The Wildcat men’s and women’s swim teams started the season off Oct. 28 and 29 in Spokane, Wash., against the other six conference swim teams.
The meet consisted of more than 200 swimmers, creating a fun bonding experience for the Linfield swim teams.
The first day of the meet, the swimmers competed in a sprint pentathlon. Each swimmer swam the 100-yard individual medley, the 50-yard butterfly, the 50-yard backstroke, the 50-yard breast stroke and the 50-yard freestyle.
The women’s team sent 25 competitors to the meet.
For the first event of the meet, the women’s 100-yard individual medley, the top Wildcat competitor was freshman Kelcie Kimura, who swam the event in 1:05.95. Kimura placed 13th out of 109 places.
The women’s second event was the 50-yard butterfly, where sophomore Natalie Groat tied for 16th place, with a time of 29.18.
For the women’s 50-yard backstroke, Linfield sophomore Maggie May received 13th place finishing the race in 30.6 seconds.
Placing the highest of all the women in the meet for the Wildcats was freshman Brandi Halemano in the 50-yard breaststroke who came in 7th place with a time of 33.7 seconds.
In the final women’s event, the 50-yard freestyle, Kimura placed 27th finishing the race in 27.14 seconds.
Overall, the first day ended with Linfield women’s team in 6th of the seven teams.
Freshman MacKenzie Green said that the team has pushed to reduce its times.
“We’re did well considering our last two weeks of practice, we’re working really hard to improve times and get faster,” Green said. “The last two weeks have been hard with us going hard the first week, and the second week was for recovery but we still went hard.”
Swimming the same events, the men’s team fared just as well as the women’s.
The men’s top competitor for the entire meet was sophomore Lee Rivers, who placed 16th and finished the race in 57.84 seconds in 100-yard individual medley.
Rivers also placed the highest for the 50-yard butterfly, finishing in 17th place with a time of 25.57.
He also finished 20th for the 50-yard backstroke and finished 34th for the 50-yard freestyle.
The top competitor for the 50-yard breaststroke was junior Seth Ruwitch who placed 5th with a time of 29.34 seconds.
Rivers said that the combination of new skill and seasoned talent creates a team with a solid dynamic.
“I feel like everyone has high hopes for the team this season,” Rivers said. “We got a lot of new talent that came in this year, and all the returning swimmers want to see them swim fast. Most of all, though, I care about holding on to the great team dynamic we’ve developed already this season.”
The second day of the competition was made up of relays.
Green described the relay meet as a “fun meet.” The day was filled with bonding, “but with being on a bus so long, what else can you do?”
In starting the season, the Wildcats welcomed 21 freshmen to the team.
With the team off to a good start, Rivers said that having all these new swimmers will create new opportunities for everyone.
“We have a huge number of new swimmers that came on the team this year, and they bring with them a lot of advantages,” Rivers said. “The added number of swimmers allows for more people to do events that they are best in. With a limited number of swims in a meet, this frees up people to compete in their fast races.”
Both the men’s and women’s teams finished the relay meet in 6th place out of the seven teams, but left the meet feeling much more like a family.
Green said that in addition to getting faster times, the team has worked on connecting as a group of athletes and as a family with shared goals.
“We’ve been bonding more and more, getting closer and becoming a family and breaking down social barriers,” Green said. “Everyone is supporting each other, and we’re all pushing each other.”
The Wildcats will swim Nov. 11 and 12 in Tacoma, Wash., against Pacific Lutheran University and Puget Sound University.
Kaylyn Peterson/Sports editor
Kaylyn Peterson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.