Last weekend marked the beginning of Whitman's NW Conference dual meet season. Whitman's men and women won in both contests, defeating Linfield on Friday night and Willamette on Saturday afternoon. For a full recap about the weekend's meets click here...but keep reading for some fun analysis of the weekend's times and a promising look towards the future.
Though there were many great swims last weekend, it was our new swimmers who made a splash in their first races in the events in which they will likely compete at the NWC Championships in February. Many of them posted times this weekend that would have placed them in the top 16 at last year's NWC Championships--and those who didn't showed that with a solid season of training and a good taper anything can happen.
On Friday night, Elise Tinseth's time of 4:54.48 in Friday's 400 IM would have been fast enough to place 11th at last year's championship. In the very same event, Jo Brunner placed third with a 5:06.25, which would have been good enough for 14th last year. Also on Friday night, Cameo Hlebasko's outstanding 1:00.40 in the 100 backstroke would have gotten her a 5th place finish in the event's finals the previous year. Kendra Clinton's 1:03.17 would have been good enough for 10th. On the Men's side, of the event, Sam Starr's 54.22 would have gotten him 11th, and Will Erickson would have been 13th. In the 2012 Championships, the Men's 100 backstroke was one of the strongest fields in the meet. This year it looks to be even stronger.
In the breaststroke, Jo Brunner's 1:12.38 would have placed her 15th last year. Nick Wechter's time of 1:04.84 would have put him 11th and Robby Dorn's 1:05.43 14th. Last year, the Men's breaststroke events were two of the weaker events within the Conference. However, after the first weekend of meets, the Men's breaststroke is looking like a very strong event across the conference--thanks in part to our freshman class.
Saturday was no different. Elise Tinseth's 200 freestyle time of 2:03.58 would have gotten her 16th. Sam Starr's 200 freestyle would have been 15th. Cameo Hlebasko's 50 free would have placed her 15th. Kendra Clinton's 200 fly would have placed her 9th. Cameo Hlebasko's easy win in the 200 backstroke at 2:12.39 would have placed her 6th overall last year--just slightly faster than our own Keller Hawkins' Conference effort of 2:12.63. Sam Starr and Will Erickson's 2:02.60 and 2:02.64 would have gotten them 14th and 15th respectively. Last year, there were no Seniors in the top 8 finishers in the Men's 200 backstroke. This year, it will almost certainly be one of the deepest events of the championship.
In the 200 breaststroke, Elise Tinseth's 2:33.81 would have placed her 15th. For the men in the 200 breast, the NWC was wide open last year. This year, like the 100 breast, the field looks to be much deeper. Still, based on last year's results, Nick Wechter's 2:21.36 would have gotten him 8th, Robby Dorn's 2:28.29 would have gotten him 15th and Kevin Wallin's 2:29.12 16th.
Though there is no predicting what other teams will do when it comes down the the Conference Championships in February, there is no doubt that Whitman's new swimmers are will play a huge role in every event. We are better than ever.
This weekend's meets against Lewis & Clark on Friday at 6pm and Pacific on Saturday at 11am will be good contests for our women. Pacific defeated UPS's women last weekend with a score of 102.33 to 102.66 after a 3-way tie for first the 50 freestyle. The margin of victory was so narrow that the meet was ultimately decided by a fifth place finish--instead of a sixth place finish--in one individual event (Standard college dual meet scoring is 9-4-3-2-1 in individual events, with a maximum of three individuals per team scoring, and 11-4-2 in relays, with a maximum of two relays per team scoring). Pacific's women were defeated by PLU 117-89. Pacfic's men lost both contests. L&C dropped both of their meets last weekend against PLU and UPS.