NWC Championships Await Swimmers

News Release Date:
Tuesday, February 10, 2009

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- The Whitman College swim teams head to Federal Way, Wash., later this week for the 2009 Northwest Conference Championships at the King County Aquatic Center.

       Lauren Flynn
      Ysbrand Nusse

More than 200 athletes are expected for the eight-team meet, which gets underway Friday and continues through Sunday.

Morning preliminaries start each day at 10 a.m. The daily finals are set for 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday with the finals on Sunday ticketed for a 5 p.m. start.

Meet officials will provide live results for the events. Please click here for results as events take place.

Whitman swim fans can look to seniors Ysbrand Nusse and Noel Sollom-Brotherton to lead one of the strongest Missionary men's teams in recent memory.  On the women's side, sophomore Lauren Flynn and first-teammate Linnea Scott have emerged to a lead a young Whitman squad.

Prior to the meet, swimmers designate four individual events and then compete in three.

Sollom-Brotherton, who broke a 14-year-old school record last month in the 200-yard backstroke, is entered in both backstroke events and the 200-yard and 400-yard freestyle races. He has the NWC's third-best time in the 200-yard backstroke this season, and the fourth-best times among entries in his other three events.

       Linnea Scott
  Noel Sollom-Brotherton

Sollom-Brotherton's best showing to date at the NWC meet came in the 100-yard backstroke, where he placed fifth.

Nusse is one of three Whitman swimmers near the top of the NWC's season-best times in the 400-yard individual medley. Junior Eric Molnar won the conference title in that event last year as Nusse placed second for a third straight season. Whitman freshman Chris Bendix also has one of the NWC's best times in the 400 IM this season.

Nusse has left a notable wake in two other individual events in his three previous trips to the NWC meet. He finished third in the 200-yard backstroke last season, after finishing fourth in the two years prior to that. He has also placed fifth, eighth and ninth in the 500-yard freestyle at championship meets.

Molnar, who missed the fall semester while studying abroad, also has a strong track record at th NWC meet. In addition to placing first and third in the 400 IM, he has a pair of third-place finishes in the 200-yard butterfly and two seventh-place showings in the 200 IM. 

       Jamie Nusse
         Eric Molnar

Other designated events for Bendix include the 1,650-yard freestyle, where he has the NWC's fourth-best time this season.

Other key swimmers for the Whitman men include junior George Stanton, sophomore Jamie Nusse and freshmen Matt Rowett and Matt Liedtke. Nusse, who has the fifth-best time among entries in the 100-yard freestyle, finished fourth in that event at the NWC meet last season. He also placed fourth in the 500-yard freestyle (setting a new school record) and 100-yard freestyle.

Rowett, Molnar and Liedtke rank fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively, among this weekend's entries in the 200-yard butterfly. Rowett has been working through recent injury problems but plans to give it a go this weekend. Stanton, who was slowed by injuries much of last season, posted his best championship meet results as a freshman, when he placed eighth in the 100-yard backstroke, ninth in the 200-yard backstroke and 10th in the 200-yard breaststroke. 

Flynn is entered in the women's freestyle races at 50, 100 and 200 yards. She has the fourth-best time this season among swimmers entered in the 100-yard event, and the sixth-best times in the other two races. She capped her first season last February by placing seventh in the 100-yard freestyle, eighth in the 50-yard freestyle and 16th in the 100-yard butterfly.

      George Stanton
    Courtney Fitzpatrick

Scott leads a good Whitman contingent in the women's 400 IM. She has this season's fifth-best time among the entries in that event. Junior teammate Kendi Thomas, just back from a study-abroad semester, has the seventh-best time with junior Chelsea Klinger is in the 10th spot. Scott and Klinger also have the sixth- and ninth-best times, respectively in the 1,650-yard freestyle.

Both Thomas and Klinger have enjoyed good success at past meets, placing as high as fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 400 IM.

Senior Courtney Fitzpatrick has the 10th-best times among swimmers entered in the two butterfly events. She has placed as high as seventh in the 100-yard butterfly at previous NWC meets.

      Max Hennings
      Kendi Thomas

Several other Missionaries competing this weekend also have placed in the top 16 at previous NWC meets. Senior Max Hennings has placed in each of his three previous trips, with an eighth-place finish in the 1,650-yard freestyle being his best result thus far.

Junior Nick Hurlburt, hoping to shake off recent injury problems, placed in three events last February, finishing as high as 11th in the 100-yard breaststroke. 

Sophomores Nick Woods and Nate Wells also placed in three events a year ago. Wells was seventh in both the 200-yard breaststroke and 400 IM while Wells was 10th in the 200-yard butterfly and 1,650-yard freestyle.

Sophomore Chad Trexler was eighth in the 400 IM and 10th in the 200-yard breaststroke at last year's meet. Sophomores Eliot Stone and Brian Wakefield  also placed last February; Stone was 12th in the 1,650-yard freestyle while Wakefield was 14th in the 200-yard breaststroke.
      Chelsea Klinger
      Chris Bendix

At the women's NWC meet last February, sophomore Kate Pringle was 13th in the 50-yard freestyle and junior Jessie Neill was 15th in the 100-yard butterfly.

The women's team finished third at last year's NWC meet while the men's squad took fourth its team scoring.

Whitworth University is gunning for its seventh straight men's title but faces a strong challenge from the University of Puget Sound. Whitworth is also the defending women's champion with Puget Sound serving as the top challenger.

Linfield College is serving as the meet host. All session passes for the meet are $20 for adults and $15 for youth. Passes can be purchased at the door.

Schedule of Events 

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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
holden@whitman.edu; (509) 527-590