Guffey Finishes 5th in 100 Free, Masei is 6th in 200 Back, at NWC Championships

Shevlin Chosen as NWC Men's Swimming Coach of the Year

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

FEDERAL WAY, WASH. -- Alex Guffey (So., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS) of Willamette University placed fifth in the men's 100-yard freestyle and teammate Alika Masei (Fr., Salem, OR/West Salem HS) was sixth in the men's 200-yard backstroke on the final evening of the 2014 Northwest Conference Swimming Championships on Sunday, Feb. 16 at the King County Aquatic Center.

Willamette Head Coach Leslie Shevlin was chosen NWC Men's Swimming Coach of the Year after leading the Bearcats to fifth place in the team standings. The Willamette men's team finished higher than all three of its Oregon rivals in the NWC (Pacific, Lewis & Clark, Linfield).

Guffey earned a time of 47.53 seconds in the championship final of the 100 freestyle. He completed the race nearly one-half second in front of the sixth place finisher and was 0.34 out of fourth place. He improved on his time of 47.79 in the prelims. Sam Starr from Whitman College won the 100 free in 46.23 seconds.

Masei was timed at 1:55.99 in the 200 backstroke championship final. Earlier in the day, he set a Willamette record with a time of 1:53.82 in the prelims. Wesley Walton of Whitworth University, who broke the NWC record in the 200 backstroke during the prelims at 1:48.45, won the final race in 1:50.68.

In the men's 1,650-yard freestyle, Shelby Merrill (Fr., Thousand Oaks, CA/Westlake HS) placed ninth overall for the Bearcats with a time of 16:59.11, an impressive 1:17.49 below his previous season best. The 1,650 included multiple heats against time, rather than prelims and finals. Merrill won his heat earlier in the day.

Swimming in the consolation finals for the Willamette men's team on Sunday were Dan Aki (Fr., Union City, CA/James Logan HS) and Andrew Lum (So., Honolulu, HI/Punahou School) in the 200-yard butterfly, along with Chris Whitehead (Sr., Sherwood, OR/Sherwood HS) in the 200-yard breaststroke.

Aki registered a time of 1:59.36 in the consolation final of the 200 fly, as he achieved 11th place, one spot above his seeding after the prelims. Lum finished in 13th place with a time of 2:03.91, as he reduced his preliminary time by 0.36.

Whitehead swam 2:15.85 in the 200 breaststroke consolation final to earn 14th place. He cut 1.63 seconds from his time in the prelims of 2:17.48.

The Willamette men put together a solid fifth place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Swimming for the Bearcats were Zander Le Bel (Jr., Dallas, TX/Richardson HS), Masei, Merrill and Guffey. Their combined time was 3:15.41,  including splits of 49.03 by Masei on the second leg and 47.40 by by Guffey on the anchor leg.

Whitworth won the men's team title with 730 points, as the Pirates claimed a margin of victory of 170 points for their 12th consecutive title. Whitman was second at 560, with the University of Puget Sound in third at 535 and Pacific Lutheran University in fourth at 504.

Willamette was fifth with 259 points, Pacific University took sixth with 219 points, Lewis & Clark College was seventh at 186 and Linfield College finished eighth at 156.

Wes Walton from Whitworth and Karl Mering from Whitman each won three individual events. They were named co-winners of the NWC Men's Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet Award.

For the Willamette women's team, Malia Santos (So., Kailua-Kona, HI/Kealakehe HS) in the 200-yard butterfly, Michaela Zuber (So., Sacramento, CA/Sheldon HS) in the 200-yard backstroke, and Erin Parkinson (Sr., Everson, WA/Ferndale HS) in the 200-yard breaststroke all competed in the consolation finals on Sunday.

Also, Hope Nelson (So., Providence, RI/South Kingstown HS) took 11th place in the women's 1,650-yard freestyle. She achieved a time of 18:50.45 for the Bearcats while placing third in her heat earlier in the day. As with the men's 1,650, the women's standings included multiple heats against time without any finals.

Santos grabbed 10th place overall in the 200 butterfly by taking second place in the consolation final. Her time, which allowed her to move up four places from the prelims, was 2:19.29.

Zuber was 14th in the women's 200 backstroke. She swam the consolation final in 2:15.09. Parkinson was timed at 2:35.05 in the consolation final of the 200 breaststroke to earn 15th place overall.

Pacific Lutheran achieved the NWC women's team championship by just two points over Whitworth. The Lutes scored 618.5 points, while the Pirates concluded the meet with 616.5. It was the closest battle for the NWC women's title since Willamette edged out Linfield by one point in 1994.

This year, PLU and Whitworth were followed by Whitman in third place with 559 points. Pacific attained fourth place at 366.5, while Puget Sound was fifth at 348.5. Lewis & Clark followed in sixth at 300, with Linfield in seventh at 219 and Willamette eighth at 166.

Matt Sellman of Pacific Lutheran was chosen NWC Women's Coach of the Year. Melissa Norrish from Puget Sound, who won three individual titles, received the NWC Women's Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet Award.


2014 Northwest Conference
Swimming Championships
At Federal Way, Wash.
Feb. 14-16, 2014

3rd Day Finals
3rd Day Prelims

NWC Championship

Alex Guffey placed fifth in the men's 100-yard freestyle final with a time of 47.53 seconds.

Alex Guffey placed fifth in the men's 100-yard freestyle final with a time of 47.53 seconds.

Leslie Shevlin was selected as the Northwest Conference Men's Swimming Coach of the Year.

Leslie Shevlin was selected as the Northwest Conference Men's Swimming Coach of the Year.