Linfield’s men’s and women’s swim teams competed in their season opener against all of the Northwest Conference teams Oct. 29 and 30. Friday’s sprint meet was held at Willamette University, while Saturday’s relay races took place at home.
Swimmers said that the meet provided them an opportunity to scope out the competition for the season and see what teams will be the strongest.
“Everyone participates in the same races, so it’s a great meet to watch teams compete,” freshman Lee Rivers said.
The men’s and women’s team placed sixth out of seven and had a team score of 48, which set them at sixth place. Whitworth University swept the races, taking first place on both the men’s and women’s sides and ending with a combined score of 186.
“Whitworth will be our hardest competition,” senior Tyler Huynh said. “They have a huge team.”
With only 11 swimmers on the men’s side, most being underclassmen, the team is going to look to the veterans for leadership and to the newcomers for fresh talent. Huynh and juniors Conor Colahan and Marc Pereira will be the only upperclassmen competing this season. Although the men’s team is small and young, it plans on working hard and developing skills to compete against hard competition.
The women’s team has a larger roster of 26, with many newcomers as well. Senior Adriana Daoust, sophomores Stephanie Longmate and Katie Main and freshmen Natalie Groat and Nicole Paulachak will contribute greatly to team success this season.
“The freshmen are looking great. I want to be supportive for the newcomers,” Daoust said. “I want us to have the best sportsmanship and attitude in the pool.”
With all of the young swimmers, the teams plan to use to their advantage.
Head coach Gary Gutierrez is in his 13th season. Both teams enjoy his laid-back coaching methods and his confidence in his athletes.
“He has a great coaching style,” Huynh said. “He’s very helpful with his teaching techniques and drills.”
This season will bring the Wildcats a lot of competition, but both teams plan to improve times and place higher at conference than in previous years.
“The team dynamics are really good. We have great team chemistry,” Rivers said. “I’m excited to watch everyone improve throughout the season.”
The Wildcats will host their next meet at 1 p.m. Nov. 6. The women’s team will compete against Mills College and College of Idaho, and the men will also compete against College of Idaho.
“We competed against College of Idaho last year,” Daoust said. “They provide good competition, and it’s a great meet to start the season off with.”
Katey Barger/Staff reporter
Katey Barger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.