Duarte makes history at Pac-12 Championships

Sophomore breaks school record in 200-yard breaststroke to earn spot in NCAA Championships



Sophomore Mackenzie Duarte races in the 200-yard breaststroke against University of Wyoming on Nov. 9 at Gibb Pool.

SIGMUND SEROKA, Evergreen reporter

The last day of the Pac-12 Championships on Saturday saw WSU swimming post seven top-10 times in program history and sophomore Mackenzie Duarte qualify for the NCAA Championships.

Duarte earned a spot in the NCAA Championships in the preliminary round of the 200-yard breaststroke. She swam a 2:09.47 to claim her heat, breaking the school record in the event by two seconds.

Duarte finished seventh in the championship to become the highest placing Cougar ever at the Pac-12 Championships.

Freshman Lauren Burckel earned a WSU top-10 time and lifetime-best in the 200 breast as well. She clocked a 2:14.24 in the preliminary round, the seventh-fastest mark in program history. In the finals, Burckel bested her time with a 2:12.51 to move up to third all-time on the list.

Senior Linnea Lindberg also competed in the 200 breast and wouldn’t finish her Pac-12 career without posting one last impressive time of 2:24.09.

Sophomore Chloe Larson earned the sixth fastest time in Cougar history with a time of 49.95 during the finals of the 100-yard freestyle.

The young team wasn’t done yet as junior Ryan Falk and sophomore Samantha Howell would each earn lifetime-bests in their events.

Falk posted faster marks in both events. She secured the third-best time in school history in the 1650-yard freestyle and fourth-fastest in the 1000-yard freestyle.

Howell followed that up with the 10th fastest time in WSU history in the 1650 free and the seventh best mark in the 1000 free.

Overall, the Cougars finished eighth with 284.5 points in the conference championships out of the nine teams that competed. Stanford won its third consecutive Pac-12 title with 1,775 points.

All the Cougars except for Duarte will compete at the CSCAA National Invite Mar. 14-16 in Cleveland, Ohio.