Pacific Lutheran Swims to Victory over Willamette

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- In Northwest Conference swimming on Saturday, Jan. 31, Pacific Lutheran University swept Willamette University at the WU Natatorium in Salem, Ore. Pacific Lutheran's women claimed a 137-62 win over the Bearcats, while the Lute men downed Willamette, 134-46.

The Bearcat men's team dropped to 1-7 overall, 1-6 in the NWC. Willamette's women fell to 2-7 overall, 0-7 in the NWC. The Lutes improved to 7-2 overall in men's swimming, 5-2 in the NWC, and to 6-3 for the women's team, 4-3 in the NWC.

Willamette swimmers Gwen Schulze (Jr., Silverdale, WA/Central Kitsap HS/Austin College) and Hanna Connett (So., Pullman, WA/Pullman HS) each recorded a victory for the Bearcats. Schulze won the 200-yard butterfly in 2:23.69 for a 3.57-second margin over Kasey Dorcas of PLU (2:27.26). Connett took first in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:39.07.

Connett led a close 1-2 finish for the 'Cats in the 500 free. Jenna Larrow (Jr., Boise, ID/Timberline HS) earned second place in 5:39.15, just 0.08 behind Connett. Larrow took roughly five seconds off her previous season best.

In addition to her victory, Connett also took second in a tight race in the 200-yard individual medley. Dorcas won the event for PLU after clocking in at 2:25.49. Connett touched the timing pad at 2:25.90. Schulze also finished within one-half second of the lead, as she recorded a third-place time of 2:25.96.

Larrow was second in the 200-yard freestyle behind Elizabeth Althauser of PLU. Althauser's time was 2:08.66, while Larrow ended the race in 2:11.71.

A pair of Pacific Lutheran swimmers each won two women's events. Jessie Klauder claimed first place in the 1,000-yard freestyle and the 200-yard breaststroke. She won the 1,000 free in 11:28.67 and won the 200 breaststroke in 2:38.49.

Brittany Wolcott of PLU took first in the sprints. She achieved victory in the 50-yard freestyle in 27.74 seconds and finished in front in the 100-yard freestyle in 58.99 seconds.

The Lutes won all of the men's events, but John Schmidtbauer (So., Whittier, CA/Whittier HS) of Willamette provided close competition in the 50-yard and the 100-yard freestyle races. In the 50 free, Chase Mesford held off Schmidtbauer by 0.71 seconds. Mesford's winning time was 22.83 seconds, while Schmidtbauer completed the race in 23.54 seconds.

In the 100 free, Rayan Carter of PLU won with a time of 50.86 seconds. Schmidtbauer was next, just 0.19 seconds back, after registering a time of 51.05 seconds. Michael McGeehan (Fr., Moscow, ID/Moscow HS) from Willamette took third place in 52.21 seconds.

Willamette will complete the 2008-09 season at the Northwest Conference Championships from Feb. 13-15. All of the events will be held at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash.

Pacific Lutheran University 134
Willamette University 46

Pacific Lutheran University 137
Willamette University 62
Gwen Schulze took first place in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:23.69.

Gwen Schulze took first place in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:23.69.

John Schmidtbauer placed second in close races in the sprints.

John Schmidtbauer placed second in close races in the sprints.