Whit Swimmers Fall Few Spots Short of Evening Finals

News Release Date:
Thursday, March 22

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Karl Mering and Galen Sollom-Brotheron, the two Whitman College swimmers taking part in the NCAA Division III national championships, both fell a few places short Thursday morning of advancing to tonight's finals.

Karl Mering

Competing at Indiana's Indianapolist Natatorium, Mering placed 20th and Sollom-Brotherton was 21st in the morning preliminaries of their individual events. Only the top 16 finishers in the prelims advance to the evening championship and consolation finals.

Mering, a freshman, swam his 100-yard butterfly preliminary heat in 50.10, finishing little more than one second out of the 16th and last qualifying spot.

"Karl had a tough time on one of his turns, which just happens at times," Whitman coach Jenn Blomme said. "Other than that, he had a very strong swim. His time was just four-tenths of a second off his best-ever time."

Sollom-Brotherton, a junior, was clocked in 4:06.77 in the 400-yard individual medley. That was just 1.2 seconds out of 18th place but 4.4 seconds out of the final qualifying spot.

"Nationals is a tough meet, and there are a lot of challenges we face coming to this meet," Blomme said. "It's not just the two tapers in six weeks and changing time zones. Without making excuses, I think our guys are also realizing how challenging it is to compete so far away from their teammates.

"It's easy to underestimate the team aspect of our individual sport. It really does help swimmers go faster when they have 40 raucous teammates cheering for them on the side of the pool. This meet is a reminder that one swimmer's accomplishment is in many ways the product of a team's communal work ethic.


"For now, our job at this meet is to swim our hearts out knowing that our teammates are just as raucous, albeit from a Facebook page or while watching the results live on web."

Both Whitman swimmers have one more individual event to swim.

Mering swims in Friday morning's preliminaries of the 200-yard butterfly. "Karl has been doing great stroke work the last few weeks, and we are looking forward to that one," Blomme said.

Sollom-Brotherton is off Friday before swimming Saturday in the top heat of the 1,650-yard freestyle.

"Galen's freestyle leg at the end of today's individual medley looked very strong, and the mile freestyle has been our primary focus for Galen this season. That event Saturday should be a lot of fun."

Sollom-Brotherton and Mering are the first members of the Whitman men's team to qualify for the national championships. Sollom-Brotherton placed 10th in Wednesday's finals of the 500-yard freestyle.

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