The Linfield swim team struggled to keep up with Whitman College and Whitworth University at meets on Nov. 2 and 3 in Walla Walla and Spokane, Wash.
Although the race times were close, Linfield’s men and women were edged out by Whitman, with final scores of 127-78 for the women, 14-62 for the men.
Placing first in four of the 22 events, the Wildcats swam hard to land close behind in many of the races.
Freshman Nikki Overton finished the 1,650-yard women’s freestyle in first with a time of 19:02. Sophomore Aidan Willers swam to first in the 1,650-yard men’s freestyle, clocking 18:58.
Sophomore Kelcie Kimura led the way with two wins. She finished first in the 200-yard women’s freestyle with a time of 2:01 and won the 100-yard women’s freestyle at 55.11.
Other Wildcats who swam fast and placed high include senior Megan Sandall, who placed second in the 50-yard women’s freestyle with a time of 26.28. She finished second in the 100-yard women’s freestyle at 57.40.
Junior Lee Rivers finished second in the 400-yard men’s IM at 4:29.
Junior transfer Daniel Pallacios finished third in both the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard freestyle with times of 24.11 and 52.06, respectively.
In the 100-yard women’s butterfly, senior Catherine Nakamura placed second at 1:04. For the men, senior Sean Iwamasa finished the race in second at 56.28.
Despite the close loss on Nov. 2, Willers said the team kept the positive energy coming.
“I think both days we swam really well. I saw lots of my teammates getting best times and putting in a great effort,” he said. “People were cheering for each other and providing encouragement for each other.”
Exhaustion from the day before proved to be a challenge for the swimmers in their meet against Whitworth on Nov. 3.
Whitworth dominated the results with final scores of 152-53 for the women and 172-32 for the men.
“Saturday was tough, being tired from Friday, but we still had some decent races,” Willers said.
Overton finished second with a time of 2:02 in the 200-yard women’s freestyle.
Kimura finished first in the 50-yard women’s freestyle at 25.54.
For the men, freshman Ian White swam to third with a time of 23.05.
Rivers clocked in at 2:04 to place third in the 200-yard men’s IM.
Senior Katie Main finished in second in the 200-yard women’s butterfly with a time of 2:17.
“[Whitman and Whitworth] are strong, resilient and fast. They have some good kids on their side and they put up a good fight,” Willers said.
For many swimmers on the team, maintaining technique and speed while tired is one of the biggest challenges. This especially can be said for those who swim the 160-yard race, which consists of 66 laps.
“Some of us need to focus on getting our technique correct when we tire out,” Willers said. “As a distance swimmer, I understand this completely. It is so hard to do simple things 40 laps into your 1,650. Every little detail becomes a struggle.”
The Wildcats will swim again Nov. 9 and 10 against Pacific Lutheran University and Puget Sound University, this time at their home pool.
Kelsey Sutton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.