In defeat, Pioneers debut with seven individual wins

Photo by Spencer Gutterman
Photo by Spencer Gutterman

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Lewis & Clark Pioneers lost both sides of their dual with the Puget Sound Loggers to open the 2017-18 season on Saturday night. In the process, seven Pioneers swimmers won individual races and the Pios swept the closing two relays at Zehntbauer Swimming Pavilion. Lewis & Clark lost the men's team score, 112-93, while the women were defeated 119-86.

Freshmen won races for both teams including Andrew Butcher who had a pair of victories for the men. First, he won the 50 Freestyle with a mark of 22.13 over Ethan Done of Puget Sound and just under a half-second ahead of teammate Sam Raphael. Butcher was the winner of the 100 Freestyle with the only sub-50 mark (49.55) to defeat Done again. William Witmer came in third in the race.

Sabrina Murray was the other victorious first-year swimmer, taking the 500 Freestyle in 5:32.29, a full ten seconds ahead of Carmen Mena. Returning junior All-Northwest Conference selection Kassie Kometani picked up where she ended last year with wins in the 50 and 100 Freestyle. She took the former in 24.70 over Puget Sound's Calista Skog and the latter with a mark of 55.07 to beat Kayle Dimicco of the Loggers.

"It's the most exciting start to the season I've had since I've been here," said men's captain Rowan Gannon, who had a pair of fifth-place finishes. "We all had impressive individual swims but I also think this team is really good at coming together, cheering for each other, and the overall energy is the best. It's left me incredibly excited, the coaches are incredibly excited, so it's a fantastic way to start the season."

Like Kometani, August Bergh is off an All-NWC pick at last year's conference championships and earned a win on Saturday in the 500 Freestyle. He clocked in at 5:02.62, just under six seconds ahead of Puget Sound's Nick Mitchell. Jonathan Torres was fourth in that race (5:26.25).

Sam Duran also earned a women's event win in the 200 Freestyle at 1:59.94. She was nearly five seconds faster than the three Loggers behind her. Duran combined with Claire Greene, Kometani and Murray to lead the women's 400 Freestyle relay team to a win at 3:47.89. The men matched the win in the last event of the night at 3:24.90 by the team of Ian Shepel, Bergh, Raphael and Witmer.

Along with Butcher and Murray, numerous freshmen made their collegiate debuts on Saturday night. Kyle Monteleone was second in the men's 200 Freestyle (1:50.47), followed by Shepel in fourth place. Monteleone also took second in the 200 Butterfly at 2:08.22. Erin Khong led three Pios in the top five of the women's 200 Individual Medley. Khong was second at 2:17.77, followed by Lucia Brammer in third (2:24.67) and Kasia Preski in fifth (2:25.10).

"Erin Khong really stood out to me," said Preski after the meet. "She swam both of the same events as me and I saw her really going for it.

"Overall, we need to keep giving it our best. We have some really good sprinters, some really good IMers. We're just a well-rounded team."

Freshman Julia Brandt was third in the 200 Backstroke and fourth in the 50 Freestyle, Grace Anderson was fifth in the 500 Freestyle, and Margot Chirayath was fifth in the 200 Freestyle and 200 Butterfly. Khong and Preski finished second and third, respectively, in the 200 Breaststroke for some other notable freshmen finishes.

Miles French was a runner-up in two events to start his senior year. He raced the 200 Individual Medley in 2:06.60 followed by a mark of 2:17.30 in the 200 Breaststroke. Matt Jackson was fourth and Zach Lebovic fifth in the 200 IM, while Jackson took fourth in the 200 Breaststroke, too. Matthew Bress took third in the 200 Butterfly.

Greene was third in the women's 100 Freestyle.

The Pios race Pacific Lutheran on Saturday at 1 p.m.