Bearcats Complete Day 1 of NWC Swimming Championships

By Sara Brooks, Assistant Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6219

FEDERAL WAY, WASH. -- Willamette University concluded action at the first day of the Northwest Conference Swimming Championships on Friday, Feb. 12. The Whitworth men, aiming for an eighth consecutive NWC title, hold a 226-180 lead over second-place the University of Puget Sound. The Whitworth women are currently 36 points in front of the University of Puget Sound, 236-200.

Willamette's 400-yard medley relay swam to a 4th place finish. Gwen Schulze (Sr., Silverdale, WA/Central Kitsap HS/Austin College), Hanna Connett (Jr., Pullman, WA/Pullman HS), Kara Koetje (So., Arlington, WA/Stanwood HS) and Lauren Ballinger (Fr., Wenatchee, WA/Wenatchee HS) combined to swim a 4:12.83. UPS won the event with a time of 3:59.64.

The Bearcats' second relay team competed in the 200-yard freestyle relay and finished in 6th place. Connett, Koetje, Ballinger and Kayla Kosaki (Hilo, HI/Waiakea HS) finished the race with a time of 1:44.66. Whitworth won the race with a time of 1:38.28.

In the individual races, Schulze won the Consolation Final in the 200-yard individual medley. Schulze swam a 2:16.82 to take ninth place overall in the event. Allison Clark, a freshman from Pacific University, swam to a first place finish in the Championship Final with a time of 2:11.91.

Ballinger finished the 50-yard freestyle in 25.64 seconds to take second in the Consolation Final. Ballinger's time earned her a 10th place finish overall in the event. Ashley Lecoq (Whitworth) won the 50-yard free with a time of 24.36 seconds.

Jenna Larrow (Sr., Boise, ID/Timberline HS) of Willamette completed the 500-yard freestyle in 5:32.19 during the Consolation Finals. Larrow's time earned her a 16th place finish in the event. Natalie Turner, a Whitworth swimmer, won the event and set an NWC All-Time record with a time of 4:55.97.

The women’s team scores after the first night: Whitworth 236, Puget Sound 200, Lewis & Clark 107, Whitman 101, Pacific (Ore.) 97, Linfield 74, Willamette 73, Pacific Lutheran 49.

The men’s team scores after the first day of competition: Whitworth 226, Puget Sound 180, Whitman 143, Linfield 113, Lewis & Clark 90, Pacific Lutheran 77, Pacific (Ore.) 63, Willamette 0.

Willamette will continue to compete in the NWC Championships on Saturday, Feb. 13 and Sunday, Feb. 14 in Federal Way, Wash.

NWC Swimming Championships
King Country Aquatic Center
Federal Way, Wash.
Feb. 12-14, 2010
Gwen Schulze finished ninth at the NWC Championships in the 200-yard individual medley.

Gwen Schulze finished ninth at the NWC Championships in the 200-yard individual medley.