By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- Willamette University earned a total of 12 berths into the finals during the preliminary heats on Saturday, Feb. 9 during the 2019 Northwest Conference Swimming Championships at the Weyerhaueser King County Aquatic Center. The Bearcats gained six berths into the championship finals plus six berths into the consolation finals. In addition, four Bearcats are alternates for the consolation finals. All of Saturday's prelims qualified swimmers for Saturday's evening session.
Kiley Lin (Sr./Jr., Palo Alto, CA/Henry M. Gunn HS) advanced to the championship finals in two events. She was seventh in the prelims of the women's 100-yard butterfly at 59.05 seconds. She placed eighth in the prelims of the women's 100-yard backstroke with a time of 59.48 seconds. Joining Lin in the championship final of the 100 backstroke will be Niki Kates (Jr., Truckee, CA/Forest Charter School), who finished seventh in the prelims at 59.21 seconds.
The top eight swimmers in the preliminary heats advanced to the championship finals. Swimmers placing ninth through 16th qualified for the consolation finals. Athletes placing 16th or 17th became alternates for the consolation finals in case swimmers who qualified were unable to compete.
Also qualifying for the championship finals were Ben Fritz (So., Los Gatos, CA/Leigh HS) in the men's 200-yard freestyle, Colin Hakeman (Jr., Bellingham, WA/Sehome HS) in the men's 400-yard individual medley, and Derek Ludwig (Jr., Moraga, CA/Campolindo HS) in the men's 100-yard butterfly.
Fritz registered the second fastest time in the men's 200 freestyle prelims at 1:42.81. Hakeman was fifth in the men's 400 I.M. heats with a time of 4:19.18. Ludwig palced fifth in the prelims of the men's 100 butterfly in 51.44 seconds.
Advancing to the consolation finals for Willamette were Anna Burdine (Sr., Seattle, WA/Mount Rainier HS) in the women's 400-yard individual medley, Min Wei (Fr., Fushun, China/Cascade HS) in the women's 100-yard breaststroke, Corinne Pierson (Fr., Port Townsend, WA/Port Townsend HS) in the women's 100-yard backstroke, Alexander Hougan (Jr., Olympia, WA/Olympia HS) and Daniel Fang (So., Rancho Santa Margarita, CA/Catholic HS) in the men's 200-yard freestyle, and Mykah Fujiwara (Sr., Kaneohe, HI/Punahou School) in the men's 100-yard breaststroke.
Burdine qualified to swim on Saturday evening by placing 11th in the preliminary heats of the women's 400 I.M. with a time of 4:50.45. Wei placed ninth in the prelims of the women's 100 breaststroke in 1:09.50 and missed the championship final by just 0.28. All of the consolation finalists in the women's 100 breaststroke earned times between 1:09 and 1:11 in the prelims. Pierson was 12th in the prelims of the women's 100 backstroke at 1:00.54.
Hougan took 12th in the men's 200 freestyle prelims in 1:46.87, while Fang was 15th in 1:47.18. Fujiwara placed 12th in the men's 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:00.92.
The Bearcats will have three swimmers competing in the championship or consolation finals in the women's 100-yard backstroke. Three Bearcats also will swim in the championship or consolation finals in the men's 200-yard freestyle.
Willamette athletes who earned positions as alternates for Saturday's finals were Owen Davis (Sr., Boulder, CO/Boulder HS) in the men's 400-yard individual medley (17th, 4:44.46), Rachel Harvill (Sr., Alamo, CA/Monte Vista HS) in the women's 200-yard freestyle (17th, 2:01.45), Wei in the women's 100-yard butterfly (18th, 1:02.35), and Cameron Taggesell (So., Sonoma, CA/Sanoma Valley HS) in the women's 100-yard breaststroke (18th, 1:11.38).
The finals on Saturday night will end with the men's and women's 200-yard freestyle relays.