Resumption of swim season results in loss

Despite loss, Cougars show positives with several category wins, records

Then-freshman+Mikaela+Kirton+swims+the+second+leg+of+the+3x50+yard+Breaststroke+relay+on+Sept.+27%2C+2019+at+Gibb+pool.

CAROLYNN CLAREY | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE

Then-freshman Mikaela Kirton swims the second leg of the 3×50 yard Breaststroke relay on Sept. 27, 2019 at Gibb pool.

AARIK LONG, Evergreen sports editor

Despite a great performance from the whole team, WSU women’s swim was unable to come out victorious against Utah.

2021 did not quite start with the splash the Cougars wanted, as WSU fell 140-118 to the Utah Utes on Friday at Gibb Pool.

Despite the overall team loss, there were a lot of positives to pull from the Cougars’ performance.

“Our seniors all stepped up and won one event, which is exactly what we needed,” head coach Matt Leach said. “And we had freshman step up and swim all-time top ten swims.”

The senior’s winners were led by Chloe Larson, who tied with sophomore Cougar Michee van Rooyen atop the individual leaderboards with 18 points. 

Larson’s performance was highlighted by two wins: the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle events.

In fact, Larson’s time of 22.7 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle event was good enough to put her name on top of the all-time leaderboard at Gibb Pool.

“It’s a great milestone for her,” Leach said. “She’s not done working. She’s got a lot more to go. She’s excited for moving on and looking forward to the next practice and next meet.”

The other points leader for the competition, van Rooyen, won in two of the other freestyle events, the 200-yard and 500-yard variants.

In addition to those two swimmers, freshman Kiana Swain won the 200-yard butterfly event, senior Mackenzie Duarte won the 200-yard breaststroke and senior Taylor McCoy won the 200-yard individual medley.

McCoy’s time was almost another record-breaking performance for the Cougars, as her time came up just three-tenths of a second short of the pool record set by Addisynn Bursch back in 2016.

Leach was also quick to point out that this meet against Utah was a massive improvement over their 173.5-85.5 loss to the same team last season.

“When you look at the progress of this program, we have made some huge strides,” Leach said. “I think it shows when you look at last year when we swam at Utah. It’s night and day difference.”

This is the Cougars’ third meet so far this season, with the previous two back in November against Idaho. WSU has two more dual meets on the schedule in the next two weeks and then the Pac-12 Championships at the end of February.

The Cougars will return to action on Jan. 23 on the road against Seattle University.