The men’s and women’s swimming teams displayed an impressive performance on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 1 and 2, taking first in the 2018 Bruin Invitational. The invitational was hosted by George Fox University at the Chehalem Aquatic Center. It featured Willamette, George Fox, Pacific University and Mills College, with the latter only competing in the women’s races.
On day one, WU swimmers collectively won first place in nine of 16 events to take a commanding lead in the competition, 910(WU) – 601(George Fox) – 470(Pacific) – 149(Mills). The scores are calculated by adding up the points obtained from each event. First place individual finishes are worth 20 points while first-place team races are worth 40 points. The men’s team ended day one with 518 points. George Fox completed the first day’s events with 222 and Pacific with 149. The margin of WU’s lead in the women’s events were much smaller as WU held a 13-point lead over George Fox, 392-379. Pacific had 319 points, while Mills had 149.
The women’s team started the day off with the 200-yard freestyle relay where WU’s “A” team took second place, just one second behind George Fox’s “A” team. First-year Min Wei, senior Kiley Lin, sophomore Claire Johnson and senior Rachel Harvill were all part of this team. In the 100-yard butterfly race, Lin and junior Niki Kates took third and fourth, finishing 0.01 seconds apart from each other and 0.06 seconds behind the second-place finisher from George Fox. Wei and sophomore Cameron Taggesell finished in second and third in the 200-yard breaststroke. Lin took second in the 200-yard backstroke, finishing 0.02 seconds before the third-place finisher, Morgan Leishman from Mills.
Kates took first place in the 200-yard individual medleys with a time of 2:14.72. Senior Anna Burdine took first in the 500-yard freestyle, finishing about 10 seconds before the next racer.
In the final race of the day for the women’s team, the 400-yard medley relays, the WU “A” team took first. Kates, Wei, Lin and senior Rachel Harvill shared the victory while finishing with a time of 4:10.22, about eight seconds before Pacific’s “A” team.
The men’s team started the day off on the right foot, winning the 200-yard freestyle relay. Senior Ben Fritz, first-year Keaton Adams, junior Jacob Hulti and sophomore Evan Segimoto shared the victory. They completed the race two seconds before the second place George Fox with a time of 1:30.07. Senior Derek Ludwig and sophomore Daniel Fang took first and second place in the next men’s event, the 100-yard butterfly. Junior Ben Hedman and senior Mykah Fujiwara finished in first and second in the 200-yard breaststroke, just 0.68 seconds apart from each other.
In the men’s 200-yard backstroke race, junior Colin Hakeman took second while first-year Robbie Daugherty took fourth. In the 100-yard freestyle, Fang finished 0.18 seconds behind the first place finisher, Aukai Kea from George Fox. The men’s 200-yard individual medley was a successful event for the WU as Hedman, Ludwig and Fujiwara took first, second and third, respectively. Fritz and Hakeman finished in first and second in the 500-yard freestyle. To end the day, the Bearcats swept the competition in the 400-yard medley relay. WU’s “A” team, which featured Ludwig, Fujiwara, Hedman and Fritz, completed the race in 3:4478. WU’s “B” team, which featured Otani, senior Owen Davis, Fang and junior Jacob Hulti, finished in second place with a time of 3:58.70.
On the second day of the invitational, the Bearcats finished strong, winning 13 out of 18 events to bring their win total to 22 out of 34 through both days. WU increased their leads in all aspects of the competition to sweep the competition. WU’s combined team scores topped off at 1902, leaving George Fox, who had 1295, in the dust. Pacific finished with 470 and Mills with 345. The women’s team finished with 866 points, while George Fox finished with 825. Mills surpassed Pacific in the second day to finish in third place with 345; Pacific finished with 319. The men’s team blew out the competition, scoring 1036 points, more than doubling George Fox’s 470 points.
The women’s team started the second day off strong with a first-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay. Pierson, Wei, Lin and Harvill finished quickly in 1:52.65, which was about five seconds before George Fox. Burdine and junior Jensine Rasmussen finished in first and second in the 400-yard individual medley. Wei took first place in the 100-yard breaststroke.
WU swimmers Kates, Lin and Pierson placed in first, second and third in the 100-yard backstroke. Lin beat out George Fox’s Kenzie Machutta in a 1v1 competition in the 200-yard butterfly. Burdine took first place in the lengthy 1650-yard freestyle, while sophomore Britt Mitchell took fourth. In the women’s final event of the day, the 400-yard freestyle relay, the “A” team took second place. George Fox ended up taking first with a time of 3:45.55, which was about three seconds faster than WU.
The men’s team began day two with a close victory in the 200-yard medley relay. Ludwig, Fujiwara, Fang and Fritz edged out George Fox by a second. Hedman and Hakeman were the only two racers in the 400-yard individual medley; consequently, they took first and second place. Segimoto and Hulti took second and third in the 50-yard freestyle, with Segimoto finishing just 0.52 seconds behind the first place finisher. Fujiwara took first place in the 100-yard breaststroke with a comfortable two-second lead over the second-place finisher Zach Johnson of George Fox.
The 200-yard freestyle featured seven WU swimmers and one George Fox swimmer. Fritz, Fang, junior Alex Hougan, first-year Greg Wells, Hulti, Daugherty and Segimoto all finished before the lone Seth Chambers of George Fox. Hedman and Ludwig took first and second in the 200-yard butterfly. Hakeman, Daugherty and Otani took first through third in the 1650-yard freestyle race. In the final event of the competition, the 400-yard freestyle relay, WU’s “A” and “B” teams took first and second.
The swimmers will return to the waters next year on Jan. 11 and 12, 2019. They will be facing George Fox in Newberg, OR and Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR.