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Willhite is setting free

November 22, 2013

Monmouth College Photo / Monmouth's swimming and diving team placed second in the first meet this weekend.

Erin Willhite came out ahead in three races last weekend as she led the Monmouth Women’s Swimming and Diving team to a second place finish in their first meet of the year. The junior and 2013 conference runner-up in the 100 freestyle won that event in addition to being a member of successful 400 freestyle relay and the 400 yard medley team.

Willhite is enjoying the success of the first meet after a laborious offseason. “Swimming well last weekend really gave me something to thrive on at practices. All the hard work that I have been putting in over the summer is now going to pay off,” said Willhite.

The Scots battled Carroll and the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in a triangular meet last Saturday; the women easily beat UW-River Falls but falling to Carroll.

After the first week, Willhite is one of two Scots women to appear in the conference top five in a particular event. The other is freshmen Sarah Lang, who is fifth in the 100 freestyle, one spot behind Willhite.

Asked whether she expects to be competitive in this event at the conference meet, Lang said, “It’s still really early to tell! I would definitely love to stay in the running for the event, and it’s probably going to be one of my goals for the season. I’m really excited to see how this year plays out because Coach Burek is already working so hard to better all of our starts, turns, and strokes. I feel like this is going to pay off in a huge way for the entire team when conference comes around.”

Monmouth has only three individual conference winners in its women’s history, the last one, Krysta Sparks, swimming to gold in the 200 breaststroke in 2009. That statistic should change if Willhite’s success continues. Last year at conference, she took second in the 50 and 100 freestyle and fourth in the 200 freestyle. Lake Forrest freshmen Alex Dunn took the MWC record in the 50 and threatened it in the 100 and 200.

Willhite knows Dunn won’t be easy to sink but she’s ready to take it one stroke at a time. “I am not really concentrating on my times right now because I am trying to fix little things in my races that will help me when it comes time for the big conference meet in February.”

The next meet for women’s and men’s swimming will be on Friday when Monmouth will host Augustana College in a dual meet at Pepper Natatorium in the Huff Center. Augustana handily defeated the Scots in last year’s showdown at Rock Island, 77-159.

Cameron Line
Sports Editor

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