Masei and Tallman Place 2nd in 200-yard Breaststroke Events at CAT Senior Open

Alika Masei (Jr., Salem, OR/West Salem HS
Alika Masei (Jr., Salem, OR/West Salem HS

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Alika Masei (Jr., Salem, OR/West Salem HS) and Cassie Tallman (Jr., Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS) each recorded a second place finish in the 200-yard breaststroke events at the Corvallis Senior Open on Saturday, Dec. 3 at the Osborn Aquatic Center. The Bearcats were competing against swimmers from many area club teams.

Masei was second in the men's 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:11.58 in the "A" final. Anzo DeGiulio won the event by 0.70, as he touched out at 2:10.88.

Tallman finished second in the women's 200-yard breaststroke. Her time in the "A" final was 2:27.32, which ranks third all-time for the Bearcats. Tallman now holds the top five times on Willamette's list.

The winning swimmer in the women's 200 breaststroke was Hannah Bodkin from the host Corvallis Aquatic Team in 2:23.63. Bodkin and Tallman also placed 1-2 in the 100-yard breaststroke final on Friday.

In Saturday's "A" finals, Masei and Tallman were joined by Willamette teammates Reuben White (Jr., Portland, OR/Westview HS) and Derek Ludwig (Fr., Moraga, CA/Campolindo HS). White competed in the top final of the men's 200-yard freestyle, while Ludwig competed in the "A" final of the men's 100-yard butterfly.

The Bearcats also were represented by six athletes in a total of seven "B" finals and by four athletes in a total of four "C" finals on Saturday.

Preliminary heats were held in the morning, with the finals in the evening. During Saturday's prelims, Willamette swimmers recorded 88% season-best times, while earning 13 career-best performances.

White took fourth place in the "A" final of the men's 200-yard freestyle, as he completed the race in 1:47.01. Ludwig was eighth in the "A" final of the men's 100-yard butterfly. His time was 53.65 seconds.

Mark Yuvienco (Jr., San Jose, CA/Bellarmine College Prep) participated in two "B" finals for the Bearcats on Saturday. He took ninth place in the 100-yard butterfly, as he won the "B" race in 52.59 seconds.  He was 12th in the 400-yard individual medley with a time of 4:27.36.

In the women's "B" final of the 200-yard breaststroke, Ashlyn Witherwax (Jr., Honolulu, HI/Punahou School) of Willamette placed 10th overall with a time of 2:31.43.

Other swimmers for Willamette in the "B" finals were Masei, White, Ludwig and Jason Bayang (Sr., Wahiawa, HI/Hoala School).

Bayang placed 11th in the men's 200-yard breaststroke after touching out at 2:17.37. White was 12th in the men's 100-yard butterfly after recording a time of 53.15 seconds. Ludwing took 13th place in the men's 200-yard freestyle at 1:49.72. Masei finished 16th in the men's 200-yard backstroke in 2:11.45.

Bearcats who swam in the "C" finals were Niki Kates (Fr., Truckee, CA/Forest Charter School), Mykah Fujiwara (So., Kaneohe, HI/Punahou School), Shelby Merrill (Sr., Thousand Oaks, CA/Westlake HS) and Ben Hedman (Fr., Davis, CA/Davis HS).

Hedman was 18th overall in the men's 400-yard individual medley. He registered a time of 4:27.06 in the "C" final.

Kates achieved 19th place in the women's 200-yard backstroke. Her time was 2:13.10.

Merrill finished 19th in the men's 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:49.55. Fujiwara completed the "C" final in the men's 200-yard breaststroke in 2:19.36 and was 22nd overall.

The 400-yard freestlye relay events also were held on Saturday. Willamette's top relays placed 11th out of 25 teams in the men's race and 12th out of 30 teams in the women's race.

Swimming for WU in the men's 400 freestyle realy were Bayang, Colin Hakeman (Fr., Bellingham, WA/Sehome HS), Fujiwara and Gabriel Hartnell (So., Hawthorne, CA/Da Vinci Science). They earned a time of 3:25.44.

In the women's 400 freestyle relay, Willamette's top team included Rachel Harvill (So., Alamo, CA/Monte Vista HS), Kate Harvey (Jr., Atlantic Beach, FL/Duncan Fletcher HS), Jamie Johnson (Jr., Seattle, WA/Nathan Hale HS) and Tallman. Their combined time was 3:47.43.

The Corvallis Senior Open concluded Willamette's first semester competition schedule. The Bearcats will not compete again until January.