Whitman men swim to historic win over Whitworth

Monday, Nov 19, 2012

Download a PDF of swim team results HERE.

WALLA WALLA — The Whitman College men swam to a first-place finish and the women placed second Saturday at the Paul Harvey Pool as the Missionaries hosted the Northwest Invitational swim meet.

Northwest Conference rivals Whitworth University and Pacific University joined Whitman in the one-day meet along with the College of Idaho.

Men’s team scores saw Whitman total 210 points, followed by Whitworth 182, Pacific 113 and College of Idaho 56.

On the women’s side, Whitworth won the team championship with 189 points. The Missionaries were second with 158, followed by Pacific at 140 and College of Idaho 81.

“This was an historic day for Whitman swimming,” Whitman coach Jennifer Blomme said, noting that it was her men’s team’s first victory over perennial NWC power Whitworth. “We are so proud of the way we swam Saturday.”

The Whitman men won all but two events, Blomme noted.

Galen Sollom-Brotherton, Karl Mering led the way with three individual victories each plus legs on Whitman’s winning 800 freestyle relay team.

Sollom-Brotherton posted a winning time of 16 minutes, 42.57 seconds in the 1,650 freestyle, placed first in the 100 freestyle in 47.79 and was the winner in the 500 freestyle in 4:44.84. Mering’s victories came in the 200 freestyle in 1:44.47, the 200 butterfly in 1:57.03 and the 100 butterfly in 50.83.

Sollom-Brotherton swam the first leg and Mering the anchor leg on Whitman’s victorious 800 freestyle relay team. They were joined by Kevin Dyer and Kevin O’Leary in a winning time of 7:09.89.

Paul Chang notched three individual victories for Whitman and Nic Win won twice.

Chang clocked 59.53 seconds for first in the 100 breaststroke, was caught in 22.23 seconds to win the 50 freestyle and won the 200 breaststroke in 2:12.93. Win’s victories came in the 200 individual medley in 2:01.73 and in the 200 backstroke in 2:00.99.

Whitman’s Will Erickson was second in the 200 back in 2:02.47.

“In addition to being focused on winning races, these are also legitimately great times for mid-November,” Blomme said. “We have been working hard in the weight room and in the pool, and the last few weeks have been really taxing on our students academically.

“Given all of that, I would actually expect to have seen even more fatigue in our racing than I did.”

Three Whitman women finished first on the day.

Cameo Hlebasko claimed the 100 backstroke in 1:01.47, Genay Pilarowski captured the 100 backstroke in 1:07.25 and Claire Collins won the 200 breaststroke in 2:27.57. Collins placed second behind Pilarowski in the 100 backstroke, Pilarowski was second behind Collins in the 200 breast and Hlebasko swam second in 200 backstroke.

Whitman also got seconds from Ashley Jay in the 200 backstroke and Elsie Tinseth in the 200 individual medley as well as a pair of relay teams. The quartet of Jay, Collins, Libby Arnosti and Charlotte Graham finished second in the 800 freestyle relay, and Hlebasko, Pilarowski, Mel Notari and Helen Jenne were second in the 200 medley relay.

“We had some awesome swims and were really pleased with that second-place finish,” Blomme said of her women’s team’s effort. “Managing to stay ahead of Pacific, after that close win we had over them last week in their pool, was really important to us.

“We were struggling through a lot of illness, so kudos to everyone on the team for pushing through that and supporting each other on a day when we knew we were not at our best.”

Whitman is now off until after the Thanksgiving holiday.

“Everyone’s headed home for Thanksgiving,” Blomme said. “Our next competition is at the Husky Invitational in Federal Way.”

That meet is scheduled for Nov. 30 through Dec. 2.