Wildcats swim their way to victory at home, away meets

Helen Lee, Editor-In-Chief

After a slow start to their season, Linfield’s men’s and women’s swim team have hit their stride, beating Lewis & Clark and Willamette in recent meets.

The men’s team won 115-88 over Lewis & Clark on Jan. 23 and 107-98 over Willamette on Jan. 31. The women’s team won by an even bigger margin against Lewis & Clark, beating them 146-59. They also beat Willamette 112.5-92.5.

Although both the men’s and women’s teams lost against Pacific, it was a close meet.

“When we lost against Pacific, it was hard to lose what was supposed to be our last home meet in that close of a meet,” senior Ian Coker said.

A completely different team under new coach Kyle Kimball, the swim team is more ready than ever to take on the North West Conference Champion­ships on Feb. 13.

“I know Kyle has pre­pared us the best he can and everyone feels ready to go fast this weekend,” senior Troy Thomas said.

“We have a lot more talent this year and depth, which helped us score points in races we used to lose,” Coker said.

Kimball actively recruit­ed swimmers to Linfield’s program. One such student, transfer sophomore Juan Vidal, has made a splash in the Wildcats’ standings.

Vidal placed first in the 400-yard IM against Willa­mette with a time of 4:29.17 seconds and second in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:09.98 seconds.

Linfield’s swimmers across the board racked up points for the Wildcats.

Sophomore Rita Cohen soared in the meet against Willamette, placing first in the 100-yard freestyle race with a time of 55.53 seconds and first in the 50-yard freestyle at 25.88 seconds.

Junior Ian White also did well, placing first in the 100-yard butterfly against Lewis & Clark with a time of 54.08 seconds and first in the 200-yard freestyle at 1:51.11 seconds.

Other than the coaching and leadership from Kim­ball, the team’s success can be attributed to a positive attitude and perseverance, said Thomas.

“Everyone on the team believes in hard work at practice and that they will do well in the meets. We just have a lot of support all around the team,” Thomas said.

Swimming is mainly an individual sport, but according to Coker getting the recent wins was a result of focusing on team success rather than individual glo­ry.

He is “feeling great” about the team’s chances at the upcoming conference meets, and claims the team has “individuals who are in position to challenge school records that have been standing for 20 years.”