Idaho’s swimmers, looking to defeat their Palouse rivals and end their regular season on a high note, fell short against Washington State University Feb. 1 at Gibb Pool in Pullman.
WSU swept the relays and won seven individual events to Idaho’s five on their way to a 156-106 victory. Though Idaho showed great execution in some events, they lacked the consistency across the board that head coach Mark Sowa would have liked to see.
“We did well in spots, and other spots we didn’t,” Sowa said. “We knew it was going to come down to that.”
The bright spots included three individual wins for three-time WAC Swimmer of the Week, sophomore Rachel Millet. Millet won the 100 free, 200 free and 200 individual medley to become the top scorer of the night with 27 points.
Millet, who is undefeated in individual races this season, said she has improved from this time last season and hopes her wins will give her momentum going into the Western Athletic Conference Championships Feb. 27 – March 3.
“I’m really excited, especially, with my times the past few meets,” Millet said. “They’ve been faster than they were last season at the end of the year, so I’m hoping that going into WAC my times will improve by a lot.”
Senior Kelsie Saxe and freshman Jamie Sterbis also finished in the top six among scorers. Saxe won the 100 breaststroke, and freshman Jamie Sterbis won the 200 butterfly and placed second in the 100 butterfly. Sterbis has not lost the 200 butterfly event the last four dual meets.
Sowa said the success of Millet, Saxe and Sterbis is not surprising given how much effort they give in between meets.
“What you see is the culmination of what they do every day in training and every day in practice,” Sowa said. “They’re very thoughtful. They want
to get better and they
look for ways to do that all the time.”
Those individual performances were not enough, however, to overcome losses in the 200-yard medley relay and 400 freestyle relay. WSU also hurt the Vandals when they took the top three spots in the 50 freestyle and finished second through fifth in the 100 free. Despite the loss, Sowa said he was impressed with the resiliency of the team.
“It’s tough to lose that first relay, but we didn’t stop fighting, we didn’t stop swimming and we didn’t stop racing,” Sowa said. “That’s going to pay off in three and a half weeks when we’re down in San Antonio, so that I am impressed with.”
Saxe also said the team will use this meet to help them prepare for the WAC Championships.
“Like our coach said, there was moments of brilliance that we had today and moments where we didn’t compete to our full capability,” Saxe said. “So we’re going to go back to work tomorrow and all the way until WAC and we’re going to make sure that we have a lot more moments of brilliance when we get to San Antonio.”
Anthony Kuipers can be reached at email@example.com