11 in a Row for Pirate Men; Whitworth Women Roll to Win
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. – The Whitworth men's swimming team now stands alone. Setting a new standard for quality depth, the Pirates rolled to their 11th consecutive Northwest Conference title and now officially own the longest NWC championship streak in the history of the sport.
Led by 2013 Most-Outstanding Swimmer Kate Duvall, the Whitworth women joined their Pirate counterparts as NWC champions, claiming a nearly 200-point victory over defending champion Puget Sound once the final totals were counted on Sunday night.
Whitworth's men won their title despite the fact that the Pirates won only one of the 18 events held over the three-day competition. But the team advanced several swimmers into the championship finals of almost every event.
The opening men's event of the night was a perfect example. While Whitman's Gallen Sollom-Brotherton defended his title in the 1,650-yard freestyle with an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 15:47.53, the Pirates had three of the next five places. Brandon Smith took second in 16:07.67. Ben Gustafson was fourth (16:34.36) and Kevin Moore was sixth (16:51.43).
Puget Sound's Teale Kitson defended his title in the 200-yard backstroke with an NCAA qualifying time of 1:52.33. Jordan Fish took fourth place for the Bucs with a time of 1:56.11. Korey Kinney (1:57.45) was seventh and Jason Lemley (1:59.13) was eighth.
Whitman's Karl Mering broke the NWC meet record in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 45.46. Nathan Ranno finished eighth in 48.10 and Callum MacKintosh won the consolation final for ninth place (47.85).
Pacific's Michael Hargitt rallied over the final 50 yards to win the 200-yard breaststroke with an NCAA provisional time of 2:05.72. Trevor Case also rallied into a third-place finish for Whitworth with a time of 2:08.80. Kyle Wicks was eighth in 2:15.06. Andrew Sumnicht was victorious in the consolation final with a time of 2:13.02.
Derek Frenzel of UPS posted an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 1:49.95 to win the 200-yard butterfly. Wes Tatum broke a long-standing Whitworth school record in the event when he finished second with a time of 1:51.35. The old Pirate record of 1:52.54 was set by Ryan Freeman in 2001. Luke Welle (1:58.15) finished eighth in the event.
The Whitworth men's 400-yard freestyle relay closed the meet with a fourth-place finish. Aaron Vaccaro, MacKintosh, Sumnicht and Ranno posted a time of 3:09.61. Whitman won the event with a meet-record time of 3:06.10.
Whitworth had lost to Whitman three times earlier this season, including at a dual meet last month that ended the Pirates' 90-meet NWC dual winning streak. But Whitworth won when it mattered most, out-pointing the Missionaries by nearly 100 over the course of the championship. The final men's team scores were: Whitworth 724.5, Whitman 627.5, Pacific Lutheran 481, Puget Sound 454, Pacific (Ore.) 317, Linfield 210, Lewis & Clark 186, Willamette 183.
With 11 straight NWC men's titles, Whitworth surpasses Pacific Lutheran's streak of ten titles in a row from 1969-1978.
The Pirate women were dominant throughout the meet, winning 11 of the 18 events, including three of the six events on Sunday night.
Bridget Louis opened the night with a victory in the 1,650 freestyle by defeating defending champion Amanda Clark from Pacific. Louis won with an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 17:33.13, seven seconds ahead of Clark. Abby Pavelko was sixth in 18:10.83.
Duvall followed with her third consecutive victory in the 200 backstroke. Her time of 2:04.35 was an NCAA provisional time and it also gave her three individual victories in the meet which was enough to garner the Outstanding Swimmer award. Nicole Lecoq finished fourth in 2:08.35 and Anna Case was sixth in 2:13.33.
Tracy Wormwood of Puget Sound won the 200 breaststroke with an NCAA provisional time of 2:19.42. Hannah Norris finished sixth in 2:24.19.
Melissa Norrish gave UPS two consecutive victories when she won the 200 butterfly in 2:09.40, just ahead of Whitworth's Heather Spall (2:09.99) and Kori Carpenter (2:10.02) in second and third, respectively.
The Pirates closed the meet with a victory in the 400 freestyle relay. Carpenter, Lecoq, Norris and Stang won it with a time of 3:34.01.
Whitworth returned to the top of the team standings, a position the Pirates held in 2010 and 2011. It is the fifth women's conference title in school history. The final women's team scores were: Whitworth 651, Puget Sound 457, Whitman 453, Pacific Lutheran 431.5, Pacific (Ore.) 384.5, Lewis & Clark 335, Linfield 307, Willamette 165.
The final announcement of the field for the 2013 NCAA Division III Championships will be made early next month.