Linfield Sweeps Willamette in NWC Swimming

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Linfield College swept Willamette University in Northwest Conference swimming action on Saturday, Jan. 23 at the WU Natatorium. The Wildcats defeated the Willamette women's team, 127-77, and won the men's competition, 135-10.

Linfield's women improved to 3-4 overall, 2-4 in the NWC, while the Wildcat men's team upped its record to 4-3 on the season, 3-3 in the conference. The Willamette women's team dropped to 1-4 overall, 1-4 in the NWC. The WU men fell to 0-5 overall and 0-5 in the NWC.

Lauren Ballinger (Fr., Wenatchee, WA/Wenatchee HS) of Willamette won the women's 50-yard freestyle and the women's 100-yard freestyle. Gwen Schulze (Sr., Silverdale, WA/Central Kitsap HS/Austin College) led a 1-2-3 sweep by Willamette in the women's 200-yard butterfly.

Ballinger took first place in the 50 free with a time of 26:45 seconds. She won the 100-yard freestyle by completing the race in 57.75 seconds.

Schulze recorded a time of 2:27.85 to win the 200 fly. Kayla Kosaki (Fr., Hilo, HI/Waiakea HS) placed second just over one second later at 2:29.00, while Kara Koetje (So., Arlington, WA/Stanford HS) completed Willamette's sweep with a third place time of 2:30.57.

Two men's swimmers and two women's swimmers from Linfield were double individual event winners. For the Wildcat men's team, Miles Phillips won the 200-yard freestyle and the 200-yard backstroke, while Yusuke Kobayashi finished first in the 50-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle.

Phillips achieved a first place time of 1:55.31 in the 200 free and recorded a time of 2:13.15 to win the 200 back. Yusuke won the 50 free in 23.08 seconds. He triumphed in the 500 free with a time of 4:56.00.

The Wildcat women received wins from Stephanie Longmate in the 1,000-yard freestyle (11:18.00) and the 500-yard freestyle (5:33.42). Catherine Nakamura of Linfield won the 200-yard individual medley (2:25.62) and the 200-yard backstroke (2:20.82).

Linfield and Willamette opened the meet with a close race in the women's 400-yard freestyle relay. The Wildcats won by just 0.22 seconds, clocking in at 4:25.22, while WU finished in second with a time of 4:25.46. Rhiannon Ladwig, Kailee Seto, Nakamura and McKenna Peterson swam for Linfield.

WU's 400 medley relay team included Schulze, Janelle Higashida (So., Kaneohe, HI/Hawaii Baptist Academy), Koetje and Ballinger. On the final leg, Ballinger made up nearly all of a body-and-a half deficit, but couldn't quite catch Linfield.

Willamette honored its four seniors during the meet. The seniors for 2009-10 are Gwen Schulze (Silverdale, WA/Central Kitsap HS/Austin College), Jenna Larrow (Boise, ID/Timberline HS), Lauren Gard (Milwaukie, OR/Rex Putnam HS) and Coral Sorensen (Sammamish, WA/John F. Kennedy HS).

The Bearcats will swim again on Friday, Jan. 29, when they will take on Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore. Meet time is scheduled for 6 p.m. (PST).

COMPLETE RESULTS
Women
Linfield College 127
Willamette University 77

Men
Linfield College 135
Willamette University 10
Gwen Schulze won the 200-yard butterfly in 2:27.85. Schulze was one of four seniors swimming in their final home meet at WU.

Gwen Schulze won the 200-yard butterfly in 2:27.85. Schulze was one of four seniors swimming in their final home meet at WU.

Willamette's 2009-10 Seniors (L to R): Gwen Schulze, Jenna Larrow, Lauren Gard, Coral Sorensen.

Willamette's 2009-10 Seniors (L to R): Gwen Schulze, Jenna Larrow, Lauren Gard, Coral Sorensen.