The 1996-97 women’s swimming team was formed by an outstanding group of athletes who had an exceptional season. Willamette featured 10 swimmers who earned All-America honors, as they led the Bearcats to a third place finish at the NAIA Swimming Championships, after achieving second place at the Northwest Conference Championships. Head Coach Skip Kenitzer was named NAIA National Coach of the Year and was chosen NCIC Coach of the Year.
Willamette’s successful trip to the NAIA Championships in Federal Way, Wash., led to five relay teams claiming All-America status to go with 10 individual All-America selections. In the 200 Freestyle Relay and the 400 Freestyle Relay, the team of Bonnie Bauer, Rachel Cohen, Danika Williams and Gerianne Mikasa placed second. In the 200 Medley Relay, the team of Erin Venable, Beth Brinton, Mikasa and Bauer took fourth. The same group finished seventh in the 400 Medley Relay. The 800 Freestyle Relay team, which included Bauer, Rachel Webb, Cohen and Williams, attained a third place finish.
The team’s individual All-Americans were: Bonnie Bauer ‘97 - 50 Freestyle (2nd place), 100 Freestyle (5th place) and 200 freestyle (15th place); Beth Brinton ‘00 - 100 Breaststroke (6th place) and 200 Breaststroke (10th place); Rachel Cohen ‘98 - 200 Freestyle (6th place), 100 Freestyle (7th place) and 500 Freestyle (10th place); Cammy Farsvedt ‘99 - 400 Individual Medley (7th place), 200 Individual Medley (12th place) and 200 Butterfly (9th place); Becky Fox ‘00 - 200 Individual Medley (3rd place) and 400 Individual Medley (4th place); Gerianne Mikasa ‘99 - 50 Freestyle (6th place), 100 Freestyle (2nd place) and 100 Butterfly (5th place); Jean Orth ‘97 - 1,650 Freestyle (5th place), 500 Freestyle (9th place) and 400 Individual Medley (11th place); Erin Venable ‘99 - 100 Backstroke (16th place); Rachel Webb ‘00 - 500 Freestyle (6th place), 200 Freestyle (13th place) and 1,650 Freestyle (10th place); Danika Williams ‘97 - 200 Individual Medley (5th place), 200 Freestyle (5th place) and 100 Freestyle (3rd place).
Swimmers who placed in the top eight received All-America honors. Athletes finishing ninth through sixteenth earned Honorable Mention All-American