WALLA WALLA - Whitman College swimmers opened their Northwest Conference dual meet season with a pair of resounding victories over Lewis & Clark Friday night in the Harvey Pool at Baker Ferguson Fitness Center.
The Whitman men's team torpedoed its opposition 163-34 while the Missionary women dropped anchor on their Pioneer counterparts by a 136-63 margin.
"The women's dual wasn't as close as we expected, but they were missing some people for different reasons," Whitman coach Jenn Blomme said.
"They put up some good races, but as the season progresses, I think you'll see a stronger LC team."
First-year swimmer Ashley Jay paced the women's triumph by winning three individual races, starting with the 1,000-yard freestyle in 11:11.17.
Jay outswam her nearest competitor by more than a minute in the distance freestyle and then added victories in the 200-yard individual medley and 500-yard freestyle.
"Ashley really showed up to race tonight," Blomme said. "She had a close race in the 200 IM. She made a decisive move on the freestyle leg, and won it by over a second."
With Chris Bendix, Galen Sollom-Brotherton and Karl Mering each winning two races, Whitman made a clean sweep in the men's dual, winning all nine individual events and both relays.
The Whitman women were almost as dominant, winning eight of nine races and one of two relays.
Lewis & Clark's Taylor Coiner broke through to win the women's 200-yard backstroke - the evening's 15th event - with a time of 2:16.18.
Coiner and teammates Monica Castro, Kira McGieson and Kayla Ernewein also won the final relay, the 400-yard freestyle, in 3:46.76, nipping their Whitman opponents by less than six-tenths of a second.
In winning his two events, the 1,000-yard freestyle (10:30.92) and 200-yard breaststroke (2:17.71), Bendix led the Missionaries to a 1-2-3 sweep in both races.
Mering did the same with his victories in the 50-yard freestyle (22.13) and 200-yard butterfly (1:56.20).
Sollom-Brotherton was at the front of a Whitman sweep in the 200-yard freestyle, winning that event in 1:48.17. He also won the 500-yard freestyle in 4:46.68, beating the runner-up from Lewis & Clark by more than 24 seconds.
Other winners for the Whitman men were Mitchell Lee in the 100-yard freestyle (50.54), Paul Chang in the 200-yard individual medley (2:05.94), and Nic Win in the 200-yard backstroke (2:05.39).
Chang also was part of both victorious relay teams. Others swimming a leg on one of the relays were Matt Rowett, Shunei Asao, Mering, Sollom-Brotherton, Win and Lee.
Helen Jenne won twice for the Whitman women, taking the 50-yard freestyle in 25.48 and the 100-yard freestyle in 56.27.
Three more Missionary women added.
Genay Pilarowski won the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:30.23; Charlotte Graham was first in 200-yard freestyle in 2:01.89; and Katie Chapman touched first in the 200-yard butterfly in 2:14.97.
"That was a great early season time for Charlotte, and Genay was awesome in the the breakstroke," Blomme said. "That's her best-ever time."
Chapman and Pilarowski teamed with Keller Hawkins and Claire Collins to win the 400-yard medley relay in 4:12.50.
"We were well prepared for this meet, both in terms of where we are in our training, but even more importantly with our mental game," Blomme said.
"Race strategies were right on par, which really speaks to the maturity of this team given that it was the first night for the 1000 free and the 200 strokes.
Whitman stays at home Saturday to host a 1 p.m. NWC dual meet against Pacific.
Lewis & Clark is in Spokane, Saturday for a dual meet against Whitworth.