Linfield wetcats’ efforts have paid off

Sara Levering, Staff Writer

Shown at the conference meet this past weekend, the women’s swim team placed third and the men’s placed fourth out of eight teams respectively.

For day one of action in Federal Way, Washington, Evette Dow, ‘19, was crowned champion in the 500 freestyle by a four second margin (5:02:28). Kaedi Fry, ‘19, also was crowned champion in the 200 individual medley (2:08:35). The Linfield women’s 400 medley relay grabbed second place behind Whitman.

On the men’s side, freshman standout Noah Cutting, ‘20, was the Northwest Conference champion in the 200 individual medley (1:52:74). Neirton Oliveira, ‘19, placed second in the 50 freestyle. Trevor Gourley, ‘19, and Matthew Hanson, 18’, notched fifth and sixth in the 50 freestyle, respectively. The Linfield men placed first in their 400 medley relay (3:22:44).

After day one of action with some stellar showings, the Linfield women were in third place behind Whitman and Pacific Lutheran. The men were also in third behind Whitman and Whitworth.

On the second day of action, K. Fry, ‘19, and Dow defended their individual titles. Dow retained her championship in the 200 freestyle (1:53:64), and as an entire team, four new individual records and two relay records were surpassed.

Notably, in the 800 freestyle relay, the women consisting of Dow, K. Fry, Erin Nelson, ‘18, and Tahnijo Kakazu, ‘19, became the first women’s relay squad for Linfield to grab a championship title in twenty years. They also set a new school record, cutting nearly ten seconds off their best time to top Whitman’s squad.

Molli Hartzell, ‘20, also grabbed a new record for Linfield in the 100 butterfly, placing second overall (58.31).

Oliveira obtained a school record with a time of 49.80 and in the finals, ended up tying with a Whitworth opponent for the crown (49.81).

Cutting was the runner-up in the 100 butterfly (49.11). Gourley claimed second place in the 200 freestyle (1:42.53), trailing the two-time champion of Whitman.

Victor Brasil, ‘18, was short in repeating as the 100 breaststroke champion, but placed third (57.43) behind Pacific Lutheran and Whitworth.

“Our team did an outstanding job today, doing their best and scoring a lot of points. We’re in a battle for a team championship and it’s the first time since I’ve been here that we’ll come in on Sunday talking about perhaps winning a team title,” said Coach Kyle Kimball.

At the end of the weekend, the Linfield men and women’s teams placed fourth overall. For the women, this is the highest mark since the 2003 season.

In total, 17 Linfield records were overridden over the three-day, eight-team event. Cutting was recognized as the Northwest Conference swimmer of the year and freshman of the year. Dow shared the women’s swimmer of the year award with teammate Kaedi Fry.

“I think overall the team performed incredibly. We crushed numerous records on the board and so many swimmers put up times they had worked for all season” said Cutting.

On wishing the results had been different, “We might have ranked fourth for both men and women’s teams; but I like to think we sent a ripple effect to other teams with the times we put up individually. That being said, I couldn’t ask for any more from our team, and at the same time I am craving to really show in the coming years what our team is really made of,” said Cutting.

On any surprising results this weekend, “I don’t like to say I’m surprised because we all expect a lot out of each other, yet when people like Neirton Oliveira puts up a time of 20.24 on the freestyle leg for our 200 medley relay, I can’t help but let my jaw drop,” said Cutting.

Furthermore, “Lizzie Fryer, despite battling through injuries all year, contributed incredibly to our team by scoring in all her events, a feat that shouldn’t go unnoticed. One of the most exciting things to me was seeing Charlotte Smith turn around after finishing her 100 breaststroke and seeing her personal best on the board – you can’t put a price on the look she had on her face. Those kinds of races are the races swum with all your heart, and Charlotte went out with a bang her senior year,” concluded Cunning.