Mering Breaks Whitty Freestyle Mark in NWC Swim Prelims

News Release Date:
Sunday, February 12


WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Breaking a 12-year-old school record, Whitman College freshman Karl Mering put himself into position to win a second event title by posting a dominating performance in Sunday morning's preliminaries of the 100-yard freestyle at the Northwest Conference Swimming Championships at the King Co. Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash.

Photo Top Page

 That's Lena Page,
taking a moment
to gulp some air

Greg Lehman photo

Less than 24 hours after winning the 100-yard butterfly by an eyelash, Mering sped through his 100 freestyle heat in 46.14, finishing well ahead of his nearest competitor.

His time slashed nearly one full second off the school record set by Tucker Jackson in 1999. It also came came within one-tenth of a second of a provisional qualifying time for the NCAA Division III national championships.

Mering can shoot for that qualifying time, as well as his second NWC title, when he competes in tonight's championship finals.

   Katie Chapman happily hugs a teammate

Many Missionaries advanced through the morning preliminaries in various events and will also swim tonight. That includes three swimmers who head to the finals after posting the second-fastest times in their prelims.

On the women's side, junior Katie Chapman swam a 2:10.50 in the 200-yard butterfly, finishing less than seven-tenths of a second behind the No. 1 qualifier, Puget Sound's Melissa Norrish.

Sophomore Melani Notari will join Chapman in the butterfly final. She clocked a career-best 2:13.96 to place fourth in the prelims.

Sophomore Claire Collins was second (2:25.50) and junior Genay Pilarowski fourth (2:26.06) in the 200-yard breaststroke prelims. Pilarowski's time was a career-best effort.

In the prelims of the men's 200-yard breaststroke, junior Paul Chang and senior Chris Bendix finished second and third, respectively.

The times were 2:10.91 for Chang and a career-best 2:13.09 for Bendix.


Freshmen Kevin O'Leary and Nic Win will mount Whitman's two-pronged attack in the finals of the 200-yard backstroke. O'Leary logged the fourth-fastest prelim time (1:55.86) while Win qualified in fifth with a time of 1:56.82.

Junior Helen Jenne was fourth in the 100-yard freestyle prelims, swimming a 53.66, which is just four one-hundredths of a second off her school record.

Chris Bendix

Sophomore Keller Hawkins advanced in fifth place in the women's 200-yard backstroke with a season-best time of 2:13.64.

Senior Matt Liedtke qualified in fifth place for the finals of the 200-yard butterfly with a career-best time of 1:58.56.

Six more Missionarie qualified this morning to compete in tonight's consolation finals (places nine through 16).

Sophomore Jacob Gavin advanced in 12th place in the 200-yard breaststroke in a career-best 2:25.65. Freshman Yohan Mahoney was 15th in a season-best 2:29.19. A second freshman, Tabor Martinsen, just missed the consolation finals, placing 17th in 2:44.12

Sophomores Shunei Asao and Ellen Banks swam career-best times while placing 12th in the prelims of the 100-yard freestyle. Asao's time was 49.15 in the 100-yard freestyle while Banks went 55.29.

Junior Sara Behrens was 21st in the 100-yard freestyle prelims in 57.77.

Joey Gottlieb, also a junior, advanced with a career-best effort in the 200-yard backstroke, placing 15th in the prelims in 2:03.78. Junior Andrew Roehrig fell just short of the consolation finals, placing 18th in 2:08.93 while senior Ian Williams was 23rd in 2:19.02.

Senior Matt Rowett qualified in the 200-yard butterfly, placing 15th in the prelims in 2:03.09. Junior Tyler Hurlburt was 22nd in 2:24.40.

Despite season-best times, seniors Monica Boshart and Sylvie Luiten just missed advancing in their events. Luiten was 17th in the 200-yard butterfly in 2:49.85 while Boshart was 17th in the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:39.82.

Also competing for Whitman in the breaststroke were senior Alyssa Bader (25th, 2:45.75) and juniors Cari Cortez (28th, 2:50.78) and Rebecca Ryle (31st, 2:54.28).

- 30 -

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