FEDERAL WAY, Wash. – Whitworth University rolled to its 16th Northwest Conference men’s swimming championship in the last 18 years on Sunday afternoon at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center. The Pirate women finished in third place.
Sunday’s events were changed from the traditional prelims-finals format to timed finals because of severe weather in the Puget Sound area.
Behind Co-NWC Men’s Swimmers of the Year Ryan Grady and Byron Rossmiller, Whitworth’s men ran away with the championship, winning by 184.5 points. The final men’s team scores were: Whitworth 665.5, Linfield 481, Puget Sound 405, Whitman 385, Lewis & Clark 338, Pacific Lutheran 323, Willamette 260, George Fox 241.5, Pacific (Ore.) 132.
Pirate head coach Steve Schadt was voted by his peers as the NWC Men’s Coach of the Year.
Grady’s record-setting performance in the 200-yard breaststroke highlighted Sunday’s Whitworth results. Grady led from the opening leg and pulled away to win the event in 2:00.57, breaking the old meet record set by former Pirate Rory Buck in 2010. His time is also an NCAA Division III qualifying mark. Jake Davies finished in third place (2:07.51) while Alexander Henderson finished fifth (2:10.02).
Rossmiller and Eben Schumann finished 1-2 in the men’s 200-yard backstroke. Rossmiller won the event with a time of 1:50.44 while Schuman finished a half-second behind (1:51.14). Finn McClone finished sixth for the Bucs (1:57.26).
Grady and Rossmiller each won three individual events. Grady won the 500-yard freestyle and the 100- and 200-yard breaststrokes. Rossmiller claimed the 400-yard individual medley and the 100- and 200-yard backstrokes. Each accounted for 60 individual points towards the Pirates’ total score.
Owen Lempert was the runner-up in the men’s 100-yard freestyle with a time of 46.35. Andrew Gonzales finished seventh in 47.81. Linfield’s Trevor Gourley won the event with a time of 45.89.
Logan Todd took fifth in the 200-yard butterfly (1:55.82). Noah Cutting of Linfield won 1:48.51. Caden Spangler was the Pirates’ top finisher in the 1,650-yard freestyle with a time of 17:09.21. Puget Sound’s Dylan Reimers won the 1,650 in 16:06.27.
Whitworth closed the meet with a victory in the 400-yard freestyle relay, giving the Pirates a sweep of all five relays in the meet. Schumann anchored the Pirates from two seconds behind to a winning time of 3:06.74, only five one-hundredths ahead of Linfield (3:06.79). Lempert, McClone and Gonzales joined Schumann on the relay.
Whitworth’s women finished in third place, behind three-time champion Whitman and Linfield. Third place is the Pirates’ best finish since 2015.
Whitworth got three second place finishes on Sunday. In the first event of the day Cameron Lyon was the runner-up in the 1,650 freestyle with a time of 17:58.14. Linfield’s Evette Dow won her third event of the meet with a winning time of 17:33.70. Jessica Defiesta was sixth (18:15.65) and Marissa Gibson was ninth (18:24.22) for the Bucs.
Hannah Galbraith was out-touched by Linfield’s Molli Hartzell in the 200 backstroke. Hartzell reached for the wall in 2:4.62 while Galbraith touched in 2:04.88. Olivia Cox (2:11.32) took ninth.
Jamie Siegler rallied from fourth place into second place in the final 100 yards of the 200 breaststroke, but it was not enough to catch Whitman’s Miranda Williams. Williams defended her title in the event with a time of 2:20.94 while Siegler touched in 2:22.69.
Lyon came back from her effort in the mile to take fourth place in the 200 butterfly with a time of 2:08.96. Molly Vagt finished eighth in 2:15.11. PLU’s Kaycee Simpson won with a time of 2:04.31.
Whitworth finished 5th in the 400 freestyle relay. Siegler, Isabella Hackney, Eve Vetter and Galbraith posted a time of 3:35.37. Whitman won in 3:32.43.
The final women’s scores were: Whitman 559, Linfield 521, Whitworth 494, Pacific Lutheran 444, Puget Sound 371, Lewis & Clark 344, Willamette 239, George Fox 208, Pacific (Ore.) 105.
Several Pirate swimmers will get a last shot at making NCAA cuts next weekend at Puget Sound. The 2019 NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships will be March 20-23 in Greensboro, North Carolina.
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