Looking to improve upon a women’s seventh place and a men’s sixth place finish at the Northwest Conference, the Linfield swimming squads are optimistic about their potential during 2012-13.
The Wildcats are geared toward placing among the top four teams with individual expectations of setting new personal records along the way.
The women feature a bit more depth than the men’s, according to Wildcats assistant coach Reid Kimura.
“We’ve had a good freshman class come in for both teams. They’re very versatile. Nikki Overton and Liz Fry are both very versatile swimmers. We can have them do distance or the individual medley, for example. We can put them anywhere and have them score points,” said Kimura. “On the men’s side, Ian White is a really strong swimmer. He’s versatile in the butterfly, backstroke, the individual medley and in both distance and sprints.”
The Wildcats graduated just three seniors from last season’s club and the vast majority of the roster returns stronger and faster than a year ago.
Confidence, said Kimura, is the only element the Wildcats are lacking.
“All meets are winnable,” he said. “We just need to believe that we can compete and really take our depth and ability to the next level.”
If the Wildcats can gain footing and confidence, Kimura believes the women’s team has the opportunity to win every dual meet this year, based on the depth of the team.
Having four seniors doesn’t hurt those odds either. Rhiannon Ladwig, Catherine Nakamura, Megan Sandall and Maria Schwarz are all swimming their final seasons as Wildcats and their leadership is invaluable. Junior captain Katie Main also provides a steadying influence to the team.
The men have just one senior, Miles Phillips. He, along with Ian Coker, Chris Mapp, Sean Iwamasa, and captains Lee Rivers and Chris Purdy, provides the necessary experience for the men. Kimura has faith in their ability and versatility, but could still use additional depth in certain events.
The Wildcats will use a string of dual meets to prepare for the Northwest Conference Championships, Feb. 8-10, at the King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash.