SEASON IN REVIEW: Pacific Lutheran's men's and women's swim teams capped off successful campaigns during the 2011-12 season by announcing team awards and rewriting the top 10 record books. The men's side finished 5-0 in the Northwest Conference regular season standings while the PLU women finished in the top half of the standings at fourth place with a 3-2 NWC mark). At the conference championship meet, the PLU men placed third and the Lutes women finished fifth.
TEAM AWARDS ANNOUNCED: Four team awards were issued to members of both the men's and women's swim teams in recognition of their outstanding contributions during the 2011-12 season. Junioir Chase Mesford (Longview, Wash./Mark Morris HS) and freshman Toni Castillo (Sunnyside, Wash./Sunnyside HS) both took home the Most Valuable Lute awards from their respective teams. The Golden Flyer award for greatest improvement was awarded to freshmen Alexander Dassoff (Klamath Falls, Ore./Klamath Union HS) from the men's team and to Rachel Althauser (Seattle, Wash./Mt. Rainier HS) from the women's team. The Black and Gold awards for recognition of exceptional team spirit and enthusiasm were given to freshmen Daniel Pedack (Snohomish, Wash./Snohomish HS) from the men's program and, netting her second team honor, Rachel Althauser from the women's program. The Lute Coaches Award recipients were chosen exclusively by the PLU swim team coaching staff for their exceptional demonstration of the team's four pillars: integrity, commitment, work ethic and fun. Senior Rayan Carter (Mukilteo, Wash./Kamiak HS) took home the award on the men's side while sophomore Kina Ackerman (Lynnwood, Wash./Meadowdale HS) of the women's team claimed the honor.
REWRITING THE RECORD BOOKS: Plenty of new names appeared on the all-time PLU Top 10 Swimming Records list at the conclusion of the past season. Three men's and two women's top 10 relay records were established this season. On the men's side, freshmen Corban Elliott and Joseph Parker teamed up with junior Chase Mesford and senior Rayan Carter to swim the second-best 200 medley relay in PLU history with a time of 1:36.20. Carter, Mesford and Parker along with junior Jacob Deines also added the sixth-best 400 medley relay time in men's swimming lore with a 3:34.22 mark. To cap off the 2012 relay successes, the trio or Carter, Mesford and Parker teamed up with freshman Basil Whaley to set the all-time PLU record for the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:26.85, beating the old record set in 1996 by .04 seconds.
Three individual men's records were broken this season as well. Mesford set the fastest 50 freestyle time with a mark of 21.31, besting the previous standard set in 1990 by Marc LeMaster by .15 seconds. Parker and Elliott also set school records of their own in the 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke, respectively. Parker notched a time of 52.95 in the 100, besting Elliott's second best all-time mark of 53.25. Elliott's record-breaking time in the 200 backstroke blew past the previous bar set by Richard Cromwell back in 2001 by nearly a second with a 1:55.30 pace.
For the PLU women, freshman trio Rachel Althauser, Michelle Hogan and Toni Castillo teamed up with sophomore Darla Avis to set the seventh-best 200 medley relay time in PLU women's swimming with a mark of 1:52.00. The same quartet also managed to supplant the fourth-best 400 medley time with a pace of 4:04.04.
One individual record was broken in the 400 individual medley by Kina Ackerman. The sophomore set a time of 4:39.23, besting the 1988 record previously set by Kathy Thompson by 1.36 seconds.
LUTE NOTES: Following is a summary of the program's accomplishments this season and in the two years that Matt Sellman has been the head coach.
- 2 individual conference titles this season
- 1 NCAA B Cut (Toni Castillo in the 100 Fly) this season
- 46 top 10 individual times in PLU history since summer 2010 (only 43 total between 2000-2010)
- 10 top 10 relays times (no top 10 relays times since 1997)
- 5 school records broken, 4 individual and 1 relay, this season