Whitman named top team in NWC Women's Swimming Preseason Poll

Whitman named top team in NWC Women's Swimming Preseason Poll





2017-18 NWC finish



60 (4)



Pacific Lutheran

58 (4)








45 (1)



Puget Sound




Lewis & Clark




George Fox








Pacific (Ore.)



(Points awarded on an 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Coaches could not vote for their own teams. Numbers in parentheses indicate number of first-place votes)


HILLSBORO, Ore. – The Whitman Blues have been selected as the top team in the Northwest Conference entering the 2018-19 season, as voted on by conference coaches. The Blues, receiving four first-place votes tallied a total of 60 points in the poll.

In the 2017-18 season, the Blues were crowned Northwest Conference tournament champions for the second consecutive season with a cumulative 614.5 team points. The team finished the regular season tied in first-place with Pacific Lutheran in conference standings, each team boasting a 6-1 record. Whitman Head Coach Jennifer Blomme was named NWC Coach of the Year for the team's success as Mara Selznick (Park City, Utah) was selected to advance to the NCAA Championships at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis, Ind.

Selznick, who swam to a second-place finish in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:04.19 at the NWC Championship, finished 11th nationally in the 100-yard backstroke with a season-best time of 55.97 to garner an NCAA All-America Honorable Mention honor. Selznick will return for her junior season as the Blues seek an NWC Championships three-peat.

Pacific Lutheran earns second in the poll just two points behind the Blues with 58, acquiring four first-place votes. After finishing the regular-season tied in first-place with Whitman, the Lutes swam to a runner-up finish with 551.5 team points at the NWC Championships as first-year Kaycee Simpson (Graham, Wash.) was the individual medalist in the 100-yard butterfly and the 200-yard butterfly.

Simpson – the Northwest Conference Freshman of the Year was selected to advance to the NCAA Championships where she had a strong showing, swimming in the 200-yard individual medley (2:11.23), the 200-yard butterfly (2:07.03), and the 200-yard breaststroke (29.61). Simpson returns a seasoned veteran in the 2018-19 season to keep the Lutes atop the leaderboard.

Linfield tallies 46 total points to earn third in the poll. The Wildcats swam to a third-place regular season finish alongside Puget Sound with a 5-2 record and had a fourth-place showing with 441 team points at the NWC Championships. NWC co-Women's Swimmer of the Year Evette Dow (Salem, Ore.) captured first in the 1650 freestyle with a 17:37.91, the 200-yard freestyle with a 1:53.87, and the 500-yard freestyle with a 5:03.43. Dow returns a senior for the 2018-19 season to lead the Wildcats to another successful NWC showing.

Whitworth earns fourth in the poll with 45 points and one first-place vote. The Pirates finished the 2017-18 regular season with a record of 2-5 to finish sixth in NWC standings. At the NWC Championships, the team finished fifth overall with 396.5 team points. Hannah Gailbraith (Aloha, Ore.) swam a 2:02.89 in the 200-yard backstroke to finish in first and qualify for the NCAA Championships. Gailbraith, who finished 22nd in the preliminary round of the 200-yard backstroke at the NCAA Championships, returns a junior in the 2018-19 season.

Puget Sound captures 41 points to claim fifth in the poll. The Loggers finished the 2017-18 regular season with a 5-2 conference record to tie for third alongside Linfield. The team had a strong showing at the NWC Championships, finishing in third-place with 457 team points. Kelli Callahan (Aspen, Colo.) lead the Loggers at the NWC Championships, breaking a school and conference record in the 200-yard individual medley in the preliminaries with a 2:05.23, and again in the finals with a 2:04.41, as well as breaking a NWC record in the 500-yard individual medley with a 4:25.51 and swimming the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:05.05 to capture another first-place finish. She was named NWC co-Women's Swimmer of the Year and advanced to the NCAA Championships, where she finished 43rd in the 100-yard free, 20th in the 200-yard individual medley, and 24th in the 400-yard medley. Callahan will return a junior after her decorated 2017-18 season.

Lewis & Clark garners 29 points to claim sixth in the poll. The Pioneers swam to a 3-4 conference record in the 2017-18 season to finish fifth in the regular season and earned sixth at the NWC Championships with 302.5 team points. After graduating only three last season, the Pioneers will return a veteran team.

George Fox claims seventh in the poll with 19 points. The Bruins' inaugural swimming season welcomes 17 women to their roster – 16 of which will compete with first-year eligibility. The young Bruins team will seek a strong NWC showing in their rookie season.

Willamette claims eighth in the poll, just one point behind the Bruins with 18. The Bearcats finished the 2017-18 regular season with a 1-6 conference record and a seventh-place NWC Championships showing with a team total of 297 points. The team will return top NWC Championship performers Niki Kates (Truckee, Calif.) and Kiley Lin (Palo Alto, Calif.) for the 2018-19 season.

Pacific (Ore.) rounds out the poll in ninth, accumulating eight points. The Boxers finished the 2018-19 season with a 0-7 conference record and an eighth-place showing at the NWC Championships with 135 team points. The Boxers welcome four freshman in the 2018-19 season.

After competing in the NWC Relays and Sprint Pentathlon this past weekend, NWC teams will gear up for head-to-head conference meets, set to begin Friday, November 2nd.


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