Whits Splash by Wildcats for Swim Wins

News Release Date:
Friday, November 6

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Whitman College opened the Northwest Conference swim season with a pair of dual meet victories over Linfield College Friday evening in the Harvey Pool at Baker Ferguson Fitness Center.

The Whitman women, after trailing for most of the meet, sealed a thrilling 106-99 comeback victory by winning the final race, the 400-yard freestyle relay, in school-record time.

Lauren Flynn

Meanwhile, the Missionary men led from start to finish in posting a 117-88 triumph.

The high point of the night, at least for Whitman, came when junior standout Lauren Flynn anchored a 400-yard freestyle relay squad that was victorious with a time of 3:42.95. By five one-hundredths of a second, that broke a school record set 17 years ago. 

Joining Flynn in the relay romp were three of first-year teammates -- Charlotte Graham, Katie Chapman and Helen Jenne.

"We couldn't be more excited about the way this swim meet turned out, especially on the women's side," Whitman coach Jenn Blomme said. "In my mind, that's what a swim meet should be all about. Everyone excited and out of their seats, knowing that it all comes down to the final relay event.

"Everything worked out in our favor, but it wasn't luck," she added. "It was a lot of hard work and great performances all around."

Helen Jenne

With the women's meet hitting the stretch run, Graham won the 500-yard freestyle in 5:29.56, beating her nearest competitor by almost 10 seconds, to pull Whitman within five points in the team scoring.

Charlotte Graham

Then, in the women's final individual event, first-year Missionary Rebecca Ryle outdueled Linfield's Rhiannon Ladwig in the 200-yard breaststroke to give Whitman a 95-93 lead heading to the final relay. Ryle was timed in 2:39.25, nipping Ladwig by less than seven-tenths of a second.

"That was the most fiercely contested women's individual event of the night," Blomme said. "They went head to head the whole way before Rebecca was able to pull it out at the end."

Katie Chapman

The close team scoring was expected, Blomme said. "We had talked a lot about how every point in this meet was going to count for something and make a difference. I couldn't be more proud of the way our swimmers competed at a high level and rose to the occasion."

In the men's meet, Whitman took charge from the outset, winning the opening relay and the first three individual events to build a lead that lasted the rest of the evening. 

Jamie Nusse

In one of the early races, Whitman junior Jamie Nusse battled his way to victory over Linfield standout Dominic Rieniets in the 200-yard freestyle. Nusse won by nearly one second with a time of 1:48.42.

"That was an awesome race for Jamie," Blomme said. "Dominic is an excellent swimmer, and they are both great competitors."

Later in the meet, Rieniets turned the tables in the 100-yard freestyle, edging Nusse by one-half second with a winning time of 48.37.

Led by Yusuke Kobayashi's twin triumphs in the 200-yard individual medley and 200-yard backstroke, the Linfield men won five of the nine individual events, but Whitman countered with plenty of depth and decisive victories in both relays.

Kevin Dyer

Freshman Kevin Dyer took two events for the Missionaries, winning the 1,000-yard freestyle in 10:26.11 and the 500-yard freestyle in 5:03.67. Whitman sophomore Chris Bendix was second in the 500.

Mitchell Lee

Sophomore Mitchell Lee led a one-two Whitman finish in the 50-yard freestyle. Lee touched out in 22.38 while freshman Paul Chang was the runner-up in 22.74.

Other individual event winners for the Linfield men were Miles Phillips in the 200-yard butterfly and Seth Ruwitch in the 200-yard breaststroke.

In addition to her win in the 500-yard freestyle late in the meet, Graham posted an earlier victory with a time of 2:00.07 in the 200-yard freestyle.

Flynn also churned her way to two individual wins for the Missionaries. She was first in the 50-yard freestyle in 25.45, nipping Jenne by four one-hundredths of a second. Flynn's winning time in the 100-yard freestyle was 55.54 with Jenne again taking second (56.03).

Chapman added a Whitman victory in the women's 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:15.41.

Chrissy Baumgartner captured two events for the Linfield women. She won the 200-yard IM and 200-yard backstroke, both by wide margins.

Katie Main also was a winner for the Wildcats, taking the 1,000-yard freestyle in 11:19.98.

In the women's 400-yard medley relay, Bauymgartner teamed with Cat Nakamura, Megan Sandall and Maria Schwarz to post a winning time of 4:18.20. Chapman and Ryle teamed with two more Missionary newcomers, Natalie Reilly and Libby Arnosti, to finish a close second in 4:19.24.

In the men's 400-yard medley relay, Whitman freshman Joey Gottlieb and sophomore Matt Liedtke joined forces with Lee and Dyer for a winning time of 3:53.82.

In the men's 400-yard freestyle relay, Whitman senior Eric Molnar teamed with Lee, Chang and Nusse to take the checkered flag in 3:20.86.

Whitman's swimmers stay at home Saturday to host Pacific in a meet that gets underway at 1 p.m. Linfield travels to Spokane, Wash., to face Whitworth in a 1 p.m. meet.

Complete meet results

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