Linfield Wildcats
February 14, 2014
NWC Championships underway
Friday Prelims
Friday Finals
NWC Championship Website

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. – Elizabeth Fry (Jr., Bellevue, Idaho) and Lee Rivers made noticeable drops in time, highlighting the first day of competition for the Linfield Wildcats at the 2014 Northwest Conference Championships here at King County Aquatic Center.

Fry won the consolation final of the women's 500-yard freestyle, trimming more than five seconds off her best time to finish in 5:16.43. Good for ninth place and nine team points, Fry topped her previous best mark of 5:21.78.

Linfield's women's relay swam to a sixth-place showing in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:41.54, a three-second improvement over the foursome's entry time. The men's 200 freestyle relay followed suit in 1:34.83, bettering its previous best effort by a full nine seconds.

Battling a respiratory infection, Linfield speedster Nikki Overton (Jr., Gresham, Ore.) struggled to a sixth-place finish in her specialty, the 500 freestyle. Her time of 5:15.45 was a half-second slower than her clocking in the morning preliminaries (5:14.99).

“Nikki and Liz are struggling with some illness and had rough morning swims,” said Wildcats coach Gary Gutierrez.

Rivers was at his career best, coming within .45 seconds of breaking the school record in the preliminaries of the men's 200 individual medley in 1:56.06. The Linfield senior went on to snare eighth place in Friday night's finals, racing to a mark of 1:56.42. Though his finals mark was a shade slower than his morning time, both efforts were faster, respectively, than what he achieved at the NWC Championships a year ago.

“That's a good way to start the (NWC Championships) his senior year,” said Gutierrez.

In the night's final event, the men's 400 medley relay, Ian White (Jr., Kailua, Hawaii) clocked 52.4 seconds during his butterfly leg, a time which could well contend for a spot in Saturday's individual finals, said Gutierrez.

And in the women's 200 IM, Tori Nickerson (Sr., Oak Harbor, Wash.) was 16th in the morning preliminaries in 2:16.57, but followed that with a mark of 2:18.27 in the finals, also good for 16th.

“Coming back to swim well in the night session is the big challenge of a meet like this one,” said Gutierrez about his team's twilight struggles. “Swimming well twice in the same day is just a hard, hard thing to do, especially if you are battling some illness. Nonetheless, it was a good first day.”

After the first day, Linfield's women rank seventh in the team standings with 65 points while the Wildcat men are eighth with 33 points.

Friday was not without some pitfalls. Maggie May, Linfield's best hope for success in the women's 200 IM, was disqualified for an illegal turn. And the men's medley relay was penalized for a bad butterfly-to-freestyle exchange. Despite protests, the two disqualifications cost the Wildcats needed points, especially on the women's side, where Linfield is a scant five points back of Willamette for fifth place after Day 1.

Action resumes Saturday with preliminaries in seven events starting at 10 a.m. followed by finals at 6 p.m.

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Lee Rivers
Turns in two fastest races in 200 IM

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Phone: 503-883-2439
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