Linfield Edges WU Women, Defeats Bearcat Men, in Swimming

Parkinson Finishes First in Three Events, Piper Wins Twice

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University won seven women's events, but Linfield College split victories in the relays and earned more second and third place finishes, as the Wildcats edged the Bearcats, 106-95, in Northwest Conference swimming on Saturday, Jan. 28 at the WU Natatorium. Linfield also triumphed in the men's competition, winning 129-66.

Erin Parkinson (So., Everson, WA/Ferndale HS) of Willamette won three individual women's events, while Sean Piper (Fr., Normandy Park, WA/John F. Kennedy HS) won two events for the WU men's team.

Willamette's only senior, Laura Coddington (Seaside, OR/Seaside HS), was honored by the WU coaches and athletes prior to the match. Coddington also was the first Bearcat to compete in the pool on Saturday, as she swam the opening leg of the women's 400-yard freestyle relay.

Bearcat Women Win Seven Events

Parkinson took first place in the 1,000-yard freestyle, the 100-yard freestyle and the 200-yard breaststroke.

In the 1,000 freestyle, she registered a time of 11:22.55 to start a 1-2 finish for the Bearcats. Hope Nelson (Fr., Providence, RI/South Kingstown HS) of WU took second in 11:57.44. In the 100 freestyle, Parkinson completed the race in 57.59 seconds to win by more than a second over Victoria Nickerson of Linfield, who placed second in 58.74

Parkinson was first in a field of six swimmers in the 200 breaststroke, as she earned a time of 2:36.36. Nickerson took second place for Linfield in 2:37.21.

Also winning individual events for the Bearcat women's team were Nelson in the 500-yard freestyle, Lauren Ballinger (Jr., Wenatchee, WA/Wenatchee HS) in the 50-yard freestyle and Ann Hues (Fr., Boise, ID/Timberline HS) in the 200-yard backstroke.

Nelson prevailed in the 500 freestyle by nearly 10 seconds, winning in 5:47.66, while Devin Pritchard of Linfield took second place at 5:57.00. Ballinger sprinted to a close win in the 50 freestyle in 27.89 seconds, while Brandi Halemano placed second for the visiting Wildcats at 28.05 seconds. 

Hues led a 1-3-4 finish by the Bearcats in the 200-yard backstroke. She registered a winning time of 2:28.77. Catherine Nakamura of Linfield was second in 2:29.84, while Coddington was third in 2:30.13 and Kersey Bars (Fr., Springfield, OR/Springfield HS) was fourth in 2:31.77.

The WU women also achieved first place in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Nelson, Bars, Summer Elias (Fr., Elko, NV/Elko HS) and Ballinger competed in the relay and earned a time of 4:02.06. Linfield finished second in 4:15.06.

Linfield received two wins from Kelcie Kimura, who topped the 200-yard freestyle at 2:03.02 and finished first in the 200-yard individual medley at 2:26.85. Katie Main of Linfield won the 200-yard butterfly at 2:21.88.

Willamette's Piper Wins 200 I.M. and 200 Back

Piper led the Bearcat men's squad with his two individual triumphs. He placed first in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:05.20. He won by 1.25 seconds over Seth Ruwitch, who took second place for Linfield in 2:06.85. Piper was victorious by three seconds in the 200-yard backstroke, as he finished in 2:02.96, while Lee Rivers of the Wildcats was second at 2:05.96.

Chris Whitehead (So., Sherwood, OR/Sherwood HS) put on a strong final lap to edge past Chris Purdy of Linfield in the 200-yard breaststroke. Whitehead trailed by about 3/4 of a body length entering the final 25 yards, but touched out in 2:27.97 with Purdy registering a time of 2:28.15. Whitehead took second place in the 100-yard freestyle in 53.79 seconds.

Linfield won eight men's events, but gained a narrow victory in the opening 400-yard medley relay and achieved a narrow win in the 50-yard freestyle.

In the 400 medley relay, the Wildcats trailed after the first two legs, but a strong third leg by Alex Lyles gave Linfield a 2.43-second lead entering the final leg. Aran Johnson (Fr., Seattle, WA/Garfield HS) of WU removed 1.83 seconds from Linfield's lead, but the Wildcats held on in a time of 3:58.30. Willamette finished the race in 3:58.90.

Marc Pereira of Linfield won the 50-yard freestyle in 24.19 seconds, as he held off teammate Sean Iwamasa, who clocked in at 24.56 seconds, and Johnson of Willamette, who achieved a time of 24.59 seconds.

The Wildcats won five other men's events. Rivers was first in the 1,000-yard freestyle in 10:22.53 and Ian Coker won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:55.00. Iwamasa took first in the 100-yard freestyle (52.54 seconds), Miles Phillips was first in the 200-yard butterfly (2:07.90) and Ruwitch triumphed in the 500-yard freestyle (5:15.29).

Other Top Finishes for the Bearcats

Bars placed second behind Kimura in the women's 200 freestyle in 2:13.87. Kayla Kosaki (Jr., Hilo, HI/Waiakea HS) was second in the 200 butterfly with a time of 2:26.93.

Zander Le Bel (Fr., Dallas, TX/Richardson HS) took second place in the men's 1,000 freestyle at 11:01.88 and the 500 freestyle at 5:20.74. Marshall Balderston (Fr., Eugene, OR/Marist Catholic HS) was second in the 200 freestyle in 1:57.38, just 2.38 seconds behind Coker of Linfield. Ian McGahan (Jr., Tacoma, WA/Stadium HS) was second in the 200 butterfly in 2:25.93.

Dual Season Records

Linfield's women improved to 3-6 overall and 1-6 in the NWC. The Linfield men moved to 3-5, 2-5 in the NWC. The Bearcat women's team concluded its dual schedule at 2-7, 0-7 in the NWC. Willamette's men ended the dual season at 0-8, 0-7 in the NWC.


Linfield College 129
Willamette University 66

Linfield College 106
Willamette University 95

Erin Parkinson won three individual events. She took first in the 1,000 free, 100 free and 200 breaststroke.

Erin Parkinson won three individual events. She took first in the 1,000 free, 100 free and 200 breaststroke.

Sean Piper of Willamette won the men's 200 I.M. and the men's 200 backstroke.

Sean Piper of Willamette won the men's 200 I.M. and the men's 200 backstroke.