GRESHAM, Ore. - It's not easy to do in a big pool of water, but sophomore Katie Chapman continued to set the Whitman College swim world ablaze with another school record and first-place performance in Saturday morning's preliminaries of the Northwest Conference Championships in Gresham, Ore.
But Chapman's conflagration was just one of brush fires lit by the fired-up Missionaries.
Paul Chang, Keller Hawkins, Claire Collins and Genay Pilarowski also broke school records while placing high in the preliminaries of their events.
Chapman posted the morning's best time (57.75) in the 100-yard butterfly, breaking the previous school record (58.16) set by Erin Pettersen in 2008.
Her time also met the provisional standard for next month's NCAA Division III national championships.
Chapman, who won the 200-yard individual medley (IM) yesterday while setting a new school record, will go for her second NWC individual event title in tonight's finals of the 100-yard butterfly.
If she can lower her time to 56.24, Chapman will earn a guaranteed spot in the NCAA championships.
She will be joined in the finals tonight by first-year teammate Melanie Notari, who had the seventh-best time (1:00.85) in the morning preliminaries. That time vaults Notari into third place on Whitman's all-time Top 10 list for the event.
Chang, a sophomore, busted through the one-minute barrier in placing second in the prelims of the men's 100-yard breaststroke in 59.85. That clipped more than two-tenths of a second off his own school record, which he set earlier this season.
Chang will be joined in the championship finals tonight by junior Mitchell Lee, who was sixth in a career-best 1:01.25, and senior Nick Wood, who was seventh in 1:01.34.
Seniors Chad Trexler (12th, 1:03.77) and Brian Wakefield (13th, 1:05.25) will score team points for Whitman in tonight's consolation finals of the 100-yard breaststroke.
Hawkins, one of the talented first-year swimmers on the women's team, also broke through the one-minute mark in the 100-yard backstroke. She placed fifth (four-tenths of a second out of third) in the prelims with a time of 59.82. That broke the school record set by Nancy Alexander in 2006.
Sophomore Libby Arnosti advanced to the consolation finals of the 100-yard breaststroke, placing 10th in the prelims in 1:03.12, a time that moves her into fourth place on Whitman's Top 10 list for that event.
Collins and Pilarowski, two more first-year swimmers, finished third and fourth, respectively, the 100-yard breaststroke prelims with times of 1:07.65 and 1:07.97. Both of those times eclipsed the school record (1:08.40) set in 2004 by Alexis Jinbo-Doran.
In advancing to the finals tonight, Collins and Pilarowski (first-year sophomore) were little more than one second off the top time clocked in the morning prelims.
Whitman sophomore Charlotte Graham will also take a shot at an NWC title in tonight's finals of the 200-yard freestyle. Graham posted this morning's second-best time (1:58.61), finishing just one-half second off the pace set by a Whitworth swimmer.
Graham's career-best time in the 200 free is 1:56.43.
Three of Graham's teammates will swim in tonight's consolation finals (9-16). Sophomore Helen Jenne was 12th in the preliminaries in 2:00.68. Senior Lauren Flynn was 14th and first-year Missionary Ellen Banks 16th.
Graham and Flynn already sit in second and third on Whitman's Top 10 list for that event, but Jenne's prelim time moves her into the list as well. Banks is on the cusp in the 11th spot.
On the men's side, senior Jamie Nusse and sophomore Kevin Dyer are in the hunt for tonight's title in the men's 200-yard freestyle. Nusse was third in the preliminaries in 1:44.07 while Dyer was fourth in 1:45.91. Both swimmers came close to their career-best times.
In other early results from today's preliminaries, Wood in the 400-yard individual medley (4:19.45) and junior Matt Liedtke in the 100-yard butterfly (53.38) placed seventh to advance to the championship finals of their events.
Junior Chris Bendix (12th, 4:24.63) and Trexler (14th, 4:34.16) will swim in tonight's consolation finals of the 400 IM.
Senior Nate Wells just missed the consolation finals of the 100-yard butterfly, placing 17th in the prelims. Freshman Colin Orr and sophomore Tyler Hurlburt were 19th and 22nd, respectively.
Three Whitman swimmers qualified this morning for tonight's consolation finals of the men's 100-yard backstroke. Freshman Shunei Asao placed 10th in the prelims in 57.35 while sophomores Andrew Roehrig and Adam Brayton placed 12th and 16th, respectively, in 59.30 and 1:02.53.
Freshman Elliott Crane advanced to the consolation finals of the 200-yard freestyle, placing 15th in the prelims in 1:52.39. Roehrig finished just out of the money in the 17th spot with a time of 1:53.78. Senior Eliot Stone was 21st.
Senior Natalie Reilly made the consolations in the 400-yard IM, finishing 13th in the prelims in 5:14.53.
Sophomore Cari Cortez slipped in the 100-yard breaststroke consolations, placing 16th in 1:13.22. Sophomore Rebecca Ryle and junior Monica Boshart were less fortunate, placing 19th and 20th, respectively. Junior Alyssa Bader was 25th in the prelims.
While Pilarowshi made the championship finals as noted in the breaststroke, she just missed in the women's 100-yard butterfly. She finished 17th in 1:04.03.
Sophomore Sara Behrens just missed the consolation finals of 100-yard backstroke. She was 18th in the prelims in 1:07.40.
The swim championships are taking place at Mt. Hood Community College.