by Nicole Oh | Staff Writer
On Thursday February 7th the men’s and women’s swim teams traveled to Federal Way to compete in the Northwest Conference Championships. This highly anticipated event took place Feb. 7 through 10. Heading into this meet, the Whitworth men were the favorites to take home the win, as last year they won by 180 points. On the women’s side the Pirates were looking to take home their first conference championship since 2013.
For senior Taylor Lee this marks his last NWC championship. His overall goals included dropping time in his swims in addition to scoring as many points as possible. On a more personal level, “I’m trying to be a leader to the younger guys on the team and prepare them to continue the tradition of excellence that we have held onto from the swimmers that have come before us,” said Lee leading up to this weekend. Going into this weekend Lee said “our team is very well rested and ready to see the work of our grueling five-month season come to fruition”. As they approached the conference championships head coach Steve Schadt stressed the importance of winning the little things.
On the women’s side, Junior Emma Boles has the goal of making it to finals every day at conference this year. Looking back at how far the team has grown since the beginning of the season she says “We have really tried to cultivate a winning mindset this season. The women’s team especially grew in their confidence throughout the season which has been really fun to watch”.
After opening night the men took the lead and won the 200-yard medley relay which consisted of Bryon Rossmiller, Ryan Grady, Eben Schumann, and Owen Lempert. The men also took home the win in the 800-yard freestyle relay with a time of 6:49.92. On the women’s side, Hannah Galbraith, Jaime Siegler, Isabella Hackney, and Eve Vetter teamed up to take 3rd place in the 200 medley relay with a final time of 1:46.79. The women also took third in the 800 medley relay with a time of 7:45.51. At the end of the night the men were in first place with 80 points with Puget Sound in second with 66 points. On the women’s side Whitman and Linfield took first and second with 74 points and the Pirates were third with 64 points.
On Friday, highlights included Lempert in the 50-yard freestyle breaking his own NWC record. Grady also had a victory in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:36.06. The men closed the night with a win in the 400 medley relay with a time of 3:21.24. After a successful day the men remain in first place with 238.5 points. On the women’s side in the 500 Cameron Lyon swam to second place with a time of 5:10.92. In the 200 I.M, Vetter finished in fourth place in 2:09.98, a season best. At the end of the night Galbraith, Siegler, Lyon, and Hackney finished in second place in the 400 Medley relay to Linfield. The women took the lead with 199 points for first place, 12 points in front of Linfield.
On Saturday the events continued with the 400-yard individual medley, 100-yard butterfly, 200-yard freestyle, 100 breaststroke, and the 200 freestyle relay. At the end of day three the Whitworth men were still in first, and the Whitworth women had dropped to third.
On Sunday, Junior Hannah Galbraith took second in the 200 yard backstroke. Junior Byron Rossmiller and Senior Eben Schumann took first and second respectively in the 200 yard backstroke. Junior Owen Lempert took second in the 100 yard freestyle with a time of 47.07. Sophomore Jamie Siegler took second in the women’s 200 yard breast stroke. On the men’s side Ryan Grady took first with a time of 31.50. After the final scores were tallied the men had secured a first place victory by a margin of 184.5. The women finished in third, 27 points behind second place Linfield.