Sunday, January 27, 2013

Whitman Men Make History

The team cheer get things started off the right way

Yesterday afternoon, the Missionary Men made History, becoming the first team to defeat the Whitworth University Men in a Northwest Conference dual meet in over ten years.  The victory also gave our Men their first undefeated NWC dual meet season in the history of the program.  For a writeup of the meet and to see the meet results, click here.

It was fitting that our seniors played a pivotal role in the day's closest races.  Seniors, Paul Chang and Galen Sollom-Brotherton paired up to win five individual events.  They also teamed up to win the 400 free relay with Freshman, Sam Starr, and Sophomore, Karl Mering.  Seniors, Andrew Roehrig, Kevin Dyer, and Tyler Hurlburt each had season best times throughout the day.  However, it was  Roehrig who had the best day of them all.  Though incredibly deep fields in each event kept him from racking up many points for Whitman, he took advantage of the opportunities to race and had a lifetime best 1:51.00 in the 200 free, a season-best 2:09.35 in the 200 backstroke, and had an incredibly inspired lifetime best 49.73 100 freestyle split in the final relay of the meet.  Kevin Dyer, fighting an ankle injury for the second season in a row, had a big battle on his hands in the 500 freestyle and was edged out in the end, placing 6th with a season-best 5:01.63, just .05 out of fifth place.  As deep as the field was in the 500 free, the 100 breaststroke was perhaps the fastest field of the day.  Paul Chang won easily in 58.84, just .64 off his school record in the event.  Two Whitman freshmen, Nick Wechter and Robby Dorn, came in fourth and fifth at 1:01.91, and 1:01.98 respectively.  The sixth place finisher came in with a time of 1:02.30.  For some perspective at just how fast the 100 breaststroke heat yesterday was, at the 2012 NWC Championships, 8th place was a 1:02.72. 

The win was a true team effort.  With a final score separated by only 4 points, the difference in the meet was not necessarily determined by event winners, but by those who placed fourth or fifth.  More than anything else, the win solidifies Whitman's place within the NWC as the team the team to beat--and proves to the rest of the Conference, and the rest of the country, that the Missionary Men are a force to be reckoned with.

Above: a video of the announcement of the final Men's score. Thanks to Eric Hisaw for the video--and for making us so strong in the weight room!

For some photos of the Seniors and of the meet, click here to visit the Whitman Athletics Facebook page and see the album. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Last Home Meet on Saturday at 1pm!

This Saturday at 1pm is our final home meet and our final NWC dual meet of the season!  We would love to have a ton of fans to wish our seniors well in their final swims at the Harvey Pool and as the Whitman Men attempt to make history by defeating Whitworth!

The final dual meet of the season will be against our rivals from Spokane, Whitworth University.  Whitworth's Men and Women are both undefeated in NWC dual meets.  Whitman's Men are also undefeated.  The only loss for the Missionary Women came last Friday to a tough PLU team, who Whitworth's women defeated the next day.  Having faced every other team in the conference, both Whitworth and Whitman have shown over and over again that they have the two strongest Men's teams in the conference.  If the Missionary Men take down the Whitworth Pirates, it will be the first time Whitman has ever defeated Whitworth.  If the Pirates win, they will have had 11 consecutive seasons without a Men's NWC dual meet loss.  Regardless of the outcome, it will be an historic day for one team.

The weekend will also be historic for 14 of our team members.  Seniors, Paul Chang, Kevin Dyer, Tyler Hurlburt, Andrew Roehrig, Galen Sollom-Brotherton, Libby Arnosti, Sara Behrens, Katie Chapman, Cari Cortez, Charlotte Graham, Helen Jenne, Erin Kiskaddon, Genay Pilarowski, and Rebecca Ryle will have their final swims at the Harvey pool this weekend.  The impact that these swimmers have had on this team is truly extraordinary.  For the men, of 19 school records, our Senior class is responsible for 11of them as individuals or part of relays.  On the women's side the Seniors hold 9 of 19.  Perhaps just as amazing as all those school records is the fact that Tyler Hurlburt has missed a total of one practice in the last four seasons.  Never sick, never over-sleeping, never behind on class work, the only practice that he missed in his four years was for his Senior Oral exam in Chemistry.

