WALLA WALLA — The Whitman College men’s swim team removed a large albatross from its back with a 102-101 dual meet victory over the University of Puget Sound Friday night in the Harvey Pool at Baker Ferguson Fitness Center.
It is the first time Whitman has splashed past the Logger men since Puget Sound joined the Northwest Conference in 1997.
"How do we feel about winning?" asked Whitman coach Jenn Blomme. "It’s awesome. It was absolutely a total team effort. Every single point and fraction of a second made the difference.
"Our team showed tonight it’s not content with the improvements we’ve made in recent years. We’re going to keep challenging those at the top. Tonight’s enthusiasm and intensity is exactly what we intend to bring to the conference championships in two weeks."
Meanwhile, in the women’s meet, Whitman notched a number of season-best times but was no match for their Puget Sound counterparts, the defending NWC champions. The Loggers won 152-53.
With its razor-thin win, the Whitman men finished its dual-meet season with its best-ever record at 6-1 in the NWC and 7-1 overall.
The Whitman women slipped to 5-2 in the NWC and 6-2 overall.
Freshman Kevin Dyer and sophomore Chris Bendix had a big night for the Missionary men, placing first and second, respectively, in both the 1,000-yard freestyle and 500-yard freestyle.
Later in the meet, Dyer won the 500-yard freestyle in 4:56.48. Bendix was less than nine seconds back in second place.
Jamie Nusse, a junior who missed last Saturday’s meet due to illness, added a Whitman victory in the 200-yard freestyle, winning in 1:50.23.
With the men’s dual meet still in doubt headed to the final relay, the 400-yard freestyle, Whitman teams finished first and second to collect 15 points and edge the Loggers in the final team total.
Highlights for the Whitman women included a victory in the 200-yard individual medley by first-year standout Charlotte Graham, who was swimming the event for first time this season.
Graham’s winning time was 2:17.03, almost two seconds ahead of her nearest competitor, and it moves her into fifth place on Whitman’s all-time Top 10 list for that event.