Feb. 12, 2012: At the Northwest Conference championship swim meet in Federal Way, the Lady Loggers were able to capture a surprising conference title, dethroning defending champions from Whitworth. The win was the Loggers’ first since 2009; the Pirates had taken the title in both 2010 and 2011.
“I think winning surprised me. To be honest, we had a tri-school meet with Whitman and Whitworth and we lost horribly. We were the underdog between two big teams. I feel like part of me still doesn’t believe it,” senior captain Kenzie Kitson (Durango, Colo.) said.
The Loggers trailed by eight points going into the final day of competitions. Puget Sound was fueled by two big wins on Sunday. In the 200-meter breaststroke, junior Tracy Wormwood (Elk River, Minn.) set a NWC record and earned a NCAA DIII Provisional time of 2:18.24.
Immediately after the 200-breast, freshman Melissa Norrish (Denver, Colo.) won the 200-fly with a provisional time of 2:08.11.
Both swimmers will be heading to the NCAA DIII Championships at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis, Ind. while other swimmers, including the 400 freestyle relay team,will wait for the official invites from the NCAA on March 2.
“I’m just so proud. I couldn’t be happier about the end of my senior year. I hope everyone can see how close we are,” Kitson said.
While a conference title evaded the Logger men, the team held their own considering that they only brought 12 swimmers to the meet rather than the maximum 18. Puget Sound still finished a respectable fourth out of eight teams, as Whitworth took their 10th consecutive conference championship.
“If we had a full squad things would have been [very] different,” senior captain Adam Ganz (Cleveland, Ohio) said.
The lone senior on the men’s team, Ganz was proud of the teams’ success, both men’s and women’s.
“In my mind, everyone stepped up, especially the freshmen. It’s not an easy transition coming from high school and club to the national level,” Ganz said.
The men were able to pick up valuable points from sophomore Derek Frenzel (Moscow, Idaho) and junior Jere Jeremikj (Skopje, Macedonia).
Frenzel broke his own conference record in the 200-fly with a time of 1:50.08. That time will qualify him for the DIII Championships in Indianapolis.
Jeremikj finished second to Frenzel, capturing a provisional time of 1:50.71. Ganz expects that time to earn him a trip to the finals with Frenzel. Sophomore Teal Kitson also earned a b-cut time in the 200-back.
Both teams look primed for the future. “I see the women’s team with a stranglehold on conference. The men’s program will begin to pick up in the sprint department, hopefully in the stroke department as well,” Ganz said.
While Kitson stressed the great impact on the women’s team of their seven seniors, she agrees that the girls will have a good shot at conference next year. Both Ganz and Kitson agree that the NWC is gaining momentum and reputation on the national scale. Hopefully, that reputation will continue to improve and bring in top recruits to keep the program on the rise.