SPOKANE, Wash. – Perhaps signaling what lies ahead at the 2019 Northwest Conference Swimming Championships, the Whitworth women ended in a 131-131 draw with defending NWC champion Whitman on Saturday in the final dual meet of the season. The Pirate men rolled to a 179-82 victory over the Blues to complete an undefeated conference dual meet record.
Whitworth built an early lead in the women's contest and nearly held off Whitman's hard charge down the stretch. The Blues were able to pull into a tie in the final score thanks to a victory and third place finish in the concluding 400-yard freestyle relay.
Cameron Lyon won three individual events for Whitworth's women.
The meet began fortuitously for the Pirates, with a victory in the 200-yard medley relay (1:50.20) by Hannah Galbraith, Jamie Siegler, Isabella Hackney and Eve Vetter. Lyon followed with a win in the 1,650-yard freestyle (18:27.08) and Hackney took first in the 200-yard freestyle (1:58.73), giving Whitworth a 38-16 lead.
Whitman's Mara Selznick outdueled Galbraith to win the 100-yard backstroke (1:00.53 – 1:00.80) for the Blues' first victory. Siegler answered with a win in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:07.10) and Lyon came from behind to claim the 200-yard butterfly in 2:13.88, giving Whitworth a 72-40 lead.
Whitman began its comeback with victories in the next three events. Zoe Hill won the 50-yard freestyle (25.44), Gaby Thomas won the 100-yard freestyle (56.27) and Selznick led a 1-2 finish in the 200-yard backstroke to pull the Blues to within 86-83.
Siegler held on to win the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:29.52 before Whitman's Sarah Davidson took the 500-yard freestyle (5:25.69), getting the Blues to within 104-103.
Lyon picked up her third individual victory of the meet in the 100-yard butterfly (1:00.64) and Eve Vetter followed with a come-from-behind win in the 200-yard individual medley (2:14.86), giving the Pirates a 127-118 lead heading into the final relay.
However, Whitman pulled out a win in the 400 free relay by 1.1 seconds over the Pirates, and with a third place finish as well, the Blues outscored the Bucs 13-4 and pulled into the 131-131 tie.
Whitman, the two-time defending women's conference champions, finished the dual meet season 6-1-1, while Whitworth went 5-2-1.
Byron Rossmiller won two individual events and led off the victorious 200 medley relay (1:34.84) for the Pirate men, leading Whitworth to an 8-0 record in 2018-19. Rossmiller swept the 100 backstroke (53.21) and 200 backstroke (1:53.75).
In all, Whitworth's men won 13 of the 14 events against the Blues, who finished with a 5-3 dual meet record.
The 2019 Northwest Conference Championships will take place March 7-10 at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Washington. While Whitworth's men will go in as favorites to defend their title, the women's meet appears to be wide open with as many as five schools with a chance to win the championship.