Whits outswim two NWC foes

Eric Molnar, Jamie Nusse and Lauren Flynn each notch two wins against Linfield and Pacific.


WALLA WALLA - Eric Molnar and Jamie Nusse for the men and Lauren Flynn for women each won two individual events as the Whitman swim teams completed a Northwest Conference weekend sweep here in action at the Harvey Pool.

The Missionary men opened the NWC dual meet season with a 117-88 Friday win over Linfield, and on Saturday, the Missionaries won eight of nine individual events and both relays, to outpoint Pacific 155-20.

The Missionary women squeaked out a 106-99 win over the Wildcats on Friday, and came back on Saturday to win seven individual events and take two relays, and dunk the Boxers 135-59.

Both teams are off to 3-0, 2-0 in NWC swims, starts to the dual meet season.

Flynn posted wins in the 200-yard freestyle (2:03.14) and in the 100 free (55.73), and teamed with Charlotte Graham, Katie Chapman and Helen Jenne to win the 200-yard freestyle relay in a new school record of 1:42.56.

Graham, Chapman and Jenne added individual wins for the Missionaries.

Graham was first in the 100-yard backstroke in 1:02.56, Chapman won the 100-yard butterfly in 1:01.00, and Jenne took first in the 50 free in 25.52.

Sophomore Katie Tackman and senior Sidney Kohlman gave Whitman a one-two finish in the 1,650-yard freestyle. Tackman's winning time was 20:53.94.

Rebecca Ryle was first in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:15.26.

On the men's side, Whitman's Mitchell Lee won the 200-yard breaststroke, edging Pacific's Luke Fuller by .02 seconds. Lee swam a 1:05.08 for the win.

Molnar posted his double-double in winning the 400-yard IM (4:34.42) and 100-yard backstroke (59.21).

Nusse tallied his two wins in the 500-yard freestyle (5:01.83) and 50-yard freestyle (22.27).

Other winners for the Whitman men included freshman Kevin Dyer, who won the 1,650-yard free in 17:26.34.

Matthew Liedtke won the 100-yard fly in 57.29, and Paul Chang was first for Whitman in the 100-yard free in 49.85.

Chang, Matt Rowett, Hurlburt and Nusse won the opening 200-yard medley relay in 1:45.43. The Missionaries closed out the 155-20 win as Chang, Gottlieb, Dyer and Lee won the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:33.92.

The Missionary women took home the win in the 200 IM relay as Libby Arnosti, Ryle, Chapman and Graham took first in 1:59.32.

In Friday's NWC opener, the Whitman women, after trailing for most of the meet, sealed a thrilling 106-99 comeback victory by winning the final race, the 400-yard freestyle relay, in school-record time.

Meanwhile, the Missionary men led from start to finish in posting a 117-88 triumph over the Wildcats.

Whitman's high point came when as Flynn anchored a 400-yard freestyle relay squad that was victorious with a time of 3:42.95. The time broke a 17-year old Whitman record by .05 of a second.

Joining Flynn in the relay romp were three first-year teammates - Graham, Chapman and Jenne.

"We couldn't be more excited about the way this swim meet turned out, especially on the women's side," Whitman coach Jenn Blomme said. "In my mind, that's what a swim meet should be all about. Everyone excited and out of their seats, knowing that it all comes down to the final relay event.

"Everything worked out in our favor, but it wasn't luck," she added. "It was a lot of hard work and great performances all around."

With the women's meet hitting the stretch run, Graham won the 500-yard freestyle in 5:29.56 to pull Whitman within five points.

In the women's final individual event, Rebecca Ryle out dueled Linfield's Rhiannon Ladwig in the 200-yard breaststroke to give Whitman a 95-93 lead heading to the final relay. Ryle swam a 2:39.25, to nip Ladwig by less than seven-tenths of a second.

"We had talked a lot about how every point in this meet was going to count for something and make a difference," Blomme said of the narrow Missionary win. "I couldn't be more proud of the way our swimmers competed at a high level and rose to the occasion."

In the men's meet, Whitman took charge from the outset, winning the opening relay and the first three individual events to build a lead that lasted the rest of the evening.

Whitman's Nusse battled his way to victory over Linfield standout Dominic Rieniets in the 200-yard freestyle. Nusse won in 1:48.42.

"That was an awesome race for Jamie," Blomme said. "Dominic is an excellent swimmer."

Rieniets came back to turn the tables in the 100-yard freestyle, edging Nusse with a winning time of 48.37.

Dyer took two events for the Missionaries, winning the 1,000-yard freestyle in 10:26.11 and led a one-two Whitman finish in the 500-yard freestyle as Dyer won in 5:03.67, and Whitman's Chris Bendix finished second.

The Missionaries also went one-two in the 50 free. Lee touched first in 22.38, and Chang was the runner-up in 22.74.

In addition to the late heroics in the women's meet, Flynn won the 50 free in 24.45 and the 100 free in 55.54.

Graham, in addition to her win in the 500-yard freestyle, posted a victory in the 200 free in 2:00.07.

Chapman added a win for the women in the 200 fly with a swim of 2:15.41.

In the men's 400-yard medley relay, Whitman freshman Joey Gottlieb and sophomore Matt Liedtke joined forces with Lee and Dyer for a winning time of 3:53.82.

The men's 400 free relay of Molnar, Lee, Chang, and Nusse, added first place points for Whitman with a swim of 3:20.86.

The Missionary swimmers travel to Tacoma for a Saturday men's and women's NWC dual meet with PLU.


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