Women's Swimming & Diving Wins Wheaton Invite; Men Take Second
Wheaton, Ill., December 3, 2011 – The Washington University in St. Louis women's swimming and diving team finished first, while the men's team finished second overall at the Wheaton College Invitational, held Friday-Saturday, Dec. 2-3, in Wheaton, Ill.
The No. 15 ranked WUSTL women's squad scored 834 points to win the team title by three points over University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. The No. 13 ranked Washington U. men’s score of 750 was 167 behind team champion Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
The women’s side finished first in seven events, second in four and third in six for a strong performance. Freshman Sara Taege played a role in four of the first place finishes, including two individual victories. Taege finished first in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:06.37, while sophomore Grace Murray was third in 5:06.95.
Taege also won the 400-yard individual medley in 4:33.68, good for an NCAA ‘B’ cut. Sophomore Meghan Lam finished second with a time of 4:42.17. The team of sophomore Chi Pham, Taege, sophomore Allison Siegel and freshman Jennifer Tartavull captured the 400-yard freestyle relay in 3:33.29. Pham gave the Bears the lead after the first leg, and the team never looked back.
The other relay win came in the 400-yard medley relay, where the team of Pham, senior Catherine Rafferty-Millett, Murray and Tartavull finished in 3:59.63. Once again, Pham’s leg pushed the Bears in front for good.
Murray earned a ‘B’ cut in the 1650-yard freestyle, finishing in 17:26.23. Despite trailing Wheaton’s Carlie Herich early, Murray pulled even after 400 yards before pulling ahead for good.
Pham also took two victories individually, in the 100-yard backstroke (57.95 for a ‘B’ cut) and the 200-yard individual medley (2:07.84 for a ‘B’ cut). Rafferty-Millett finished third in the 200-IM in 2:12.24.
The men’s side finished first in six events, second in five and third in four. The Bears put together a strong performance in the 200-yard freestyle, as junior Mark Minowitz finished first in 1:42.94 and freshman Matt Nutter was third in 1:44.19. Nutter barely edged Patrick Frayer of Hope College by 0.14 seconds to hold on to third place.
Senior Chris Valach captured the 500-yard freestyle for the Bears in 4:39.84. Valach trailed Luuk Dekkers for the first 350 yards before taking the lead and holding on for the victory.
The men’s side also performed well in the 1650-yard freestyle, as freshman Zane Turpin took first place honors and broke the school record in 15:53.88, a time that would have qualified for the 2011 NCAA meet and good for an NCAA ‘B’ cut. He also managed to break the school record in the 1,000 with a split of 10:34.25. Valach earned second place in 16:18.20. Turpin and Valach teamed up to take first and second place again in the 200-yard butterfly. Turpin won in 1:54.15, while Valach took second in 1:54.44.
Turpin wrapped up an outstanding individual meet with a ‘B’ cut swim in the 400-yard individual medley. He finished 5.5 seconds ahead of second place with a time of 4:06.10.
The final first place for the men’s side came in the 800-yard freestyle. The team of Valach, sophomore Jason Wan, Nutter and Minowitz finished in 6:55.44, winning by almost five seconds.
The swimming and diving teams now take a month off for a winter break in Florida and will return to action in January.