Whitworth Men Win 10th Straight NWC Swim Title

The Whitworth men claimed their tenth straight NWC championship.
The Whitworth men claimed their tenth straight NWC championship.

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. – Wes Walton and Rory Buck each won events and Whitworth placed four swimmers into the finals of the 100-yard freestyle as the Pirate men rolled to their tenth straight Northwest Conference swimming championship on Sunday – the final day of competition at the King County Aquatic Center.

Kate Duvall broke a record while winning the 200-yard backstroke, but Whitworth was edged by Puget Sound for the women's championship.

Walton won the 200 backstroke in 1:50.98, setting a new meet record in the process.  Anthony Fish finished eighth in 1:59.65.

Buck cruised to victory in the 200-yard breaststroke, an event in which he holds the NCAA Division III record.  His winning time was 2:02.55, well off of his NCAA record time of 1:57.79, but he did not rest or shave for this meet since he has already automatically qualified for the NCAA championships next month.

Aaron Vaccaro was runner-up in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 47.32, leading four Pirates in the championship final.  Nathan Ranno was sixth (48.08), Matthew Brody was seventh (48.41) and Callum McKintosh was eighth (48.60).  Whitman's Karl Mering won in 46.18.

Oliver Durand was also a runner-up, finishing second in the 1,650-yard freestyle with an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 16:15.75.  Whitman's Galen Sollom-Brotherton, who was the men's individual high-point scorer of the meet, won in an NWC-record time of 15:35.53.

Wes Tatum took third in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 1:54.96.  Derek Frenzel of UPS defended his title in the event with a meet record time of 1:50.08.

Whitworth closed the meet with a second place finish to Whitman in the 400-yard free relay.  The Missionaries set a meet record (3:06.60), while the Pirates came in at 3:08.39.

The final men's team scores were: Whitworth 796, Whitman 572, Pacific Lutheran 500, Puget Sound 480, Pacific 255, Linfield 231, Willamette 163, Lewis & Clark 153.

Whitworth's winning streak of 10 titles in a row is the longest in NWC men's swimming history.  But both UPS and PLU won 11 women's championships in a row.

The Pirate women could not quite hold off UPS on the final day of competition as the Loggers edged the Pirates 623-606 in one of the closest meets in conference history.

Duvall broke her own meet record while winning the 200 backstroke in 2:03.50.  Nicole Lecoq was fourth in 2:10.80. 

The Pirates closed the meet with a win in the 400 free relay.  Jennifer Benson, Anna Case, Duvall and Lecoq rallied over the final two legs to post a time of 3:35.20.

Benson and Alisa Stang tied for second in the 100 freestyle with a time of 53.00.  Katherine Porter of Pacific won in a meet record time of 52.06.

Abby Pavelko was runner up in the 1,650 freestyle with an NCAA provisional time of 17:34.83.  Amanda Clark, the women's individual high-point scorer of the meet, won in 17:16.72.

Melissa Barringer finished seventh in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:30.49.  Tracy Wormwood of UPS won with an NWC record time of 2:18.24.

The women's meet turned in the Loggers' favor in the 200 butterfly.  Whitworth did not have an entry in that event and UPS scored 52 points, led by winner Melissa Norrish (2:08.11).

The final women's team scores were: Puget Sound 623, Whitworth 606, Whitman 506, Pacific 375, Pacific Lutheran 327, Lewis & Clark 303, Linfield 206, Willamette 150.

The NWC men's Coach of the Year was Jenn Blomme of Whitman.  The NWC women's Coach of the Year was Alec Webster of Pacific.