Women's Swimming Sweeps Double Dual, Men's Team Falls to College of Idaho

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

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University women's swimming team swept a double dual with Mills College and College of Idaho on Friday, Dec. 2 at the WU Natatorium. The Bearcat men's swimming team lost to College of Idaho during the meet. In the women's competition, WU defeated Mills, 62-32, and downed College of Idaho, 63-29. In the men's competition, College of Idaho outscored the Bearcats, 111-74.

In addition, Mills College earned a 60-34 win over College of Idaho in the women's portion of the meet.

The Bearcat women's team improved to 2-2 on the season. The Willamette men's squad fell to 0-3 on the season.

Willamette's women piled up wins in 9 of 11 events, including both relays.  Two Bearcats -- Hope Nelson (Fr., Providence, RI/South Kingstown HS) and Kersey Bars (Fr., Springfield, OR/Springfield HS) -- each won two individual events.

Nelson prevailed in the 1,000-yard freestyle with a time of 11:52.32. She won the 100-yard freestyle in 57.86 seconds.

Bars took first place in the 200-yard freestyle in 2:16.07 and edged out teammate Laura Coddington (Jr., Seaside, OR/Seaside HS) for first place in the 100-yard backstroke at 1:11.55. Coddington finished second in 1:11.90, while Olivia Rasquiza of Mills took third place for the Cyclones just 0.17 later at 1:12.07.

"The women had a very strong showing today," Willamette Head Coach Leslie Shevlin said. "With nine wins overall, it was a very successful meet for us. Kersey Bars had her best meet of the year by winning both her individual events."

Other individual winners for the WU women's team were Summer Elias (Fr., Elko, NV/Elko HS), Kayla Kosaki (Jr., Hilo, HI/Waiakea HS) and Erin Parkinson (So., Everson, WA/Ferndale HS). Elias won the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 27.95 seconds. Kosaki won by well over seven seconds in the 100-yard butterfly, as she completed the race in 1:06.12.

Parkinson finished first in the 100-yard breaststroke at 1:14.41. She touched the pad just 0.39 before Selena Warburton from the College of Idaho, who placed second in 1:14.80.

Chrissie Younggren won two individual events for the College of Idaho. She earned first place for the Lady Yotes in the 400-yard individual medley by clocking in with a time of 5:05.36. She finished first in the 500-yard freestyle in 5:42.70, claiming the win by 2.22 seconds over Parkinson of WU, who was timed at 5:44.92.

In the opening event of the meet, Willamette won the women's 200-yard medley relay in 2:05.08. Swimming for WU during the race were Coddington, Parkinson, Kosaki and Elias. In the final women's event of the evening, the 200-yard freestyle relay, Willamette registerd a winning time of 1:50.43. Nelson, Bars, Elias and Kosaki swam the legs of the relay.

Willamette won one relay and three individual events in the men's dual between the Bearcats and the College of Idaho Coyotes.

The relay victory was achieved in the 200-yard medley event. Sean Piper (Fr., Normandy Park, WA/John F. Kennedy HS) swam the first leg and was followed by Chris Whitehead (So., Sherwood, OR/Sherwood HS), Ian McGahan (Jr., Tacoma, WA/Stadium HS) and Aran Johnson (Fr., Seattle, WA/Garfield School). WU's winning time was 1:50.17.

Johnson took first place in the 50-yard freestyle. His time of 24.81 seconds was 0.61 faster than Justus Jekins from C of I, who placed second in 25.42 seconds.

Piper added a triumph for the Bearcats in the 400-yard individual medley, as he completed the race in 4:32.70, a solid 4.34 second below his seed time.

Willamette's final win of the night was recorded by Zander Le Bel (Fr., Dallas, TX/Richardson HS) in the 500-yard freestyle. Le Bell achieved a time of 5:24.00.

"The men had a great win in the 200-yard medley relay," Shevlin said. "Sean Piper and Marshall Balderston both had standout swims personally and for the team."

College of Idaho swimmers Jeremy Erbsen and Casey Walker each won two individual events.

Ebsen earned first place in the 200-yard freestyle at 1:55.58, while Marshall Balderston (Fr., Eugene, OR/Marist Catholic HS) of WU was second at 1:56.31. Ebsen also won the 100-yard backstroke in 56.48 seconds. Piper was second for Willamette at 57.20 seconds.

Walker took first in the 100-yard freestyle in 51.59 seconds. He added a victory in the 100-yard breaststroke, finishing at 1:05.43 for the Coyotes.

It was the final meet of the fall semester for the WU swimming teams. Willamette's next action will be against Soka University in Aliso Viejo, Calif., on Jan. 7 during the Bearcats' winter training trip.


College of Idaho 111
Willamette University 74

Willamette University 62
Mills College 32

Willamette University 63
College of Idaho 29

Mills College 60
College of Idaho 34

Kelsey Bars of Willamette won the 200-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke.

Kelsey Bars of Willamette won the 200-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke.