Masei Third All-Time at Willamette with 1:58.58 in 200 I.M. at NWC Championships

Bearcats Register 22 Personal Bests on First Day of Competition

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

FEDERAL WAY, WASH. -- Alika Masei (Fr., Salem, OR/West Salem HS) moved into third place on Willamette University's all-time list in the men's 200-yard individual medley and contributed to a fourth place finish by the Bearcats in the men's 400-yard medley relay, to highlight the first day of the 2014 Northwest Conference Swimming Championships at the King County Aquatic Center.

Overall, the Bearcats achieved 22 personal bests and just one result that wasn't a season-best time.

Masei recorded a time of 1:58.58 in the consolation final of the 200 I.M. to earn his spot on WU's all-time list. He placed 13th in the event. Masei trails only Tim Roth on WU's list for the 200 I.M. Roth set the record time of 1:57.06 in 1993 and recorded the second-ranked time of 1:57.29 in 1994. Roth and Masei are the only WU swimmers to break the 1:59 mark.

In the 400-yard medley relay, Masei swam the backstroke to help Willamette place fourth in 3:36.08. Whitman College won the relay in 3:22.48, while Whitworth University was second at 3:23.76. The University of Puget Sound was third at 3:27.17.

Joining Masei on the Willamette 400 medley relay team were Chris Whitehead (Sr., Sherwood, OR/Sherwood HS), Andrew Lum (So., Honolulu, HI/Punahou School) and Alex Guffey (So., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS).

WU attained fifth place in the men's 200-yard freestyle relay. The Bearcats placed seventh in the women's 200-yard freestyle relay and took seventh in the women's 400-yard medley relay.

A total of five Willamette swimmers advanced from the preliminary rounds into the consolation finals in individual events.

In addition to Masei, other Bearcats in the consolation finals were Guffey and Shelby Merrill (Fr., Thousand Oaks, CA/Westlake HS) from the men's team, and Hope Nelson (Jr., Providence, RI/South Kingstown HS) and Malia Santos (So., Kailua-Kona, HI/Kealakehe HS) from the women's team.

Alex Burkhart (Jr., Los Gatos, CA/Los Gatos HS) barely missed the consolation final in the men's 500-yard freestyle. His time in the prelims was 5:00.08 just .07 behind Alex Baker from Pacific Lutheran University, who reached the consolation final with a time of 5:00.01. Burkhart placed 17th overall.

Guffey advanced to the consolation final in the 50-yard freestyle. He recorded a time of 21:87 seconds in the prelims and achieved a similar time of 21.91 in the finals to place 10th overall.  Merrill was clocked at 4:53.88 in the prelims of the 500-yard freestyle, but the freshman slowed a bit to 5:01.08 in the finals, as he took 15th place.

Nelson finished 13th in the women's 500-yard freestyle. She produced a time of 5:24.49 in the finals, clipping nearly one-and-a-half seconds from her preliminary time of 5:25.96. Santos qualified from the prelims with a time of 25.20 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle. She placed 16th in the finals at 25.46 seconds.

"It was a great day," Willamette Head Coach Leslie Shevlin said. "Everyone that we thought would make it back (to the evening finals) did. The next two days are even better for us (in terms of the Bearcats' strongest events), so we are looking forward to it."

Whitworth led the men's standings with 220 points, with Puget Sound in second place at 180 points and Whitman in third place at 135. Pacific Lutheran was fourth at 117.5.

Pacific University was fifth with 76 points, as the Boxers claimed a five-point lead over Willamette, with the Bearcats sixth at 71 points. Lewis & Clark College was seventh at 71 and Linfield College was eighth at 53.

In the women's standings, Whitworth held first place at 190.5 points. Whitman was second with 173.5 points, while Pacific Lutheran was third with 137 points. Pacific University was fourth at 117.5, Puget Sound was fifth at 111.5, and Lewis & Clark held sixth at 83. Linfield was seventh with 71 points and Willamette concluded the day in eighth with 53 points.

The NWC Swimming Championships will continue on Saturday, Feb. 15 and Sunday, Feb. 16.


2014 Northwest Conference
Swimming Championships
At Federal Way, Wash.
Feb. 14-16, 2014

1st Day Finals
1st Day Prelims

Alika Masei moved into third place on Willamette's all-time list in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 1:58.58.

Alika Masei moved into third place on Willamette's all-time list in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 1:58.58.