Big Fish in NWC Pond: Whit Duo Reel in Weekly Swim Honors

News Release Date:
Tuesday, December 6, 2011


WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Whitman College swimmers Katie Chapman and Karl Mering are this week's big fish in the Northwest Conference pond.

Based on their performances last weekend at the 63rd annual Husky Invitational in Federal Way, Wash., Chapman and Mering reeled in the latest NWC Student Athlete of the Week awards for women's and men's swimming.

Mering, a freshman, had a weekend to remember, making the championships finals (top eight) in three events, placing fourth, fifth and eighth while clocking provisional qualifying times for the NCAA Division III national championships in all three events.

He also broke long-standing Whitman school records in all three cases.

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Katie Chapman

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Karl Mering

Chapman, a junior and the top women's swimmer at last year's Northwest Conference Championships, made her best weekend showing in the 200-yard butterfly, placing fourth.

She advanced to the evening finals in that event by posting the seventh-best time in the morning preliminaries. She knocked more than five seconds off her prelim time in placing fourth in the finals in 2:08.43.

Chapman missed the Whitman school record by seven-tenths of a second but still slipped under the provisional qualifying standard for the national championships.

Chapman also made the evening finals of the 100-yard butterfly, placing 30th among 115 swimmers in the morning preliminaries. She finished 26th in the finals, dropping her time to 58.50, missing her school record by about one second.

Mering's best race of the weekend came in the Sunday preliminaries of the 200-yard butterfly, when he advanced to the finals with the morning's best time (1:52.18) among 78 competitors.

That time carved nearly two full seconds off the Whitman school record set in 1993 by Gary Ames, and it gave Mering his third straight provisional qualifying time for the national championships.


With his energy levels dropping a bit at the end of a long three days in the pool, Mering wasn't able to match his morning time in the evening finals of the 200 fly. He swam a 1:52.35, placing fifth overall.

Mering broke Whitman's "oldest" school record in the Saturday morning prelims of the 100-yard butterfly. He was clocked in 50.23, clipping more than a second off the record (51.33) set in 1992 by Ames.

Mering then returned to the pool for the evening finals, placing fourth while dropping his new record to 49.70.

He started his big weekend in Friday's preliminaries of the 50-yard freestyle, making the championship finals with a time of 20.93, shaving nearly one-half second off the school record set by Tucker Jackson in 1999.

Mering finished eighth in the finals in 21.18.

Both Chapman and Mering swam in several relay events during the invitational, which attracted swimmers from more than two dozen college, universities and club teams.

Although Whitman did not have its full roster of relay swimmers on hand for the meet, the Whitman men placed as high as 17th (36 entries) in the 400-yard medley relay. Mering joined senior Matt Liedtke, junior Paul Chang and freshman Kevin O'Leary for a time of 3:38.63, which left them less than three-tenths of a second out of the 15th spot.

The Whitman women placed as high as 22nd (49 entries) in the 200-yard medley relay. Chapman teamed with juniors Helen Jenne and Genay Pilarowski and sophomore Keller Hawkins for a time of 1:52.31, which was just 1.1 seconds out of the 17th spot.


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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902;