The WU swim team kept pushing themselves to the limit during winter break, resulting in two rewarding wins against George Fox University and Pacific University. In the most recent swimming meet against second place Linfield College, which was also senior night, the Bearcats put up a strong fight, but could not come out on top. The seniors who were highlighted in their final regular season competition were Owen Davis, Mykah Fujuwara, Nick Leibman, Anna Burdine, Rachel Harvill and Kiley Lin. Last year, Davis broke his college record in the 200-yard individual medley, which makes his next and final race exciting. Fujiwara recently broke his personal best in the 100-yard breaststroke and is looking to capitalize in the upcoming Northwest Conference tournament (NWC). Leibman who is one of the team captains has led the team to a competitive season. Burdine has shown remarkable improvements in her 400-yard individual medley time (nearly 18 seconds from her first-year record to this current season). Harvill is predicted to perform well as she has been able to improve each year in the NWC Championship tournament. Lin holds the record time for the women’s 100 and 200-yard backstrokes and 100-yard butterfly at Willamette and was a part of the team which set the 200 and 400-yard medley relay record time.
Linfield won the men’s competition, 119-86, and women’s competition, 130- 74. Lin won the women’s 100-yard butterfly. Junior Niki Kates earned first place in the 100-yard women’s backstroke. Sophomore Evan Segimoto led the first-second-third finish in the men’s 50-yard freestyle. Sophomore Ben Fritz won the men’s 500-yard freestyle. Fujiwara won the men’s 100-yard breaststroke.
A few weeks ago, when most WU students were home, on Friday, Jan. 11, the men’s and women’s swimming teams won against George Fox in a NWC dual meet. The WU women’s team won their match against the Bruins for a 105-92 victory. WU’s men’s team also won with a 102 margin, 144-42. The Bruins only had eight men on their roster, which gave the Bearcats an advantage throughout the race.
On the following day, Jan. 12, WU went to Portland, OR to face Lewis & Clark College at the Zehntbauer Swimming Pavilion. The Pioneer’s women’s team were victorious, defeating the Bearcats 145-60. WU’s men’s team very narrowly lost to the Pioneers, 108-94. Fujiwara won two events for WU placing first in the men’s 200-yard individual medley and the 200-yard breaststroke. He also played an important role in helping the 400-yard medley relay team win the event.
On Jan. 18 the Bearcats returned home and were successful against Pacific University. The men’s team overcame the Boxers 110-42, while the women’s team scraped by 105-80. Pacific only had five men on their roster that were competing, therefore, the men’s team went unopposed in multiple events.
Junior Colin Hakeman won three events for the men’s team, the 1,650-yard freestyle, 400-yard individual medley and 200-yard backstroke. Burdine and Harvill each won two events for WU’s women’s team. Harvill won the 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle. Burdine achieved a close finish in the 1,650-yard freestyle, keeping Julia Crumb of Pacific behind her to secure the win. Burdine also took first place in the 500-yard women’s freestyle and set up a WU sweep of the top three places in that event.
First-year Min Wei won the women’s 100-yard breaststroke and was a part of the team that won the 200-yard medley relay in the swim meet on Jan. 19 against the University of Puget Sound. Unfortunately, the Loggers were able to defeat the men’s team 143-60 and women’s team 137-67.
The Willamette swimming team will be racing at Weyerhaeuser King Country Aquatic Center in Federal Way, WA between Feb. 7-10. In these four days, the Bearcats will compete on the biggest stage yet, as they will be racing against all NWC schools to battle for the championship.