Women's Swimming & Diving

Poets top Biola 129-100; Ayers qualifies for Regionals

Poets top Biola 129-100; Ayers qualifies for Regionals

Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com

WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College Women's Swimming & Diving team was tested Saturday at the Lillian Slade Aquatic Center beating cross town rival Biola University in a non-conference bout 129-100.

The Purple & Gold are now 3-2 in head-to-head match-ups this season with the other two victories coming against La Verne and Chapman.

Junior Becca Ayers (La Habra, Calif.) continued with her impressive career qualifying for the NCAA Division III West Regionals for the second consecutive year.  She again earned her trip on the 1-meter board after completing 11-dives.  On the morning she would go on to win the 1-Meter with a score of 214.40 and the 3-meter uncontested with a 231.70 compiling a combined 18 points for the Poets.

This put the Eagles in an early hole, which proved tough to overcome.  Jumpstarting the swimming events, the 200 Medley Relay "A" team of Lexi Mauldin (Modesto, Calif.), Alexa Melara (Rialto, Calif.), Esther Choe (Mercer Island, WA), and Brooke Geske (San Pedro, Calif.) took home 1st place posting a score of 1:51.25 and the "B" team of Brenda Shanahan (San Ramon, Calif.), Erika Ngo (Alhambra, Calif.), Victoria Unger (Granite Bay, Calif.), and Brianna Nowicki (Londonderry, NH) would pick up 3rd with a mark of 1:59.55.

Geske then returned individually taking home the top spot in the opening distance, the 1000 Free finishing with a 10:55.49, while Morgan Molinaro (Chino Hills, Calif.) and Allie Novak (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) went 4-5.

Nowicki got into the mix in the 200 Free taking 2nd with a time of 2:07.25 and the trio of Shanahan, Mauldin, and Ngo would go 2 (25.75)-3 (26.41)-5 (28.04) in the 50 Free picking up another eight points for the Purple & Gold.

Choe picked up a huge win in the 200 IM with a 2:16.51 and nine points for the Poets.  She was joined by Kayanna Heffner (Bend, OR) and Madeleine McMurray (Phnom Penh, Cambodia) who went 3-4 with times of 2:20.06 and 2:23.77, each respectively.

In the 100 Fly, Melara picked up a 2nd place finish with a mark of 1:03.13 and Unger wrapped up the scoring in the event with a 4th place finish (1:08.03).

Geske and Shanahan combined for a 1-2 finish in the 100 Free with marks of 53.74 and 55.80, while Molinaro took 4th (58.95).  Mauldin returned in the 100 Back finishing 2nd with a 1:01.29 and fellow freshman Melara won the 500 Free with a time of 5:38.60 leading a Poet 1-2-3 finish with Novak and McMurray coming in right behind. 

Ngo had a big 2nd place finish in the 100 Breast posting a lifetime best 1:10.45 and was joined by Heffner and Choe in 3rd and 4th with marks of 1:12.67 and 1:13.26, respectively.  Then to cap off the day, the team of Shanahan, Nowicki, Choe, and Geske would take 2nd in the 200 Free Relay with a time of 1:42.11, followed by the "B" team of Melara, Heffner, Mauldin, and Ngo who went 3rd with a 1:48.30.           

Whittier has a break for the Holidays and will return to competition in the New Year, Saturday, January 13 when they host Caltech beginning at 11:00am.