Whitworth Sweeps Double Dual to Extend NWC Winning Streaks

Rory Buck broke his own Whitworth pool record in the 100 Breaststroke (photo by Jeff Ferguson)
Rory Buck broke his own Whitworth pool record in the 100 Breaststroke (photo by Jeff Ferguson)

SPOKANE, Wash. – A double-dual match up of the top three swimming teams in the Northwest Conference lived up to pre-meet billing with three pool records broken and a pair of men who won three individual events each on Saturday afternoon at the Whitworth Aquatic Center.

In the end the Whitworth men and women kept alive their long NWC dual meet winning streaks with victories over Puget Sound and Whitman.  The Pirate men (6-0) won their 84th conference dual meet in a row, while the women (6-0) won their 41st straight NWC dual meet.  The Whitman men (5-1) and women (5-1) both defeated Puget Sound (men 4-3, women 5-2) as well.

The men's dual meet scores were:
Whitworth 69, Whitman 53
Whitworth 82, Puget Sound 40
Whitman 76, Puget Sound 45

The women's dual meet scores were:
Whitworth 77, Whitman 45
Whitworth 83, Puget Sound 39
Whitman 68, Puget Sound 54

Pirate senior Rory Buck broke his own Whitworth Aquatic Center records in the 100-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard breaststroke in the final dual meet of his storied career.  His time of 55.48 shattered his previous mark of 56.71 set last season.  He then broke a second Aquatic Center record when his winning time of 2:01.20 in the 200-yard breaststroke came in just under his previous mark of 2:02.14.  By the time he was done on Saturday, Buck had broken a pool record seven times in his four-year career.

Whitman's Karl Mering also had an impressive record-setting performance in the 100-yard butterfly.  His winning time of 50.33 knocked off the previous pool record of 50.43 that was set by Per Eriksson of Drury College during the 1986 NAIA Championships.  Mering also won the 200-yard butterfly in 1:54.19.

The Whitworth men won seven of the 14 events in the meet, led by freshman Wesley Walton's three individual victories.  He swept the backstroke races, winning the 100-yard distance in 53.71 and the 200-yard race in 1:55.63.  He closed the meet with a win in the 200-yard individual medley (1:58.99).

Whitman's Galen Sollom-Brotherton matched Walton's performance with three individual wins.  He earned back-to-back wins in the 1,650-yard free (16:33.31) and the 200-yard freestyle (1:44.12).  He then improved his own school record by four tenths of a second while winning the 500-yard freestyle in 4:41.53.

Aaron Vaccaro won the 50-yard free (22.08) for Whitworth while Adam Ganz gave Puget Sound its only win in the men's meet with a victory in the 100-yard freestyle (48.96).

Whitworth, led by Walton, Buck, and Nathan Ranno, won the 200-yard medley relay to open the meet in 1:35.70.  Whitman closed the meet with a win in the 200-yard free relay with a time of 1:26.95.  Mering and Sollom-Brotherton were joined by Mitchell Lee and Shunei Asao.

Like the Whitworth men, the Pirate women won seven of the 14 events on Saturday. 

Whitworth won both relays.  Kate Duvall, Melissa Barringer, Samantha Smith and Marit Borth won the 200 medley relay (1:51.73), then Barringer, Jennifer Benson, Nicole Lecoq and Alisa Stang won the 200 Free relay (1:40.34) to close the meet.

Pavelko led Whitworth with a pair of individual victories as well.  She won the 1,650 free (18:12.06) and the 500 free (5:20.49). 

Stang, Smith and Duvall all one once for the Pirates.  Stang took the 200 free in 1:58.44, Duvall won the 200 back in 2:11.10 and Smith closed the meet with a win in the 200 I.M. (2:16.26).

Helen Jenne led the Whitman women with a pair of individual victories.  She claimed both freestyle sprints, winning the 50 in 25.15 and the 100 in 55.51.  Genay Pilarowski came from behind to win the 100 breaststroke (1:08.24) for the Missionaries.

Puget Sound got four individual women's victories on Saturday, led by Melissa Norrish who won both butterfly events.  Norrish won the 200 fly in 2:13.00 and took the 100 in 1:00.19.

Mackenzie Kitson won the 100 back in 1:00.40 and Tracy Wormwood took the 200 breaststroke in 2:29.54 for the Loggers.

All of the Northwest Conference will gather in Federal Way, Washington for the NWC Championships on February 10-12.  The Whitworth men are aiming for a tenth straight NWC title, while the Pirate women are hoping for their third straight championship.