By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- Six Willamette University athletes at the 2019 Northwest Conference Swimming Championships placed in the top 16 during preliminary heats on the morning of Friday, Feb. 8 to earn berths into Friday evening's finals. Swimmers in each event who placed in the top eight in the prelims advanced to the championship finals. Athletes placing between ninth and 16th in each event advanced to the consolation finals.
The NWC Swimming Championships are being held at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center. Friday's finals will begin at 6 p.m. (PST). Action at the NWC Meet will continue through Sunday, Feb. 10, with prelims held each morning and finals held each evening.
Willamette swimmers who advanced to the championship finals were Niki Kates (Jr., Truckee, CA/Forest Charter School), Derek Ludwig (Jr., Moraga, CA/Campolindo HS) and Ben Fritz (So., Los Gatos, CA/Leigh HS). Bearcats who moved into the consolation finals were Anna Burdine (Sr., Seattle, WA/Mount Rainier HS), Colin Hakeman (Jr., Bellingham, WA/Sehome HS) and Rachel Harvill (Sr., Alamo, CA/Monte Vista HS).
Kates registered the fourth fastest time of the prelims and set a personal record in the women's 200-yard individual medley at 2:10.93. Ludwig placed sixth in the preliminary heats of the men's 200-yard individual medley with a time of 1:58.03. Fritz earned the eighth fastest time in the men's 500-yard frestyle prelims at 4:43.24.
Hakeman reached the consolation final in the men's 500-yard freestyle with an 11th place finish in 4:49.41. Burdine earned a spot in the consolation final of the women's 500-yard freestyle by finishing the prelims in 11th place at 5:20.00. Harvill advanced to the consolation final in the women's 50-yard freestyle with a time of 24.98 and a 12th place finish in the preliminary heats.
Two Bearcats did not qualify for the fianls but were second alternates for the finals. Alexander Hougan (Jr., Olympia, WA/Olympia HS) was 18th in the men's 500-yard freestyle at 4:58.93, and Mykah Fujiwara (Sr., Kaneohe, HI/Punahou School) was 18th in the men's 200-yard individual medley at 2:04.08. Hougan and Fujiwara will be added to the consolation final in their respective event if two or more finalists are unable to compete in the finals.