Swim Championships: Men Miss Second
by Four, Women Miss Third by One

News Release Date:
Sunday, February 14

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- It was a bittersweet night for the Whitman College swim teams on Sunday as they capped their best-ever season with a strong finish at the eight-school Northwest Conference Swim Championships in Federal Way, Wash.

Jenn Blomme

The men's team, one year after it placed third for its best finish in two decades, came within a miniscule four points of breaking into the top two as the championship meet ended its three-day run at the King Co. Aquatic Center.

The women's team, which had finished third or fourth at the six previous championships, had to settle for fourth on Sunday -- finishing a scant one point behind third-place Lewis & Clark.

Whitworth collected 724.5 points to take first in the men's team scoring while Puget Sound and Whitman finished second and third, respectively, with 611 and 607 points.

On the women's side, Whitworth with 793 points and Puget Sound with 753 took the top two spots. Lewis & Clark was third with 356 points, a single point in front of Whitman.

With both Whitman teams locked in a Sunday night battle to finish one notch higher, it all came down to the final event -- the 400-yard freestyle relays. 

Trailing Lewis & Clark by three points, the Missionary women got a school record effort (3:38.77) from junior captain Lauren Flynn and first-year swimmers Charlotte Graham, Helen Jenne and Katie Chapman, who finished the relay in third place to earn 32 points. 

Lewis & Clark's relay squad finished more than four seconds back in fourth place, but that was good enough for 30 points, just enough for the Pioneers to hold on to third place in the women's final team standings.

Helen Jenne
Lauren Flynn

Heartache also awaited the Whitman's men team, which trailed Puget Sound by two points on the cusp of the final relay.

Junior Jamie Nusse, sophomores Mitchell Lee and Matt Rowett, and freshman Paul Chang turned in a strong effort (3:11.14), placing third to add 32 points to the final Missionary team total.

But the Puget Sound men finished second in the relay, almost two seconds in front of Whitman, to notch 34 points and hold off the Missionaries for second place in the final standings.

The continuing emergence of the Whitman men's team, which had just six athletes on its roster five years ago, was reflected in voting for this season's conference coaching honors.

Jenn Blomme, who coaches both Whitman swim teams, was named Coach of the Year on the men's side for the first time in her 10 seasons. She had earned the same honor for women's swimming in 2005 and 2006.

Whitman Men: Sunday Highlights

The Missionary men got their Sunday night session off to a fine start with five swimmers, led by freshman phenom Kevin Dyer, earning points in the grueling 1,650-yard freestyle.

Kevin Dyer

Dyer swam a 16:46.21, just missing Whitman's school record, to finish second behind Whitworth junior Kalen Darling, who shared Co-Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet honors. It was Dyer's season-best effort by 24 seconds.

Whitman sophomore Chris Bendix, who holds the school record at 16:43.55, finished third for a second straight year. His time was 16:55.91.

Chris Bendix

Also scoring for Whitman in the 1,650 were junior Nate Wells (9th, 18:07.97), sophomore Ian Williams (11th, 18:21.79) and junior Eliot Stone (12th, 18:45.67).

Wells dropped his season-best time by almost a minute while Williams and Stone knocked more than a minute off their season-best efforts.

Led by juniors Jamie Nusse and Nick Wood, Whitman had four swimmers scoring points in both the 100-yard freestyle and 200-yard breaststroke events.

Jamie Nusse

Nusse finished third in the 100 freestyle in 47.20, falling short of an 11-year-old school record by little more than a tenth of a second. In his two previous trips to the NWC championships, Nusse had placed fourth and fifth in the 100 freestyle.

Sophomore Mitchell Lee, who was ninth in the 100 freestyle a year ago, finished fifth this time in a career-best 48.31. Freshmen Paul Chang and Adam Brayton swam in the consolation finals, placing 10th and 16th, respectively. 

Nick Wood

Wood swam a 2:11.56, his career-best effort by nearly three seconds, in placing third in the 200 breaststroke. He had finished seventh and ninth in the event at the past two championship meets.

Chad Trexler, also a junior and the school record holder in the event, finished fifth in the 200 breaststroke in 2:15.87. Junior Brian Wakefield and senior Nick Hurlburt added team points in the consolation finals, placing 11th and 12th, respectively. It was the highest finish in the event for both swimmers.

In the 200-yard butterfly, senior Eric Molnar was sixth (2:02.37) and sophomore Matt Liedtke was seventh (2:03.19) with season-best times. Sophomore Matt Rowett swam in the consolations, placing 10th in 2:03.37.

Freshman Brett Clark finished seventh in the 200-yard backstroke in 2:10.97, his season-best time by almost 15 seconds. Andrew Roehrig, also a freshman, won the consolation heat, placing ninth overall in 2:12.93. Sophomore Ian Williams was 11th, six spots higher than a year ago.

Whitman Women: Sunday Highlights

First-year swimmers Katie Chapman and Charlotte Graham were top guns for the Missionary women in Sunday night's finals.

Chapman just missed an individual title in the 200-yard butterfly. She placed second in 2:10.50, trailing only Whitworth's Ashley Lecoq, a Co-Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet for the women.

Katie Chapman
Charlotte Graham

Graham finished fourth in the 100-yard freestyle in 54.57 while junior Lauren Flynn was close behind, placing seventh in 55.02. They were season-best times for both swimmers.

Sophomore Monica Boshart made the championship finals of the 200-yard breaststroke, placing eighth in 2:37.49. First-year teammate Rebecca Ryle won the consolation finals, finishing ninth overall in a season-best 2:37.06.

Libby Arnosti, also a first-year swimmer, was 12th in the 200-yard backstroke consolations in 2:20.93. Junior Natalie Reilly was 13th in 2:22.16.

Senior Jessie Neill, who missed the championships last year while on foreign study, swam in the 200-yard butterfly consolation finals, placing 15th. 

Sophomore Katie Tackman just missed cracking the top 16 in the 1,650-yard freestyle. She was 17th in 19:51.47, finishing less than two-tenths of a second out of the 16th spot. It was her season-best effort by about 75 seconds.

Also swimming for Whitman in the 1,650 freestyle were senior Sidney Kohls (19th, 20:29.78), sophomore Lena Page (21st, 20:54.42) and first-year swimmer Erin Kiskaddon (24th, 21:25.73).

Sunday Night Finals

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