Whitman swimmers open NWC Championships

The Missionary men are in third and the women fourth after the first day of the meet.

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GRESHAM, Ore. - The highlights were many for the Whitman College swim teams as day one of the Northwest Conference Championships came to a close Friday night at Mount Hood Community College.

Sophomore Katie Chapman won the 200-yard individual medley (IM), obliterating the school record she set in the preliminaries, and helped the Missionary women destroy a school record in the 400-yard medley relay.

The Whitman women, who also set a new school record in the 200-yard freestyle relay, finished the day in fourth place in the team scoring, just seven points out of third.

Meanwhile on the men's side, the Missionaries took a firm grip on third place in the team scoring as sophomore Kevin Dyer lowered his school record in the 500-yard freestyle while his teammates broke a school record in one of the relays.

Whitworth is the first-day leader in the men's team scoring with 289.5 points.

The Puget Sound men are second with 167 points, followed by Whitman with 143.5 and Pacific Lutheran with 86.

Filling the last three spots are Pacific 80, Lewis & Clark 75, and Linfield 52.

Whitworth also jumped in front in the women's team scoring with 254 points.

The women from Puget Sound and Lewis & Clark are next in line with 172 and 138 points, respectively, with Whitman on their heels with 131 points.

Trailing are Pacific 81, Pacific Lutheran 64, Linfield 50, and Willamette 47.

After posting the top 200 IM time in the afternoon preliminaries, Chapman left no doubt in winning the evening finals in 2:09.79, beating her nearest competitor by more than 1.6 seconds.

In becoming Whitman's first conference champion since 2008, Chapman whacked a total of 4.2 seconds off the previous Missionary school record.

Chapman also teamed with sophomore Helen Jenne and first-year Missionaries Keller Hawkins and Claire Collins to place third in 400-yard medley relay in a time of 3:58.71. That slashed more than seven seconds off the school record set in 2006 and matched in 2007.

Earlier in the session, Keller and Jenne joined senior Lauren Flynn and first-year swimmer Ellen Banks to take third in the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:39.62.

That clipped more than 1.5 seconds off a record set last year by a foursome that included Flynn and Jenne.

Whitman came within a fingertip of adding a conference title in the men's 200-yard medley, where senior Jamie Nusse, junior Mitchell Lee, sophomore Paul Chang and freshman Shunei Asao placed second in a school record 1:26.14.

They finished just four one-hundredths of a second behind the winning relay quartet from Whitworth.

Nusse and Lee were part of the relay team that set the previous school record (1:26.31) in 2009.

The Whitman men just missed another school record in the 400-yard medley relay.

Nusse, Chang and Asao teamed with junior Matt Liedtke, placing third in 3:35.46, less than two-tenths of a second off the school mark set in 2008.

Dyer finished fifth in the men's 500-yard freestyle in 4:42.37, which dropped his own school record by five one-hundredths of a second.

Junior Chris Bendix was seventh in 4:51.45.

Freshman Elliott Crane swam in the consolation finals of the 500 free, placing 15th in 5:08.36.

The men's team got fourth-place finishes from both Nusse in the 50-yard freestyle (21.63) and Chang in the 200-yard IM (1:56.53).

Chang moved into second place on Whitman's Top 10 list for that event, missing a 16-year-old school record set by one-tenth of a second.

Nusse had company in the 50 free, where Lee took fifth in 21.65.

That leaves Lee in third-place on Whitman's Top 10 list, one spot behind the time Nusse posted in the afternoon preliminaries.

Asao posted his career-best time in the consolation finals of the 50 free, placing 11th in 22.33, just one one-hundredth of a second behind two swimmers who tied for ninth place.

His time moves him into eighth place on the Whitman Top 10 list.

Jenne and Flynn placed sixth and eighth, respectively, in the women's 50-yard freestyle with times of 24.72 and 25.07.

Hawkins and Banks swam in the consolation finals, finishing 12th and 13th, respectively, in 25.28 and 25.33.

Based on earlier times, Flynn is first and Jenne second on Whitman's Top 10 list for the event, but Friday's times moved Hawkins and Banks into the fifth and sixth spots.

Sophomore Charlotte Graham won the consolation finals in the women's 500-yard freestyle, placing ninth overall in 5:16.65. That time moves her from fourth to third on the Top 10 list.

Collins was 14th (5:28.01) and first-year teammates Melanie Notari 15th (5:28.75) also placed in the consolation finals of the 500-yard free.

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