Swimming | Saturday, February 15, 2014
Masei Finishes 4th in 100 Back, Guffey is 5th in 200 Free, at NWC Meet
WU Men are 5th in Team Standings after Two Days; Bearcat Women are 8th
FEDERAL WAY, WASH. -- Two Willamette University swimmers earned positions on the victory stand after placing in the top five of their respective events at the 2014 Northwest Conference Swimming Championships on Saturday, Feb. 15 at the King County Aquatic Center.
Alika Masei (Fr., Salem, OR/West Salem HS) took fourth place in the men's 100-yard backstroke with a time of 52.37 seconds. Alex Guffey (So., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS) placed fifth in the men's 200-yard freestyle, as he completed the final in 1:44.55.
Wesley Walton from Whitworth University won the men's 100 backstroke in a meet record and NCAA "B" qualifying time of 50.30 seconds. Sam Starr from Whitman College was second in 51.13 seconds, as he also recorded a NCAA "B" time.
In the 200-yard freestyle, Karl Mering of Whitman took first place. His time of 1:38.42 set a new NWC record. Derek Frenzel from the University of Puget Sound was second in 1:42.21.
Several Bearcats on the men's and women's teams competed in the consolation finals, also held on Saturday night.
Josh Baumgarner (Fr., Walla Walla, WA/Walla Walla HS) won the consolation final in the men's 400-yard individual medley in 4:23.40 to finish ninth overall. Also swimming for WU in the men's 400 I.M. were Dan Aki (Fr., Union City, CA/James Logan HS), who placed 13th overall at 4:29.42 and Zander Le Bel (Jr., Dallas, TX/Richardson HS) who was 15th overall in 4:36.99.
Aki and Andrew Lum (So., Honolulu, HI/Punahou School) represented Willamette in the men's 100-yard butterfly consolation final. Aki was third in the race and 11th overall -- two spots above his place in the prelims -- with a time of 53.70 seconds. Lum took 15th overall in 54.37 seconds.
Chris Whitehead (Sr., Sherwood, OR/Sherwood HS) swam in the men's 100-yard breaststroke consolation final. He moved up one spot from the prelims, placing 15th overall after he was timed at 1:02.93.
The Bearcats rallied from seventh place after 700 yards to place fifth in the men's 800-yard freestyle relay. WU was in sixth place -- 1.7 seconds behind Pacific University -- entering the final 50 yards, but finished in 7:53.53 to edge the Boxers by 0.21.
Swimming on Willamette's 800-yard free relay team were Le Bel on the first leg, Alex Burkhart (Jr., Los Gatos, CA/Los Gatos HS) on the second leg, Shelby Merrill (Fr., Thousand Oaks, CA/Westlake HS) on the third leg and Guffey as the anchor.
Bolstered by the performances of Masei and Guffey, the Willamette men held fifth place in the team standings with 179 points at the end of the second day of competition. The Bearcats were in front of all three of their Oregon rivals in the NWC. Whitworth was in first place with 501 points, with Puget Sound in second at 376.
Malia Santos (So., Kailua-Kona, HI/Kealakehe HS) competed for the WU women's team in the consolation final in the 100-yard butterfly. She placed 13th overall with a time of 1:00.72.
Hope Nelson (Jr., Providence, RI/South Kingstown HS) placed 11th in the women's 200-yard freestyle. She improved by five places over her 16th place result in the prelims. She was third in the consolation final in 1:59.98.
In the women's 100-yard breaststroke, Erin Parkinson (Sr., Everson, WA/Ferndale HS) of Willamette was 12th at 1:10.05. Michaela Zuber (So., Sacramento, CA/Sheldon HS) advanced one spot from her preliminary standing to place 15th overall in the women's 100-yard backstroke. Her time in the consolation final was 1:01.69.
Willamette is in eighth place in the women's team standings with 117 points. Whitworth led the women's competition with 430.5 points. Pacific Lutheran University was second at 411.
The NWC Championships will conclude on Sunday, Feb. 16 with the last set of preliminary heats and finals.