By Giancarlo Santoro, Sports Writer
The Pacific Lutheran University swimmers closed out 2013 undefeated in Northwest Conference dual meets after the Lute men and women outswam Willamette 148-57 and 164-40, respectively, Saturday morning.
With the Lutes’ second win in two days, both teams boast perfect records after improving to 4-0 in NWC and 5-0 overall. The Willamette men and women have yet to win in NWC meets, dropping to 0-4 overall.
“I think winning is important,” PLU head coach Matt Sellman said. “Going into the Thanksgiving break with an undefeated record is important. It’s fun and it’s something that they can look at and smile about.”
The Lute men started and ended strong. Sophomore Brian Ruggles, junior James Whaley and first-year Hunter Cosgrove all won two or more events. Ruggles won his solo events in the 200 freestyle (1:49.9) and the 100 freetyle (48.67), while Cosgrove also won a pair of solo events, placing first in the 1,000 freestyle (10:28.09) and the 500 freestyle (5:00.9).
Whaley joined junior Corban Elliot, first-year Joseph Bowley and Ruggles to win the 200 medley relay (1:41.58), combined with solo efforts in the 50 freestyle (22.95) and the 100 butterfly (55.4).
“We are really good at motivating each other,” Elliot said. “We make sure that everyone stays on task and trains just as hard during the break.”
Sophomore Hanna Armstrong continued to lead the way for the women, joining junior Michelle Hogan, first-year Morgan Commander and sophomore Natasha Sioda to win the 200 freestyle relay (1:42.6), in addition to claiming two solo events in the 1,000 freestyle (11:24.28) and the 50 freestyle (25.88).
Hogan added another relay win in the 200 medley (1:55.67) with help from Sioda, first-year Therese Ackman and junior Kina Ackerman. Ackerman also placed first in the 100 breaststroke (1:11.14), while first-year Darcie Booth won the 200 freestyle (2:02.0) and the 500 freestyle (5:36.56).
With the win, PLU will have three weeks to rest and prepare for the Husky Invitational in Federal Way Dec. 6.
“Our ultimate goal is to be preparing well and using these meets to rehearse for the big time in our conference championship in February and nationals after that,” Sellman said.
PLU will have its next dual meet on Jan. 17 on the road against Whitman.