Bearcats Set School Record in Women's 400-yard Medley Relay

Guffey Places 15th Overall in Men's 500-yard Freestyle

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

FEDERAL WAY, WASH. -- The Willamette University women's 400-yard medley relay team broke the school record during the first night session of the 2013 Northwest Conference Swimming Championships on Friday, Feb. 8 at the King County Aquatic Center. The Bearcats achieved a time of 4:05.65, to break the old record of 4:08.06, set in 2005.

Swimming for the Bearcats in the 400-yard medley relay were Michaela Zuber (Fr., Sacramento, CA/Sheldon HS), Annette Marinello (Fr., Corvallis, OR/Philomath HS), Malia Santos (Fr., Kailua-Kona, HI/Kealakehe HS) and Hope Nelson (So., Providence, RI/South Kingstown HS). WU took eighth place in the relay. Whitworth won the event with a time of 3:52.55.

Many of the same swimmers began the evening by competing for WU in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Nelson swam the first leg, and Kayla Kosaki (Sr., Hilo, HI/Waiakea HS) swam the second. Santos and Marinello completed the 200 free relay, as Willamette finished seventh in 1:41.87.

Willamette took sixth place in both of the men's relays. In the 200-yard freestyle relay, WU earned a time of 1:29.81 through the efforts of Nick Barton (Fr., Oregon City, OR/Clackamas HS), Kulananalu Tarnas (Fr., Kamuela, HI/Hawaii Preparatory Academy), Andrew Lum (Fr., Honolulu, HI/Punahou School) and Alex Guffey (Fr., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS).

In the men's 400-yard medley relay, the swimmers for Willamette were Zander Le Bel (So., Dallas, TX/Richardson HS), Tarnas, Lum and Guffey. They finished the race in 3:41.84.

Guffey also competed in the consolation finals of the men's 500-yard freestyle. He placed seventh in the race and 15th in the event. His time during the consolation finals was 4:48.75, slightly faster than his preliminary time of 4:48.89. He was only 0.72 seconds out of 13th place and just 1.65 seconds out of 12th.

Men's Competition Highlights on Friday

Whitworth University built a 42-point lead in the men's team standings, as the Pirates began their efforts to win an 11th consecutive NWC title. The Whitworth women's team opened a 78-point advantage.

Whitworth's men did not feature a single individual event victory on Friday, but team depth allowed the Pirates to claim their lead. Whitman registered three wins in the men's competition, while Pacific Lutheran University and Pacific University each picked up one victory.

Pacific Lutheran opened the evening session for the men with a win in the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:24.76.

Gallen Sollom-Brotherton of Whitman defended his title in the 500-yard freestyle with an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 4:31.38, just missing his NWC record of 4:30.02 set last year at this meet.

Michael Hargit of Pacific University became the first Boxer ever to win the 200-yard individual medley when he came from behind over the final 50 yards to post a time of 1:54.72.

The closest race for the men was the 50-yard freestyle, where Whitman’s Karl Mering out-touched defending champion Chase Mesford of Pacific Lutheran, 20.87 – 20.88. Both times met the NCAA provisional qualifying mark.

Whitman closed the night with a victory in the men’s 400-yard medley relay, racing to a new NWC meet record time of 3:23.76.

The men’s team scores after the first night of the meet:  Whitworth 216, Whitman 174, Pacific Lutheran 142, Puget Sound 108, Linfield 67, Lewis & Clark 66, Pacific 63, Willamette 54.

Women's Competition Highlights on Friday

Whitworth's women won both relays and one individual event.

The Pirate women opened the night by winning the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:38.13. Whitworth closed the night with its win in the 400-yard medley relay. The Pirates' winning time of 3:52.55 was the second-fasted in NWC history by one one-hundredth of a second and was a provisional NCAA qualifying time.

The women’s team scores through the opening night: Whitworth 212, Pacific Lutheran 133.5, Whitman 122, Pacific 112.5, Puget Sound 103, Lewis & Clark 101, Linfield 96, Willamette 46.

Kate Duvall of Whitworth raced to a win in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:05.12. She also won the event in 2011, but finished second last season.

Claire Collins of Whitman out-touched Whitworth’s Hannah Norris to win the 200-yard individual medley.  Collins finished in 2:09.32 while Norris touched in at 2:09.49.

Katie Porter of Pacific defended her title in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 23.84, provisionally qualifying for the NCAA championships.

Up Next for the Bearcats

The NWC Swimming Championships will continue on Saturday, Feb. 9 and Sunday, Feb. 10.

On Saturday, the morning session will begin at 10 a.m. (PST). It will include the men's and women's prelims in the 400-yard individual medley, 100-yard butterfly, 200-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke and 100-yard backstroke.

Finals in those events will be held during Saturday's evening session, along with the men's and women's 200-yard medley relay and 800-yard freestyle relay. The evening session is slated to get underway at 6 p.m.

Northwest Conference
Swimming Championships
Hosted by Willamette University
At King County Aquatic Center
Federal Way, Wash.
February 8-10, 2013
Michaela Zuber swam the first leg in the 400-yard medley relay, helping the Bearcats break the school record.

Michaela Zuber swam the first leg in the 400-yard medley relay, helping the Bearcats break the school record.