Thursday, February 16, 2012

Swim team not cracking

Men’s swim team places third, women place fifth at conference despite relocation

By Justin Buchanan, Sports Editor

Their pool’s roof may have been broken, but the Pacific Lutheran men’s swim teams persevered and performed well in the conference championships last weekend.
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First-year Joe Parker dives off the deck at a practice before the Conference finals at the Federal Way Aquatic Center.  The Lutes used practice time at the Federal Way Aquatic Center to get used to the pool and the conditions. Photo by Justin Buchanan.
The team took advantage of their new temporary home that provided them with home pool advantage.

“It’s given us a great opportunity to get comfortable in the space, in the pool and the water that we’re going to be having our championship meet in,” swim head coach Matt Sellman said.

The men’s swim took third overall with 500 points, finishing behind Whitman with 572 points and Whitworth 796 points.

The women placed fifth overall.

A big accomplishment for team this past weekend was finally finishing ahead of cross-town rival Puget Sound.

The Lutes have finished behind the Loggers since 1997 after Puget Sound reentered the Northwest Conference.

This marks an improvement in PLU swimming.

In 2010 the both the men’s and women’s placed seventh out of eight with in the Northwest Conference.

Not only did the Lutes perform well as a team, many different individuals performed well for the Lutes.

A huge upset stand came from senior Chase Mesford.

Mesford placed first in the men’s 50 freestyle with a final time of 21.31 seconds, setting a new school record.

Mesford’s celebration afterward provided some entertainment for the crowd.

“You should have seen him, when he turned and looked at the big scoreboard and saw the one by his name, he started jumping up and down in the water and splashing like a little kid,” sports information director Nick Dawson said.

Mesford also placed fifth in 47.98 seconds in the 100 freestyle.

In the 200 backstroke, first-years Corban Elliott placed third and Joseph Parker placed fifth.

Elliot also set a new school record.

In the 400 freestyle relay, Basil Whaley, Patrick Opie, Joesph Parker and Mesford took fourth with a final time of 3.13.66, also setting a new school record.

Sophomore Kina Ackerman was also another standout from the conference meet. Ackerman placed third in the 1650 freestyle with a final time of 17.59.60.

The team is looking forward as this season comes to an end. They believe they have lot of potential because the team is build of mostly first-years.

“You have a team growing at incredible rates, and coach [Sellman] has done a fantastic job of recruiting,” swim captain Elizabeth Althauser said. “You have a team that is just going so many places.”