Swimmers Eye Higher Spots at NWC Meet

News Release Date:
Saturday, February 13

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- The Whitman College men were within striking distance of second place and the Missionary women were just a few points out of third after Saturday's events at the Northwest Conference Swim Championships at the King Co. Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash.

Senior Eric Molnar, junior Jamie Nusse and freshman Kevin Dyer led the charge for the Whitman men, who finished the day in third place with 385 points. Puget Sound was in second with 428 points while the Whitworth men were on top with 501 points.

Eric Molnar

First-year swimmers Charlotte Graham and Katie Chapman, along with sophomore Monica Boshart, had the top finishes for the Whitman women, who were in fourth place with 244 points, just eight points back of third-place Lewis & Clark. The Whitworth and Puget Sound women were well out in front with 534 and 499 points. 

The championships conclude Sunday, starting with preliminary heats at 10 a.m. and ending with finals at 6 p.m. The field includes eight schools on the women's side and seven in the men's competition.

Monica Boshart

"It's really a fight for third place between us and Lewis & Clark," Whitman swim coach Jenn Blomme said.

"Our men are still within reach of Puget Sound, but we'll have to do more than we did today to get to second place," she added. "We had some great swims, but Puget Sound had some phenomenal ones."

Molnar racked up points in the championship finals of two events. He placed second in the 100-yard backstroke in a career-best 54.04, which missed the Whitman school record by just two-tenths of a second. 

Molnar added a fourth-place showing in the 400-yard individual medley, lowering his time from the morning preliminaries by four seconds to 4:17.35.

Nusse just missed his career-best time in placing third in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:43.83. Dyer swam his best time of the season, 1:45.14, to finish fourth.

Molnar, Nusse and Dyer also teamed with sophomore Matt Rowett to give Whitman a second-place finish in the 800-yard freestyle relay in 7:09.77.

Graham and Chapman posted career-best times and came close to school records in placing third in their events.

Nick Wood

Chapman swam the 100-yard butterfly in a 1:00.50, finishing less than three-tenths of a second out of the runner-up spot. Graham's time in the 200-yard freestyle, 1:56.43, left her less than six-tenths of a second out of second place.

Boshart also clocked her best-ever time, placing fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:10.46. First-year teammate Cari Cortez joined Boshart in the championship (top eight) finals, placing eighth in 1:12.24.

Junior Lauren Flynn finished eighth in the 200-yard freestyle finals with a time of 2:01.17.

Like Molnar, junior Nick Wood made the championship finals of two Saturday events.

Wood was seventh in the 400 IM in 4:24.22, finishing just ahead of sophomore teammate Chris Bendix (4:24.33).

Later in the evening, Wood placed eighth in the 100-yard breaststroke in a career-best 1:01.15, finishing just behind senior teammate Nick Hurlburt, who was seventh in a career-best 1:01.08.

Sophomore Matt Liedtke and freshman Paul Chang also swam in championship finals. Liedtke was eighth in the 100-yard butterfly in 54.59 while Chang had the same placing in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 58.48.

Several Missionaries competed in Saturday night's consolation finals.

Junior Chad Trexler was 10th in the 400 IM in 4:27.56. Junior Brian Wakefield and sophomore Ian Williams also swam in that consolation final, placing 15th and 16th, respectively, with times of 4:45.21 and 4:49.87.

Trexler was one of two Missionaries who made the consolation finals of the 200-yard breaststroke. Sophomore Mitchell Lee was 13th in 1:02.51 with Trexler placing 15th in 1:04.32.

Whitman had three swimmers in the 200-yard freestyle consolations. Sophomore Matt Rowett was ninth in 1:50.97, followed by junior Eliot Stone in 12th (1:53.57) and freshman Andrew Roehrig in 13th (1:53.66).

Freshman Brett Clark swam in two consolation finals. He was 11th in the 100-yard backstroke in a season-best 1:00.59, and he was 14th in the 100-yard butterfly in 56.97, finishing just ahead of junior Nate Wells, who was 15th in 57.15. 

Two first-year Missionaries made the 100-yard breaststroke consolations. Rebecca Ryle was 10th in 1:12.24 while Megan Vermilion was 15th in 1:15.53. 

Natalie Reilly, a junior, finished 15th in the 400-yard IM in a season-best in a season-best 5:03.26. Libby Arnosti, another first-year swimmer, was 16th in the 100-yard backstroke in 1:06.90.

Saturday's finals got underway with the 200-yard medley relay events. The Whitman men (Molnar, Lee, Liedtke, Chang) placed third in 1:39.10. The Missionary women (Arnosti, Boshart, Chapman, Helen Jenne) finished fourth in 1:54.73, less than six-tenths of a second out of third place.

Graham, Arnosti, Jenne and Flynn gave the women a third-place finish in the 800-yard freestyle relay (8:14.99).

Evening Finals

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