Whitworth Teams Win at Northwest Invitational

Wes Walton won the 200 I.M. and led off the winning 400 medley relay.

McMINNVILLE, Ore. -- Aaron Vaccaro won three individual events for the Whitworth men's swimming team and the Pirate women swept all five relay events as both teams finished first at the Northwest Invitational on Friday and Saturday at Linfield College.

Vaccaro won the 50-yard freestyle on Friday night with a time of 21.74. On Saturday morning he won the 100-yard butterfly in 50.30 and the 100-yard backstroke in 53.64. By winning the maximum of three individual events, he tied for the individual high-point honors with Galen Sollom-Brotherton of Whitman who won the 500-yard and 1,650-yard freestyles and the 400-yard individual medley.

Rory Buck and Wesley Walton both won two individual events apiece for the Whitworth men.

To no one's surprise Buck won the 100-yard breastroke (56.21) and 200-yard breaststroke (2:03.80). He is the defending NCAA Division III champion in both events. Buck's only non-win was in the 50 free when he was touched out by Vaccaro.

Walton, a freshman, won the 200-yard I.M. on Friday night in 2:00.58. On Saturday night he won the 200-yard backstroke (1:57.36).

Whitworth's men won three relays. On Friday night the Pirates won the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:28.30 and the 400-yard medley relay in 3:31.62. On Saturday morning they won the 200-yard medley relay in 1:37.35. Buck and Vaccaro were on all three relays, while Walton was on both medley relays.

The final men's team scores were: Whitworth 846.5, Pacific Lutheran 614, Whitman 539.5, Pacific (Ore.) 324.5, Linfield 285, Coll. of Idaho 269.5, Willamette 193.

Whitworth's depth on the women's side was evidenced by wins in all five relay events.

The Pirates won the 200 free relay (1:41.40) and 400 medley relay (4:04.40) on Friday night. On Saturday morning the Bucs won the 200 medley relay (1:51.63) and the 800-yard free relay (8:03.27). Whitworth closed the meet with a win in the 400-yard freestyle relay (3:40.91).

Jennifer Benson was on four of the winning relays and also won two individual events. The only relay she didn't swim was the 400 medley. She raced to victory in the 100-yard backstroke in 1:00.49 then won the 100-yard freestyle on Saturday night in 54.16.

Samantha Smith won the 200 I.M. on Friday night with a time of 2:14.40. Katherine Duvall posted a 2:13.23 to win the 200 backstroke, an event in which she holds the Northwest Conference record.

The final women's team scores were: Whitworth 687.5, Pacific Lutheran 607, Whitman 496, Pacific (Ore.) 493.5, Linfield 380, Willamette 200, Coll. of Idaho 193.

Whitworth will not compete over the Thanksgiving weekend and will return to racing the first weekend in December at the Husky Invitational in Federal Way, Wash.