by Andrew Forhan
The Whitworth men’s and women’s swim teams swept the Pacific University Boxers and Lewis & Clark College Pioneers this past weekend in the Bucs’ first home meets of the season at the Whitworth Aquatic Center.
“Everybody loves home meets,” Head Coach Steve Schadt said. “You get the energy of the crowd, and it gets behind your swimmers and helps them perform.”
The Pirate men used that energy to claim a 150-53 victory over the visiting Boxers, winning nine of the 11 events. Senior Rory Buck, last year’s NCAA Division III Swimmer of the Year, led the Pirates by winning the 200-yard breaststroke and 100-yard freestyle.
Buck’s time of 2:02.14 in the 200-yard breaststroke broke his own pool record, and qualified the senior for the 2012 NCAA Division III Championships in the event.
“I was pretty happy with how that race went Friday night,” Buck said. “The pool record was kind of a cherry on top, that definitely wasn’t the goal. The goal was to try to swim an NCAA qualifying time.”
Sophomore Luke Welle won the 1000-yard freestyle by more than 25 seconds (10:23.58) while senior Austin Vierra finished first in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:45.93.
The Whitworth women were victorious with a score of 113-92, led by freshman Sam Smith who placed first in the 200-yard individual medley (2:14.19), before returning to the pool just a few minutes later to win the 200-yard butterfly 2:16.11. Smith was also part of the women’s first-place 400-yard medley team that won with a time of 4:04.32 along with senior Jennifer Benson, junior Melissa Barringer and freshman Nicole Lecoq.
“I felt better during the 200 I.M. because there was only one event in between and then I had to swim the 200 fly,” Smith said. “But I was happy with the meet. I just take one race at a time and focus on the next race coming up.”
Lecoq also placed first in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:58.88. Sophomore Kate Duvall took the top spot in the 200-yard backstroke, with a winning time of 2:11.66.
The Whitworth dominance continued for both teams on Saturday as the Pirates won every race in the 22-event meet.
The men’s team beat the Pioneers 176-22, getting two individual victories from sophomore Oliver Durand in the 200-yard freestyle and 500-yard freestyle. Durand had a winning time of 1:47.03 in the 200-yard freestyle and 4:49.24 in the 500-yard freestyle.
Buck continued his winning ways, swimming the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 56.91. Buck is the defending national champion in the event, and his time this past weekend qualified him for a return the 2012 NCAA Division III Championships to compete in the event.
Welle won his second consecutive distance race in as many days in the 1650-yard freestyle, finishing the race in 17:15.93.
Sophomore Matt Brody won the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 49.97, edging out Whitworth sophomore Mitchell Beck (50.33) and Pirate freshman Callum MacKintosh (50.75).
The Pirate women were dominant in their 146-56 victory over the Pioneers, led by Lecoq, Duvall and Benson who each had multiple wins for Whitworth.
Lecoq won both the 100-yard and 200-yard freestyle events. She posted a 55.12 time in the 100-yard freestyle and had a 1:57.40 finish in the 200-yard freestyle.
Duvall had a winning time of 4:54.36 in the 400-yard individual medley before winning the 500-yard freestyle in 5:25.88.
Benson handled the competition in her sprint events, with wins in the 50-yard freestyle (24.97) and 100-yard backstroke (1:02.74).
Smith won the 100-yard butterfly in 59.52 while Barringer claimed a victory in the closest race of the day. Barringer won the 100-yard breaststroke, edging out the second place Lewis & Clark finisher by less than a second with a winning time of 1:11.43.
“Through the first six or seven weeks of the season I think Melissa Barringer has been really strong for us,” Schadt said. “She is way ahead of where she was a year ago.”
With the victories this past weekend, the men’s team has now won 80 consecutive Northwest Conference dual meets, and the women’s streak of unbeaten NWC dual meets was extended to 37.
“I think aerobically we’re getting much more fit,” Schadt said. “I think in the next few weeks we are going to want to add a little bit more speed to that and help people finish races a little better, but for where we’re at, I’m pretty happy.”
Both teams will travel to McMinnville, Ore., this weekend to compete in the Northwest Invitational at Linfield College.