Whitman Swims Past Bearcats in NWC Action

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Whitman College defeated Willamette University in Northwest Conference men's and women's swimming action on Saturday, Jan. 16 at the WU Natatorium. The Missionaries were victorious in the women's competition, 146-50, while the Whitman men's team won, 60-20.

Both of Whitman's teams are 5-0 in the NWC for the first time in school history and are 6-0 overall. Willamette's women dropped to 1-3 overall, 1-3 in the NWC. The WU men's team fell to 0-4 overall, 0-4 in the NWC.

The closest race of the day was the women's 100-yard freestyle, which was decided by 1/100th of a second. Libby Arnosti of Whitman won the race in 57.78 seconds. Willamette's Lauren Ballinger (Fr., Wenatchee, WA/Wenatchee HS) almost caught Arnosti on the final leg, but finished 0.01 out of the lead with a time of 57.79 seconds. Helen Jenne of Whitman earned a solid third place time of 58.20 seconds.

Much like the 100 free, the women's 200-yard freestyle featured a close finish between Arnosti and Ballinger. Arnosti won the race in 2:07.24, just 0.27 in front of Ballinger, who took second in 2:07.51 Jenna Larrow (Sr., Boise, ID/Timberline HS) of Willamette was third at 2:13.46.

Whitman won the women's 200-yard medley relay by just under two seconds to start the meet. Whitman's time was 2:00.39. Willamette took second place with a time of 2:02.28.

Swimming on the medley relay for the Bearcat women were Gwen Schulze (Sr., Silverdale, WA/Central Kitsap HS/Austin College), Janelle Higashida (So., Kaneohe, HI/Hawaii Baptist Academy), Kara Koetje (Arlington, WA/Stanwood HS) and Ballinger.

Whitman won the 50-yard freestyle races. Jenne took first place in the women's 50 with a time of 26.42 seconds. Mitchell Lee placed first in the men's 50 in 22.99 seconds.

Charlotte Graham of Whitman won the women's 100-yard butterfly in 1:01.70, but the Bearcats followed in second, third and fourth. Schulze was second after clocking in at 1:03.44. Koetje placed third in 1:07.89 and Kayla Kosaki (Fr., Hilo, HI/Waiakea HS) was fourth at 1:08.54.

Willamette also placed second, third and fourth in the women's 400-yard individual medley. Koetje took second in 5:20.89, Hanna Connett (Jr., Pullman, WA/Pullman HS) was third in 5:21.96 and Kosaki was fourth in 5:26.28. Natalie Reilly won the race for the Missionaries, as she was timed at 5:09.70.

The Bearcats will swim at the WU Natatorium again next weekend, when they host NWC rival Linfield College on Saturday, Jan. 23. Action is slated to get underway at 1 p.m. (PST).

COMPLETE RESULTS
Women
Whitman College 146
Willamette University 50

Men
Whitman College 60
Willamette University 20
Lauren Ballinger of Willamette took second place in the 100 free by 0.01 seconds and in the 200 free by 0.27 seconds.

Lauren Ballinger of Willamette took second place in the 100 free by 0.01 seconds and in the 200 free by 0.27 seconds.