by Korey Hope
The Whitworth women’s swimming team put up a strong performance at the Husky Invitational last weekend in Federal Way, Wash. The meet hosted over 1,000 swimmers and saw several Pirates produce season-best times in a number of different events.
The annual three-day meet hosted by the University of Washington contained arguably the toughest competition the Pirates will face all year, including Oregon State, University of Calgary, Grand Canyon University and Simon Fraser University. Prior to the meet, the women had finished first in all of their meets this year.
Head coach Steve Schadt knew this weekend had a high chance of changing that, and saw many positive aspects of this competition.
“When you face stiff competition, it raises your level of swimming,” Schadt said. “Meets like this are really valuable.”
Schadt had quite a bit of evidence to support his case. In many races Pirate swimmers swam to new personal or lifelong-best times. Junior Kate Duvall posted the highest individual finish all weekend for the Pirates, with a 14th place finish in the “B” final of the 200-yard backstroke. Her time of 2:06.30 beat her personal record by four seconds.
“Racing against fast swimmers really does push you to swim faster,” Duvall said. “And that was higher competition than we have seen all season.”
The women’s relay teams also swam well, posting 24th and 26th finishes on day one, followed by 19th and 25th place finishes on day two. Sophomores Samantha Smith and Alisa Stang raced with most of these relay teams, as well as setting personal season records in individual events. Stang finished 28th in the 50-yard freestyle with a season-best time of 24.41. Smith set personal season records in the 200-yard butterfly (2:13.30) and 200-yard individual medley (2:12.97).
Another Pirate that fought her way into a final was senior Abby Pavelko. She managed a 31st place finish in the 1,650-yard freestyle with a time of 18:19.42, a personal best. Equalling nearly a mile, this event was the weekend’s longest distance.
Freshman Bridget Louis finished just behind Pavelko in 32nd, shaving 12 seconds off her own personal best mark.
“I approached swimming differently this year than I have in the past,” Pavelko said. “My attitude has just been more positive.”
The swimmers won’t be competing again until the second week of January, but Schadt already knows this meet will help them in future meets.
“This meet forced us to swim fast and we did,” Schadt said. “If I had to grade it, I would definitely give it an ‘A’, they really did a nice job.”
The next meet for the Bucs will be a dual meet at Seattle University Jan. 12.
Contact Korey Hope at firstname.lastname@example.org.