle. He swam to a meet-record time in Sunday's 1,650 freestyle (15:47.19), breaking his own standard of 16:02.69 set last year. Freeman also set a conference meet record Sunday, racing to a 1:51.91 finish in the 200 backstroke, eclipsing the old standard of 1:52.72 set by UPS's Lance Craig in 1998.

Michele Rennie of UPS set the day's fourth meet record in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:24.72. That surpassed the previous best of
2:25.88 set in 2000 by teammate Amanda Didier.

Willamette highlights included:

* Eric Swinn and B.J. Wright placing second and third, respectively, in the 100 freestyle behind UPS' Phillips. Swinn finished in 47.97 and Wright was timed in 48.10.

* Amy Hoang placed third in the 200 butterfly in a time of 2:23.33.

* The men's 400 freestyle relay placed third in 3:16.16, finishing just behind Puget Sound (3:15.79). The Bearcat team was comprised of Wright, Owen Williams, Bryan Ruttkay and Swinn.

* Nadia Markovchick placed fourth in the 1,650 freestyle in a time of 19:07.36.

Tom Dodd of Whitworth was honored as men's coach of the year in the NWC.
Three coaches - Lewis & Clark's Matt Sellman, Linfield's Gary Gutierrez and UPS's Chris Myers, shared the women's conference coach of the year award.

Women's team scores - 1. Puget Sound 785, 2. Linfield 562, 3. Whitworth 516, 4. WILLAMETTE 328, 5. Whitman 310, 6. Lewis & Clark 295, 7. Pacific Lutheran 265.

Men's team scores - 1. Whitworth 876, 2. Puget Sound 635, 3. Pacific Lutheran 451, 4. Linfield 431, 5. WILLAMETTE 322, 6. Whitman 194, 7. Lewis & Clark 120.