Bearcats Sweep Boxers in NWC Swimming

FOREST GROVE, ORE. -- The Willamette University swimming teams swept the action at Pacific University on Saturday, Jan. 27, as the men’s team defeated the Boxers, 84-35, and the Bearcat women were victorious, 100-62. Willamette won six men’s events and also took first place in six women’s events.

WU’s men improved to 1-6 overall and 1-6 in the NWC, while the women’s team upped its record to 2-6 overall, 1-6 in the conference. Pacific’s men dropped to 0-7 on the season, with all seven matches in the NWC. The Pacific women’s squad fell to 1-7 overall, 0-7 in the NWC.

Matthew Tanigawa (Fr., Honolulu, HI/Baptist Academy) won two events for the Bearcat men’s team, while Kevin Tangeman (Fr., Sherwood, OR/Sherwood HS), Pete Kahn (So., Billings, MT/Billings Senior HS) and Kei Otawa (Sr., Moscow, ID/Moscow HS) took first place in one race apiece. Tanigawa edge Pacific’s Kai Seixas by 0.38 seconds to win the 200-yard individual medley. Tanigawa clocked in with a time of 2:11.83. He also won the 200-yard butterfly, as he finished the event in 2:27.33.

Tangeman claimed first place in the 200-yard freestyle, as he recorded a time of 1:59.49. Kahn was victorious in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:19.37. Otawa won the 500-yard freestyle in 5:04.18 and finished a close second behind Nathan Smith of Pacific in the 50-yard freestyle. In the 50 free, Smith was timed at 22.06 seconds to win the event, while Otawa was close behind with a time of 22.28 seconds.

Smith was the top performer for the Boxers, as he won three events. In addition to winning the 50-yard freestyle, he took first place in the 100-yard freestyle at 49.10 and finished first in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:21.07.

WU’s 200-yard medley relay team took first place. Cason Schmit (Sr., Oakland, CA/Bishop O’Dowd HS) swam the lead-off lap, while James Huang (So., Portland, OR/Sunset HS), Tangeman and Tanigawa followed for the Bearcats.
Willamette’s time in the medley relay was 1:51.89.

Willamette recorded five second place finishes in the men’s events. Otawa’s second place result in the 50-yard freestyle was a solid performance in his head-to-head race against Smith. Greg Henselman (Jr., Corvallis, OR/Corvallis HS) took second place in the 200-yard freestyle in 2:09.42 and was second in the 200-yard butterfly in 2:31.93. Schmit earned a second place finish in the 100-yard freestyle, as he clocked in at 50.09 seconds. Graham Smith (Sr., Wilsonville, OR/Wilsonville HS) was second in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:29.95.

For the Willamette women’s team, Shannon Gima (Jr., Alameda, CA/Lick-Wilmerding HS) led the way with two individual first place finishes, plus another victory as the first leg of WU’s victorious 200-yard freestyle relay team. Gima won the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:23.52 and edged teammate Becca Fischer (Sr., Billings, MT/Billings West HS) by posting a time of 2:21.82 in the 200-yard backstroke. Fischer finished second just 0.11 seconds behind Gima.

WU won the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:55.31. Pacific’s freestyle relay team, which finished in 1:50.58, was competing exhibition. Joining Gima on the WU relay were Lauren Gard, Whitney Pryce (Fr., Glastonbury, CT/Glastonbury HS) and Shanley Roxburgh (Sr., Waipahu, HI/Punahou School).

Brittany Thiemans (Jr., Bellevue, WA/Bellevue HS) earned first place times for Willamette in the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard freestyle. She also swam the second leg on WU’s 200-yard medley relay team, which took second place in a time of 2:06.67. In the 50 free, Thiemans recorded a time of 26.55 seconds to win by 0.70 seconds over Rowena Manabat of Pacific. In the 100 free, Thiemans clocked in with a time of 58.77 seconds to win by 1.19 seconds over Manabat.

Fischer was the winner in the 200-yard breaststroke. She recorded a time of 2:36.19 in the event, as she achieved her best time of the season.

The Bearcat women registered a second place finish in the 200-yard medley relay, as Fischer, Thiemans, Roxburgh and Jenna Larrow (Fr., Boise, ID/Timberline HS) completed the race in 2:06.67. WU also benefited from Fischer’s second place finish behind Gima in the 200-yard backstroke.

Other second place results were achieved by Willamette in the 200-yard freestyle, the 200-yard individual medley and the 500-yard freestyle. Pryce took second in the 200 free in 2:10.01, while Roxburgh earned second place in the 200 I.M. with a time of 2:41.90. Larrow was second in the 500 free, as she completed the distance race in 5:54.98.

The meet at Pacific completed the dual match season for the Bearcats and the Boxers. Willamette and Pacific will both compete at the Northwest Conference championships, Feb. 9-11, at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash.