What a meet! I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved as a team this weekend, it really has been an amazing Conference Championships. On the men’s side I think we put together the most comprehensive victory Whitworth has ever had as we totaled 932.5 points, 337 ahead of second place UPS! It was also our 9th straight NWC Championship victory, leaving us only one year away from a decade of dominance. Our woman swam just as well racking up 817 points, an impressive 138 points head of  UPS’s 679!

Victorious Girls Team
Awesome Men’s Team

The night started off with a very impressive performance from our woman in the mile. Abby, Christine, Makalay, Kara and Robyn managed a 1-2-3-4-5 finish in the event racking up a huge number of points and all but securing the conference title victory for the girls. Abby and Christine swam along side each other for nearly half the race before Abby picked up the pace slightly and Christine couldn’t respond. Abby posted a NCAA “B” cut in the event, but unfortunately looking at the national standings it is not going to be enough to get her into the meet.

The Milers

Austin Vierra managed to catch all the attention of the ladies in the stands as he walked out to Michael Buble’s “Just haven’t met you yet” before his mile! He then swam a good race in which he seemed to picked up the pace every 500 yards finishing in 16.13.70. I am pretty sure Austin has moren in him though and I’m looking forward to watching him swim it at Nationals next month. Luke Welle also put together a great mile, just as he did in the 500 Free earlier in the meet he dropped a huge amount of time finishing the race in 16.32.15.

Austin & Luke

Despite the convincing win the woman’s team was heading towards, our girls seemed to be having a hard time swimming National Qualifying times that would get them into the meet in March. That changed when Freshman, Kate Duvall hit the water for the girls 200 Backstroke! Kate led the race from start to finish and posted a 2.03.79, just under the automatic qualifying time of 2.03.86 securing her spot on the plane to Tennessee at the end of March.

Kate Duvall NCAA “A” Cut, Meet & School Record

Kalen Darling look a little different than he usually does on the last night of a Championship meet. In the past Kalen has been our go to guy in the mile, this year however he chose to concentrate on the 200 Backstroke instead, and it paid off. Swimming a 1.51.06 he removed Whitworth Hall of Fame swimmer Kevin Wang’s name from the Meet Record board and won the event by over three seconds. He was  very ably supported in the race by two Whitworth Freshman too, Korey Kinney finished in 4th with a 1.56.32 and Jordan Fish finished in 6th with his 1.59.61.

Kalen Darling; New Meet Record

The Men’s 100 Freestyle turned out to be a heck of a race with senior, Michael Woodward and freshman, Aaron Vaccaro going head to head against each other. Michael’s forte is the 200 Free, Aaron’s forte is the 50 Free, so the 100 Free set up a race of two parts really; Aaron would be out fast and Mike would come back at him hard. That is pretty much exactly what happened, Aaron turned slightly ahead of Mike at the 50 but just couldn’t manage to hold on to his lead in the last 10 yards of the race. Mike ended up winning it in a 46.28 followed very closely by Aaron in a 46.66.

Really feeling the fatigue from the 800 Free relay the last night, I managed to put up a 2.03.65 in the prelim swims of the 200 Breaststroke this morning. Going into the final I knew that if I wanted to be 2.01 or better I was going to have to be more aggressive on the front end of the race and then hold on with whatever I had left. This ladies and gentlemen is not a great idea when you are not tapered. I went out a second faster than I had in the morning but the second 100 felt like it took an eternity to finish. I ended up swimming a 2.03.64 almost identical to the time I had posted in the morning, leaving me feeling that I had probably swam that race as fast as I possibly can for where I am at right now, and I have to be happy about that.

Reflecting back on the meet now, I can’t help but feel that this was the best Whitworth swimming team the school has ever seen. We dominated this weekend, not just in terms of points over our opponents but in terms of the records we broke, the number of people we are sending to nationals and the depth we showed. I am incredibly proud to have been apart of this team and to have had the opportunity to lead such a great group of people. I have thoroughly  enjoyed this year and am a little bit sad that it is now over for many of the swimmers on the team.

Number 1!

For eight of us though the season is not over yet. We will be back in the gym and pool at 4.45 tomorrow morning, practicing, building, preparing. Tennessee, Whitworth is coming for you!

* Photo’s courtesy of Bob Welle & Austin Vierra