By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- Wilamette University swimmers took fourth place twice, sixth place twice, and eighth place twice during the championship finals on Saturday, Feb. 9 at the 2019 Northwest Conference Swimming Championships. The meet, which is being held at the Weyerhaueser King County Aquatic Center, will conclude on Sunday, Feb. 10.
Colin Hakeman (Jr., Bellingham, WA/Sehome HS) was fourth in the men's 400-yard individual medley and Ben Fritz (So., Los Gatos, CA/Leigh HS) placed fourth in the men's 200-yard freestyle. Derek Ludwig (Jr., Moraga, CA/Campolindo HS) earned sixth place in the men's 100-yard butterfly.
Kiley Lin (Sr./Jr., Palo Alto, CA/Henry M. Gunn HS) finished sixth and Niki Kates (Jr., Truckee, CA/Forest Charter School) was eighth in the women's 100-yard backstroke. Lin also grabbed eighth place in the women's 100-yard butterfly.
In addition, Ludwig set the school record in the men's 100-yard buttterfly with a time of 51.42 seconds. He broke the record of 51.43 set by one of Willamette's all-time great swimmers, Steve Koga, 40 years ago in 1979. Koga still holds WU records in the 50-yard freestyle (20.88 in 1981) and the 100-yard freestyle (45.85 in 1981).
Hakeman took fourth place in the men's 400 I.M. at 4:17.10. He was 0.82 out of third place. The fourth place finish by Fritz in the men's 200 freestyle was earned with a time of 1:43.23. Fritz was just 0.53 away from third place.
Ludwig's school record of 51.42 in the men's 100 butterfly almost moved him up to fifth place in the final on Saturday. Fifth place went to Michael Chang of Whitman College at 51.40, as he beat Ludwig by 0.02. Ludwig almost set the WU record in the prelims, when he was timed at 51.44.
In the women's 100-yard backstroke, Lin's time in sixth place was 58.79 seconds, good for fourth on Willamette's all-time list. Her time of 59.48 in the prelims ranks eighth at Willamette. Kates joined Lin in this year's championship race and took eighth place in 59.30, which is sixth all-time at Willamette. Kates' was clocked at 59.21 in the prelims for fifth on WU's top 10 list.
On Saturday, Lin also competed in the championship final of the women's 100-yard butterfly, and registered a time of 59.19 to place eighth. Her time in the finals is sixth all-time at Willamette. She was timed at 59.05 in the prelims for fourth on the Bearcats' list.
Lin holds the school record in the 100 backstroke at 57.88 set during the NWC Championships in 2016. She has achieved the top four times in school history.She also owns the Willamette record of 58.81 in the 100 butterfly set at the 2018 NWC Championships.
Six Bearcats swam in the consolation finals on Saturday. Min Wei (Fr., Fushun, China/Cascade HS) was 10th in the women's 100-yard breaststroke after taking second in the "B" final. She attained a personal record time of 1:08.71.
In the women's 100-yard backstroke, Corinne Pierson (Fr., Port Townsend, WA/Port Townsend HS) placed 11th overall with a personal record of 1:00.37. Anna Burdine (Sr., Seattle, WA/Mount Rainier HS) finished 11th overall in the women's 400-yard individual medley in a personal-best time of 4:49.17. Mykah Fujiwara (Sr., Kaneohe, HI/Punahou School) was 11th overall in the men's 100-yard breaststroke with a personal record at 1:08.71. Pierson, Burdine and Fujiwara each placed third out of eight swimmers in their respective "B" finals.
Daniel Fang (So., Rancho Santa Margarita, CA/Catholic HS) achieved 15th place overall and Alexander Hougan (Jr., Olympia, WA/Olympia HS) was 16th in the men's 200-yard freestyle. Fang's time was 1:48.01 and Hougan was timed at 1:48.97.
In the men's team standings, Whitworth University remained in first place while advancing its score to 452.5 points. Linfield College was second at 324 and Whitman followed in third at 286. Willamette was seventh in the men's standings with 179 points. Linfield moved into first place in the women's team standings with 370 points. Whitman held second place at 364 and Whitworth was third at 337. The Bearcats were seventh in the women's standings at 173 points.
Big Moment of the Day for Willamette
Derek Ludwig set the Willamette record in the men's
100-yard butterfly at 51.42 seconds, while placing sixth
in the championship finals on Saturday evening. He broke
the previous record of 51.43 seconds set by Steve Koga
40 years ago in 1979. Ludwig just missed tying or breaking
the record in the prelims on Saturday, when he was timed
at 51.44 seconds.