Missionaries swim to second at NWC Relays

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PORTLAND — Whitman College’s men’s and women’s swim teams combined for a second-place finish here Sunday at Lewis & Clark College during the Northwest Conference Relays.

Sunday’s competition came one day after the Missionary men finished first and the women fourth in the Northwest Conference Sprint Pentathlon at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore. The two days of swimming launched the 2012-13 season for NWC schools.

“Sunday’s meet was unusual in that there were events we don’t normally swim, like the 3X300 freestyle and several co-ed relays,” Whitman coach Jennifer Blomme noted.

Whitman men teamed up to win two relay races, the women won once and two mixed relay team came in first.

Will Erickson, Nic Win and Karl Mering swam to first in the 300 men’s backstroke in 2 minutes, 42.90 seconds, and Paul Chang, Galen Sollom-Brotherton and Win took the 300 medley relay in 2:47.44. Cameo Hlebasko, Libby Arnosti and Kendra Clinton won the women’s 300 backstroke in 3:08.07.

In the mixed-race victory, Helen Jenne, Shunei Asao, Hlebasko and Mering were first in the 200 freestyle in 1:34.41 and Mering, Jenne, Hlebasko and Sollom-Brotherton finished first in the 400 freestyle in 3:26.57.

“In six other events we finished in the top three,” Blomme said. “The relay format does speak to a team’s depth, so we are pretty excited to fare so well this weekend against the conference.”

In Saturday’s pentathlon, swimmers competed in five short-distance races: 50-meter butterfly, 50 backstroke, 50 breaststroke, 50 freestyle and 100 individual medley. Swimmers were also graded based on cumulative times for all five events.

Whitman’s men totaled 268.66 points in taking first place while the Missionary women accumulated 121.5 points for fourth place. The women were just six points out of third place.

“This was a great opener for our season,” she said. “Although the format is unusual and does not perfectly predict how we will fare in our dual-meet competition, we learned a lot about ourselves and the competition.

“With our first-place finishes plus the top male finisher of the meet, five men in the top 25 and four women, we have a lot to be proud of.”

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