Piper is 6th in 200 Back, Parkinson Takes 6th in 1,650 Freestyle, at NWC Meet

Le Bel Finishes 9th in 1,650 Free

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

FEDERAL WAY, WASH. -- A pair of sixth place finishes in individual events highlighted Willamette University's efforts on the third and final day of the 2012 Northwest Conference Swimming Championships at the King County Aquatic center.

Sean Piper (Fr., Normandy Park, WA/John F. Kennedy HS) placed sixth in the men's 200-yard backstroke and Erin Parkinson (So., Everson, WA/Ferndale HS) took sixth place in the 1,650-yard freestyle during the last session of the meet on Sunday, Feb. 12.

Piper's time in the finals of the 200-yard backstroke was 1:57.93. He recorded his top time of the season in the prelims at 1:56.82. His best time prior to Sunday was 2:02.40.

It was a solid race for Piper, who held fourth throughout much of the race and barely missed fifth place at the final touch pad. Joseph Parker of Pacific Lutheran University achieved fifth in 1:57.77, a slim 0.16 ahead of Piper. First place in the men's 200 backstroke went to Wesley Walton of Whitworth University in 1:50.98 -- a new meet record.

Parkinson (So., Everson, WA/Ferndale HS) completed the 1,650-yard freestyle in 18:25.89. It was her top time of the season by 42.88 seconds. The women's 1,650 was won by Amanda Clark of Pacific University in 17:16.72. Parkinson also placed 13th in the women's 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:33.74 in the consolation final. She registered her best time of the year in the prelims at 2:31.67.

Other top performances for Willamette on Sunday:

Zander Le Bel (Fr., Dallas, TX/Richardson HS) finished ninth in the men's 1,650-yard freestyle in 17:26.26. It was his top time of the season by 31.85 seconds.

Kayla Kosaki (Jr., Hilo, HI/Waiakea HS) earned 15th place in the women's 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:29.53 in the consolation final.

Chris Whitehead (So., Sherwood, OR/Sherwood HS) placed 12th during the preliminaries of the men's 200-yard breaststroke. He recorded a time of 2:26.53 in the prelims, but did not register a time in the consolation final and finished 16th overall.

Three Bearcats finished 17th, 18th and 19th in the women's 200-yard backstroke. Kersey Bars (Fr., Springfield, OR/Springfield HS) was 17th with a time of 2:25.04. She missed the qualifying for the consolation finals by just under a second (0.93). Ann Hues (Fr., Boise, ID/Timberline HS) completed the race in 2:25.21, as she finished just 0.17 after Bars. Laura Coddington (Sr., Seaside, OR/Seaside HS) was 19th in 2:26.50.

Aaron Johnson (Fr., Seattle, WA/Garfield HS) placed 19th and Marshall Balderston (Fr., Eugene, OR/Marist Catholic HS) placed 20th in the men's 100-yard freestyle. Johnson reached the finish in 51.36 seconds, while Balderston completed the race in 51.60 seconds. Both swimmers registered new top times for the season.

The Willamette men's 400-yard freestyle relay team held off Lewis & Clark College to take seventh place in 3:22.60, as the Bearcats cut 5.22 seconds from their previous best time. Willamette was 1.27 seconds out of sixth place. Lewis & Clark finished just 0.10 later than Willamette at 3:22.70.

University of Puget Sound won the women's team title with 623 points, edging out Whitworth University, which had 606 points. Whitman College was third with 506 points, while Pacific was fourth with 375. Pacific Lutheran was fifth at 327, with Lewis & Clark in sixth at 303, Linfield College in seventh at 206 and Willamette in eighth with 150 points.

Whitworth won the men's team title with 796 points to claim the title by 224 points over Whitman in second at 572. Pacific Lutheran claimed third place with 500 points, Puget Sound was fourth with 480, Pacific was fifth with 255 and Linfield was sixth with 231. The Bearcats finished seventh with 163 points, 10 points in front of Lewis & Clark, which took eighth with 153.

2012 NWC Swimming Championships
At King County Aquatic Center
Federal Way, Wash.
Feb. 10-12
Sean Piper earned sixth place in the men's 200-yard backstroke at the NWC Championships.

Sean Piper earned sixth place in the men's 200-yard backstroke at the NWC Championships.

Erin Parkins took sixth in the women's 1,650-yard freestyle and was 13th in the 200-yard breaststroke.

Erin Parkins took sixth in the women's 1,650-yard freestyle and was 13th in the 200-yard breaststroke.