by Nathan Webber
The Whitworth women’s swim team out-raced the rest of the Northwest Conference Friday and Saturday at the NWC Invitational at Linfield College.
The Pirates won nine events overall, including a sweep of all five relay races for the win. Whitworth finished with 687.5 points while Pacific Lutheran University took second with a total of 607 points.
The rest of the field was held under 500 points as third place Whitman College finished with 496 points and fourth place Pacific University finished with 493.5 points. The hosting Linfield College finished with 380 points, Willamette University finished with 200 points and the College of Idaho finished with 106 points.
“We had a great weekend,” head coach Steve Schadt said. “Our performances are looking really good and I’m excited for the rest of the season.”
Two-hundred of the women’s 687.5 points came from the relay races. Whitworth won the 200-yard freestyle by one second, the 400-yard medley relay by six seconds, the 200-yard medley relay by two seconds, the 800-yard freestyle by two seconds and the 400-yard freestyle by two seconds.
Senior Pirate Jennifer Benson had a great two days as she was part of four of the five relay teams and won the women’s 100-yard backstroke, the women’s 100-yard freestyle and placed third in the women’s 50-yard freestyle.
The Pirates won two more individual events on top of Benson’s wins. Freshman Samantha Smith won the women’s 200-yard IM by 0.14 of a second as she edged out Pacific’s Allison Clark, who won the women’s 500-yard freestyle, the 200-yard freestyle, the women’s 1,650-yard freestyle and the women’s 400-yard IM.
“We had a really good atmosphere on the team this weekend,” junior Abby Pavelko said. “People were cheering on and encouraging our team so that helped.”
Pavelko finished with three top-three finishes and was on the winning 800-yard freestyle team.
Sophomore Kate Duvall won the women’s 200-yard breaststroke by four seconds. Duvall also placed second in the women’s 500-yard freestyle, third in the 100-yard backstroke and was also part of two winning relay teams.
Freshman Alisa Stang was part of four winning relays and placed second in three events including the women’s 50-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle and the 100-yard freestyle. Stang came within 0.5 of a second from winning in all three events.
Freshman Nicole Lecoq played a role in three of the winning relays and placed second in the women’s 100-yard backstroke.
Benson, Lecoq and Duvall finished 1-2-3 in the 100-yard backstroke.
Junior Melissa Barringer had two top-five finishes including a second place finish in the 100 yard breaststroke. Barringer, who was part of two relay wins, lost by only 0.31 of a second.
“I thought it was a great weekend,” Pavelko said. “Personally, I wanted to go out and have a good time and we did so that was good.”
The women’s team will travel to Federal Way, Wash., in two weekends to compete in the Husky Invitational.