Chapman Paces Women's Returning Cast

News Release Date:
Tuesday, October 11, 2011

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Katie Chapman, already one of the most accomplished swimmers in school history, is back this winter to help paddle the Whitman College women's swim team through another season.

Chapman is just one of several talented veterans who give the women's team a decidedly familiar face.

A year ago as a sophomore, Chapman won all three of her individual races at the NWC Championships and became the first-ever Whitman competitor to be named Women's Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet.

She set new school records in winning the 100-yard butterfly and 200-yard individual medley, and she just missed breaking the school standard in winning the 200-yard butterfly. She also was part of four Missionary relay teams that shattered school records.


Her times in the butterfly races met the provisional qualifying standards for the NCAA DIII Championships, although she ultimately fell short of getting an invite to the national finals.

Chapman's sophomore success came in the wake of off-season surgery that rectified knee problems that limited her first year at Whitman, coach Jenn Blomme says. "She was able to swim the breaststroke again and add the individual medley to her repertoire." 

Chapman (see photo at top of page) is determined to keep improving, according to her coach. "Katie is very motivated and dedicated to her training. She looks incredibly strong in the water to start this season."

Other headliners in Whitman's returning cast include sophomores Claire Collins (breaststroke) and Keller Hawkins (backstroke).

Collins capped her first season at the NWC Championships by placing second in both breaststroke races, setting new school records in the process.


Hawkins finished fifth in the 100-yard backstroke while setting a new school record in the preliminaries. She added a seventh-place finish at 200s, moving into second place on Whitman's career best-times list for that event.

Hawkins also has a share of three school relay records. Collins is part of two relay records.

"Both Keller and Claire are classic examples of swimmers who have strong first seasons and then come back with renewed energy as sophomores," Blomme says. "Both work very hard."

Blomme looks for junior freestylers Helen Jenne and Charlotte Graham to continue building on past successes.

As a sophomore, Jenne placed sixth at the conference championships in both the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle races. She is No. 2 all-time at Whitman at 50 yards and No. 3 at the longer distance; she also has a hand in three of Whitman's relay records.

"Helen gets stronger and her strokes get better every year," Blomme says.


Graham made her best showing at last year's championships in the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle races, placing fifth and ninth, respectively. She is No. 2 all-time at Whitman at 200 yards, No. 3 at 500 yards, and No. 4 at 100 yards. She also has Whitman's third-best time in the 100-yard backstroke.

"Charlotte's swimming becomes more mature with every season," Blomme says. "She came to Whitman with a lot of natural talent and a strong training foundation, but her strokes keep getting stronger and cleaner."

Juniors Genay Pilarowski and Libby Arnosti, along with sophomore Melanie Notari, add to Whitman's high quality depth.

Pilarowski placed fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke at last year's conference finals, posting a time that ranks second all-time at Whitman. She also finished 10th in the 200-yard breaststroke, moving into fifth place on Whitman's best-times list for that event.

Arnosti, a team captain, moved up Whitman's Top 10 lists in both backstroke events a year ago. She ranks fourth at Whitman at 100 yards and fifth at 200 yards.


"Libby is a strong leader, both in and out of the water," Blomme says. "We expect more great progress from Libby with her own swimming, in addition to the leadership she provides for her teammates."

Notari made the championship finals in both butterfly events at last year's NWC meet, placing fifth at 200 yards and seventh at 100 yards. She also cracked the Whitman Top 10 lists in both events, moving to third at the shorter distance and fifth at the longer.

"Melanie works incredibly hard," Blomme says.

Ellen Banks, a sophomore freestyler, will rejoin the swim squad once her fall cross country running season is over. She showed plenty of potential last season, jumping into the Top 10 lists at the 50-, 100- and 200-yard distances.

Adding more talent and experience to the roster are seniors Monica Boshart, Katie Tackman, Sylvie Luiten, Alyssa Bader and Lena Page, and juniors Cari Cortez, Rebecca Ryle, Erin Kiskaddon and Sarah Behrens.


Tackman, a team captain, focuses on distance freestyle while Boshart has Top 10 Whitman times in both breaststroke events. Bader, Luiten and Page are looking to contribute after missing time to injuries and/or foreign study.

Ryle is on foreign study this semester while Cortez and Behrens are preparing to make strong returns after working through chronic injuries the last two seasons. Kiskaddon is another of Whitman's distance freestylers.

The only newcomers on the women's roster are both freestylers, Ashley Jay (Brier, Wash.; Edmonds-Woodway HS) and Rachael Barton (Gladstone, Ore.; Clackamas HS).

"Rachael is working hard at developing her strokes," Blomme says.

"Ashley is much more experienced and has the potential to break some school records. It might take a little while for her to make the adjustment to college swimming, but once she goes through that process she could be unstoppable."

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