Pioneer Swimmers Edge Out Bearcat Men's Team and Down WU Women's Team

Niki Kates (Jr., Truckee, CA/Forest Charter School)
Niki Kates (Jr., Truckee, CA/Forest Charter School)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Lewis & Clark College narrowly defeated the Willamette University men's swimming team, 108-94, on Saturday, Jan. 12, while the Pioneer women's team defeated the Bearcats, 145-60, at the Zehntbauer Swimming Pavilion. Willamette entered the final men's event with a chance to tie the Pioneers, but L&C won the 400-yard freestyle relay to clinch the overall win.

The Pioneers improved to 3-3 in both men's and women's swimming, with all six matches against Northwest Conference opponents. Willamette fell to 1-4 overall, 1-4 against NWC teams, in both men's and women's action.

Willamette won five men's events and two women's events. Mykah Fujiwara (Sr., Kaneohe, HI/Punahou School) was a two-event winner for the Bearcats, as he placed first in the men's 200-yard individual medley and the men's 200-yard breaststroke. He also helped the Bearcats take first place in the men's 400-yard medley relay.

Other event winners for the Willamette men's team were Ben Fritz (So., Los Gatos, CA/Leigh HS) in the 1,000-yard freestyle and Daniel Fang (So., Rancho Santa Margarita, CA/Catholic HS) in the 200-yard butterfly. Winning an individual event for the Bearcat women's team was Niki Kates (Jr., Truckee, CA/Forest Charter School), who placed first in the 200-yard backstroke. Kates also helped WU win the women's 400-yard medley relay to begin the meet.

"Today was a tough meet against a very good Lewis & Clark team," Willamette Head Coach Brent Summers said. "I was very happy with how we swam today, especially being the second meet day in a row. As we approach the conference meet, every swim is a chance for us to learn something that will benefit us in a few weeks in those races. Every time we hit the water it's beneficial."

Fujiwara grabbed first place in the men's 200 I.M. with a time of 2:07.68. He led a 1-2 finish for the Bearcats, with Colin Hakeman (Jr., Bellingham, WA/Sehome HS) following in second at 2:08.82. In the men's 200-yard breaststroke, Fujiwara caught L&C's William Witmer at the final touch pad to win the event. Fujiwara was timed at 2:18.63 and Witmer was clocked at 2:18.74.

Willamette's winning group in the men's 400-yard medley relay included Fujiwara on the second leg. Derek Ludwig (Jr., Moraga, CA/Campolindo HS) swam the first leg, while Fang took over on the third leg, and Evan Segimoto (So., Alamo, CA/The Athenian School) completed the anchor leg. The Bearcats registered a winning time of 3:48.18.

Fujiwara was involved in first place finishes in all six of his races this weekend. In Willamette's meet at George Fox University on Friday, Fujiwara won the 100-yard breaststroke and helped Willamette prevail in both the 200-yard medley relay and 200-yard freestyle relay.

Against L&C, Fritz won the men's 1,000-yard freestyle in 10:35.33 to start a 1-2 result for the Bearcats. Hakeman followed in second place at 10:37.79.  Matt Bress of Lewis & Clark was third at 10:41.46. Later, in the men's 500-yard freestyle, Hakeman was second at 5:08.51, while Fritz was third just 0.13 later at 5:08.64. August Bergh of L&C took first place in the 500 freestyle in 5:03.38.

Fang earned first place in the men's 200-yard butterfly, as he was timed at 2:07.10. He finished 2.19 seconds in front of Bress, who placed second for the Pioneers in 2:09.29.

Swimming for Willamette on the victorious women's 400-yard medley relay team were Kates, Min Wei (Fr., Fushun, China/Cascade HS), Kiley Lin (Sr./Jr., Palo Alto, CA/Henry M. Gunn HS), and Rachel Harvill (Sr., Alamo, CA/Monte Vista HS). The Bearcats attained a time of 4:16.97 for a sizeable win over Lewis & Clark's top team, which finished in 4:23.37.

Kates won the 200-yard backstroke in the eighth of 11 women's events by recording a time of 2:19.92. She won by three seconds over KK Fiddler of Lewis & Clark, who took second place at 2:22.92. Kates also placed third in the women's 200-yard individual medley in 2:25.49, as she missed second place by just 0.05.

Anna Burdine (Sr., Seattle, WA/Mount Rainier HS) swam in both women's distance races and finished third in each race. Her time in the 1,000-yard freestyle was 12:04.71 and her result in the 500-yard freestyle was 5:53.83.

Willamette will compete again on Friday, Jan. 18 when the Bearcats host Pacific University in NWC action. Meet time is scheduled for 6 p.m. (PST) at the WU Natatorium.

Mykah Fujiwara (Sr., Kaneohe, HI/Punahou School)

Big Moment of the Day for Willamette

Mykah Fujiwara earns the Big Moment for the second day in a row. At
Lewis & Clark on Saturday, he won the men's 200-yard individual medley
in 2:07.68 and took first place in the men's 200-yard breaststroke in 2:18.63
with a great finish to win by 0.11 over William Witmer of L&C. In addition,
Fujiwara swam the second leg as Willamette defeated the Pioneers in the
400-yard medley relay. In two meets this weekend, Fujiwara won three
individual events and contributed to three wins by WU relay teams.