SPOKANE, Wash. – The Northwest Conference standings will shake out quite a bit this weekend when the top four teams in the league meet in Tacoma, Washington. Whitworth will compete at Puget Sound on Friday and at Pacific Lutheran on Saturday, while Whitman swims against the same two schools in reverse order.
Seven of the eight teams come into the weekend with 4-0 dual meet records in the NWC. Only Puget Sound's women (3-1) do not have a perfect conference mark.
The stakes are high for the Pirates and their NWC dual meet winning streaks. The Whitworth men head into the weekend having won 88 NWC dual meets in a row. The Pirate women have won 41 straight conference meets.
The Pirates: Whitworth is coming off of a pair of non-conference dual meet losses at NCAA Division I Seattle University last Saturday. Both the Pirate men and women are 4-1 overall and 4-0 in the NWC. That meet came on the heels of ten days of winter training, so times were not expected to be quite as fast.
But Whitworth is now heading into the taper phase of the season, so head coach Steve Schadt expects to see some times beginning to drop over the next two weeks of the regular season.
Junior Kate Duvall and sophomore Alisa Stang both rank atop the NWC event lists this season. Duvall has the NWC's best times in the 500-yard freestyle and 200-yard backstroke. Stang leads the conference in both the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle. Nicole Lecoq was one of the Pirates' individual winners last week at Seattle, sprinting to first place in the 100-yard backstroke.
On the men's side, Andrew Sumnicht has posted the NWC's best times in the 200-yard individual medley and 400-yard I.M. this season. Brandon Smith just put up the league's best time in the 1,000-yard freestyle after winning the event at Seattle. Mitchell Beck is ranked highly in both the 200 and 500 freestyles, along with Aaron Vaccaro in sprint freestyle, butterfly and backstroke races.
The Meets: The dual against Puget Sound will be a "long" order, 11-event format. That means that the teams will swim the 200 distances of each stroke and the 400 distances in the relays. Because the Loggers' pool is a 25-meter course, rather than yards, the distance freestyle events will be at 400-meter and 800-meter lengths. The meet will begin at 6:00 pm on Friday.
Puget Sound's men are 5-2 overall and 4-0 in the NWC. Junior Derek Frenzel has the league's fastest times in the 500 and 1,650 freestyles, while junior Teal Kitson has the conference's top times in both backstroke distances. Senior Aleksander Jeremikj tops the list in the 200 freestyle.
The Logger women are 4-4 overall and 3-1 in NWC dual meets. Senior Tracy Wormwood has dominated the breaststroke events in the conference over her career and continues to lead the NWC this season. Sophomore Melissa Norrish has the league's best times in four events: 200 free, 200 I.M., 100 fly and 200 fly.
The dual against Pacific Lutheran will be a "short" order, 11-event format. Swimmers will race in the 100-yard distances of each stroke, and 200-yard distances in the relays. However the teams will swim the 1,650 for the distance freestyle event. The dual will get underway at 1:00 pm on Saturday.
The Pacific Lutheran men are 4-1 overall and 4-0 in the NWC. Senior Chase Mesford is the veteran leader of the team and his times rank highly in the middle distance freestyle races. Freshman Brian Ruggles is listed among the NWC leaders in the sprint freestyles and breaststroke.
The Lute women are 4-0 overall and 4-0 in the conference. Toni Castillo is one of the NWC's top sprinters (freestyle and butterfly) while freshman Hannah Armstrong is listed highly in the distance freestyle races.