Willamette Men's Swimming Places Fifth in NWC

Men's Swimming Moment of the Year

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

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University men's swimming team achieved a successful 2013-14 season on its way to taking fifth place at the Northwest Conference Championships. The Bearcats finished in front of the other three NWC teams from Oregon and defeated all three of those teams in dual meets.

As a result of the team's success, Head Coach Leslie Shevlin was chosen NWC Men's Swimming Coach of the Year.

The three victories in NWC dual competition occurred during an eight-day span in January. On Jan. 17, the Bearcats hosted Pacific University and defeated the Boxers, 105-95. The following day, Willamette won at Lewis & Clark College, 112-87. On Jan. 25, the Bearcats ended the dual match season with a 119-69 rout of Linfield College.

Earlier in the season, Willamette and Pacific tied in a non-conference match, 129.5-129.5 in Forest Grove, Ore.

At the NWC Championships in Federal Way, Wash., freshman standout Alika Masei (Salem, OR/West Salem HS) set the school record in the 200-yard backstroke. He recorded a time of 1:53.82 in his preliminary heat to advance to the championship finals. In the final race, he placed sixth overall.

In addition, Masei took fourth place in the 100-yard backstroke. His time in the championship race was 52.37 seconds.

Masei moved into third place on Willamette's all-time list in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 1:58.58 in the consolation final at the NWC Championships. He placed 13th overall in the event.

Alex Guffey (So., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS) placed fifth in the men's 100-yard freestyle. He earned a time of 47.53 seconds in the championship final, as he lowered his time from 47.79 in the prelims. Guffey also placed fifth in the 200-yard freestyle. His time in finals was 1:44.55.

The Bearcats earned fifth place in team standings with a score of 259 points. Willamette's rivals from Oregon trailed the Bearcats, with Pacific in sixth with 219 points, Lewis & Clark in seventh at 186 and Linfield eighth at 156. Whitworth University claimed the team title.

"I'm proud of it," Shevlin said of being named NWC Men's Coach of the Year. "They've been successful. The freshmen came in this year and bonded with the upperclassmen very quickly."

The combined efforts of the Bearcats led to a series of quality results, both against their in-state rivals and at the NWC Championships. There were individual moments leading to great accomplishments, and also team victories that resulted from Willamette's depth in several events.

Freshman Alika Masei set a school record of 1:53.82 in the 200-yard backstroke at the NWC Championships.

Freshman Alika Masei set a school record of 1:53.82 in the 200-yard backstroke at the NWC Championships.