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February 11, 2012

Castillo Wins 100 Fly, Ackerman and Parker Set Records

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - Another Pacific Lutheran swimmer stood atop the award stand and two more school records fell by the wayside at Saturday's second day of the Northwest Conference Swimming Championships being held at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center.

Toni Castillo won the women's 100 butterfly, Kina Ackerman established a new women's 400 individual medley record, and Joseph Parker lowered the men's 100 backstroke mark he set a night earlier to highlight's PLU's Saturday evening performance.

The chase for the women's team championship is a tight one between two-time defending champion Whitworth and long-time power Puget Sound.  Whitworth leads with 428 points, followed by Puget Sound with 420, Whitman 347, Pacific 239, PLU 232, Lewis & Clark 196, Linfield 138 and Willamette 107.

The Whitworth men will certainly win their 10th straight men's title as they lead after the second day with 585 points. There is a three-team battle for second. Whitman has 360 points, followed by Puget Sound with 326 and PLU with 318. Rounding out the men's team scores are Pacific 174, Linfield 160, Willamette 117 and Lewis & Clark 100.

Castillo became the second Pacific Lutheran swimmer to top the awards stand – Chase Mesford won the 50 freestyle on Friday night – when her late charge won the 100 butterfly in a time of 57.75. Castillo's time is a NCAA national meet B (provisional) qualifying time. She also became the first PLU women since Ashlyn Owens in 2006 to win a conference event championship.

The PLU frosh from Sunnyside, Wash., was in fourth place at the final turn and appeared to be in fifth, about one-half body length behind the leaders, with about half the length of the pool to go. "I told you I would put her up against anybody over the final 25 yards," said Sellman, who had said exactly that on Wednesday.

Using a strong finishing kick in the freestyle leg, Ackerman set a new school record in the 400 individual medley with a time of 4:39.23. She broke the old record of 4:40.59 set by Kathy Thompson back in 1990.

Ackerman had a relatively easy swim in the morning preliminary, knowing that she didn't have to give everything she had to qualify for the finals. "She had a lot more left at the end than I thought she would because she went out really hard in the first half of the race going for the record," PLU head coach Matt Sellman said.  "She is gutsy swimmer."

The Lutes opened the night by placing fourth in the 200 medley relay in a time of 1:52.00. It was the third consecutive relay event in which the PLU team finished within a second of the school record. Members of that team included Darla Avis, Rachel Althauser, Castillo and Michelle Hogan.

PLU added points in the 200 freestyle where Elizabeth Althauser placed 13th, in the 100 breaststroke where her sister Rachel finished 10th, and in the 400 IM, where Mackenzie Carlson, Joanna Griffiths and Jacqueline Gutierrez placed 14th, 15th and 16th, respectively.

The Pacific Lutheran women closed their night by finishing sixth in the 800 freestyle relay.

Parker lowered the 100 backstroke record he broke in the opening leg of the 400 medley relay last night, clocking 52.95 to place fourth in his specialty. Corban Elliott was sixth in 53.25, which if not for Parker would have established a new PLU record in the event. Basil Whaley added points by placing 10th.

Rayan Carter and Dan Pedack both placed in the 100 breaststroke final, Carter getting fifth with a time of 1:01.42 and Pedack touching the wall in seventh in 1:02.51.

The PLU men opened the night by placing fourth in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:36.20, just .15 seconds behind third-place Whitman. Team members included Parker, Carter, Elliott and Mesford.

Jacob Deines recorded the first of his two sixth-place finishes during the evening, clocking 4:16.74 in the 400 IM, with teammate Andre Tacuyan notching eighth in 4:28.07. Dan Pedack, who swam in the 400 IM consolation final, placed ninth in 4:25.35, while Matt Beal was 15th for additional PLU points.

Deines came right back to finish sixth in the 100 butterfly in a time of 52.56. That field was loaded as the first five finishers all met the NCAA B qualifying standard.

Mesford, who missed qualifying for the 200 freestyle championship final by less than four-tenths of a second, had his best swim of the season in the event to place ninth overall. The 1:44.83 he recorded in the consolation final would have given him fifth place in the championship final. Patrick Opie finished fourth in the consolation final, 13th overall, for the Lutes.

The night ended with the men placing fourth in the 800 free relay, clocking 7:16.72.

The conference championship meet ends its three-day run on Sunday. Preliminaries are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., with finals set for a 5 p.m. start.