 Their legacy will continue to inspire generations of Whitman Swimmers long down the road.  They might not be around Walla Walla next year but we certainly haven't seen the last of these Whitman swimmers!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Big Swim Meets this Weekend

The Whitman Swim Teams remain undefeated in NWC dual meets.  With three NWC Dual meets left, Whitman's Men and Women face their toughest competition yet this weekend in Tacoma.  With PLU on Friday at 6pm, and UPS at 1pm on Saturday, the weekend is sure to be well-matched and very tough for our men and women.  
PLU is also undefeated in NWC dual meets this season, as are the UPS men.  The UPS women's only loss came against Pacific University where they were upset in an amazingly close final score of 102.33 to 102.66.  Historically, meets between UPS  and Whitman, and PLU and Whitman have been very close.  Last year, due to poor weather, Whitman's meets against both teams were cancelled.  The rivalry is back this year and the meets will certainly be some of the closest and most exciting NWC dual meets of the season!  This weekend is also the first NWC dual meet of the year for three of our swimmers.  We're pleased to welcome back Keller Hawkins from a semester abroad in Bali and Ellen Banks from a semester abroad in Grenada, Spain.  Finally, we are thrilled to welcome sophomore transfer, Dane Kawamoto, to our Men's team.  We can't wait to see them all in the pool this weekend!
We hope to see you this weekend wearing your blue and yellow!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Aaaaaaand ... Wait for it ...

The last practice in California is nothing to be messed with. It may seem like we're nearly there, until warm-up is over and you still have 9,000 yards left. The day was as perfect as any with light puffy clouds, a little breeze, and Cable Airshow airplanes zipping around to entertain those of us not staring at the bottom of a pool. If there ever was a day to chew through 10,000 yards in one go, this was it. 

After sweating, squinting, kicking, pulling, flipper-ing and IMing for three hours, the team managed to haul their iced and aching bodies onto the bus for one last ride back to our beloved Sheraton. And when it was announced that there would be a stop at In-N-Out before hitting the airport, it was probably the best-received news since Helen found out there was a fro-yo place in Walla Walla. 

So long, California, and thanks for all the fun!

Total trip tallies:*
73,800 yards
1 crashed wedding photo
2 epic ferris wheel rides
110 tortillas
26 minutes arm circles
37 goggle tans
1 freak hailstorm 
200 packs fruit snacks
400 grapes
15 frozen Balboa bananas
498 photos

*Numbers approximate. 

Some snapshots from the last day:

Heading into the pool one last time.
Galen, sneaking one more goon-jump into the water.

Pre-practice briefing.

Tazi, still smiling!
Karl takes on some fly work.

Kevin Wallin. Solid muscle.

The sprinters play with bungees.

Allie takes it all in stride.
Erin, practicing her mad levitation skills.

Just a couple of senior girls after their last day of California training. 

Done! Elise, Ashley, Claire, Tazi and Tyler.

The sprinters, after finishing up.

Nick Wechter and Will, on deck, post-practice.
Me and Rachael, all smiles.

Claire and Ellen relax on the bus.
Til next year, Claremont!

We were in a wedding!

On one of our first days in California, we had the distinct privilege to play "enthusiastic kids on a bus" in the background of a cute couple's wedding photos. Needless to say, it was awesome. I think one of the ladies on the team even declared that Leah's dress was "oh my god, exactly what I want!!" Here is the photo.

Us on the bus (with Leah and Rene in the foreground). Photo cred: Jacob Galleries. 

The Ultimate Penultimate

Ask any swimmer which is the most crucial leg of any race, and they'll tell you it's the second-to-last. The third 25 of a 100 is where you explode off the wall; the third 50 of a 200 is where your legs beat the water like a bully. Jenn is constantly talking up the importance of the penultimate to the team. (I have another theory that she just thinks 'penultimate' a cool word, but that's fodder for another time.) 

We live and train for the penultimate leg. Friday morning was our penultimate practice in California; fittingly, we rocked it with an intra-team time trial session. Each swimmer raced a 100 free, 100 stroke, 50 free and a 200. Though the air was chilly, the hot sun and exciting racing made for a fun morning of fast swimming.

Galen warms up before time trials.

Doing our daily pre-practice shoulder exercises. 

Rachael, gearing up her shoulders for another day at the pool.

View from the three-meter diving board.

Robby, cheesing between sprints.
Genay, Ellen and Tazi take off.

Sara cheers on the 100 backstrokers.
Jo dives into a final sprint.

We would also like to extend a huge thank-you the Banks family for another wonderful night in your home. The kumquats and delicious food were just the thing before our last day in the sun!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Cold in California? Hail no!

Yesterday morning the team tucked into a beast of a set that included periodically throwing on shoes and running around the track before jumping back in the pool for another round. As if to prove to us that southern California weather is not entirely predictable, dark clouds and intermittent sun gave way to rain, which turned into a short hailstorm. Needless to say, running through falling hail around a track in a wet swimsuit and running shoes was one of the more hardcore training trip moments in Whitman swimming history. The bizarre weather continued with more sun, rain, wind and heavy clouds, but everyone pushed through for a great 8,000-yard morning workout.

Tazi cruises around the track during one of the rare sunburst moments.

Claire and Kendra are all smiles during the run.
Gathering at the rain-protected shoe station.
Tazi gets ready for another run.
Katie and I huddle up against the cold. 

Claire going in for the win.

The distance crew dives into more IM work.

Karl, always photo-worthy.
Paul in relaxation mode after the set.

Congratulations are in order upon a successful finish!