Contact: Mark Albanese, Director of Sports Communication
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - The Pacific Lutheran University men's swimming team utilized a strong finish on Sunday to place runner-up at the 2017 Northwest Conference Championships, leaving the King County Aquatic Center with the Lutes' best finish at the meet since the 1996 season.
PLU accumulated 533 points in the team standings in a championship race that saw only 18 points separating first from third. The Lutes finished 14 points shy of League Champion Whitman College (547 points) while Whitworth University was third with 529 points. All three teams held the lead at one point on a wild final day, including the Lutes with two events to go. Linfield College was a distant fourth at the eight-team championships with 464.5 points.
"It was a super exciting meet and one we will remember for a long time," said Head Coach Matt Sellman. "It's not that often you find yourself in a meet that tightly contested. Whitman was just as well prepared a team as I've seen at a championship meet. They swam incredibly well and Jenn Blomme proved herself, once again, as one of the great coaches in college swimming."
Dennis Liu followed up yesterday's title in the 100-yard breaststroke with a runner-up showing in the 200-yard breaststroke, touching the wall in two minutes, 8.33 seconds, with Bennon VanHoof securing fifth in 2:09.10.
"However disapointed we are in not coming out on top, we are really proud of how we swam and put up some incredible performances in high pressure moments."
In addition to Liu's championship swim on Saturday the Lutes secured 16 additional top eight finishes on the opening two days of the championships including Paul Jett placing second in the 200-yard individual medley and third place showings from Jett in the 100-yard butterfly in a school record time, Bryson Baligad in the 100-yard backstroke, and Bradley Jerome in the 200-yard freestyle, along with a school record setting swim in the 200-yard freestyle relay.
"I told the team before we even started training this year that 'champions aren't determined by point totals. We have to act and prepare to be champions every day and when you do that, the score at the end of the meet is irrelevant.'"