Willamette's Fischer Battles to Fourth Place Finish at NWC Swimming Pentathlon; Otawa Takes 16th Place for WU Men

PORTLAND, ORE. Senior swimmer Becca Fischer (Billings, MT/Billings West HS) from Willamette University took fourth place in the women's pentathlon at the Northwest Conference Sprints, hosted by Lewis & Clark College on Friday, Oct. 27. Fischer earned her fourth place finish by registering a spot in the top 15 of all four strokes plus the individual medley. The five component times were added together to determine the pentathlon leaders. Another Willamette senior, Kei Otawa (Moscow, ID/Moscow HS), achieved 16th place in the men's pentathlon.

In the team standings, the Willamette women finished in fifth place and the Bearcat men's team took seventh place. Both team titles were won by Whitworth College.

Whitworth claimed the women's crown with 230 points, led by Brittany Gresset's first place finish in the pentathlon with a combined time of 2:58.63. Linfield College took second with 185.5 points, followed by the University of Puget Sound in third at 178, Pacific University in fourth at 73, Whitman College in fifth at 66.5, Pacific Lutheran University in sixth at 34, Willamette in seventh at 32, and Lewis & Clark in eighth with three points.

In the men's division, Whitworth's first place score was 203 points. Lewis & Clark finished second with 176.5 points, with Pacific Lutheran in third with 100 points. Puget Sound took fourth at 95, Willamette was fifth at 61.5, Linfield placed sixth at 58 and Whitman took seventh at 54. The men's pentathlon champion was Kevin Caple of Linfield with a combined time of 2:39.10.

Competitors in the pentathlon swam 50-yard races in the freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly, and a 100-yard race in the individual medley. Fischer placed second in the breaststroke at 33.67 seconds and took fourth place in the I.M. at 1:03.57. Her time in the breaststroke was 0.28 seconds behind the winner, Kelley O'Dell of UPS.

Fischer also also earned 10th place in the backstroke at 30.24 seconds and 11th place in the butterfly at 29.10. She placed 13th in the freestyle with a time of 26.87 seconds.

Kei had his best race in the 50-yard freestyle, as he achieved a fourth place finish in 22.79 seconds, just 0.21 out of first place. Otawa also placed seventh in the butterfly in 25.15 seconds, 12th in the breaststroke at 30.33, 21st in the I.M. at 59.64 and 34th in the backstroke in 29.54.

Most of Willamette's team scoring was compiled by Fischer and Kei. The Bearcats also received a sixth place finish from Shannon Gima (Jr., Alameda, CA/Lick-Wimerding HS) in the 50-yard backstroke with a time of 30.09 seconds.

The Willamette swimming teams will be in action again on Saturday, Oct. 28, when they compete in the Northwest Conference Relays at Linfield College. The first race of the NWC Relays is set to start at 11 a.m. (PDT) in McMinnville, Ore..