Swim team leans on young talent in conference play

Joey Balleweg

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Only six races into the swimming season and the Boxers have shown improvement in their growing program. But the Pacific University team is still looking to accomplish more as the season progresses.

“We’re still early in the season and discovering untapped potential, especially in our swimmers who are new to the team,” says second-year Head Coach Beth Whittle. Both the men’s and women’s teams started the year against top Northwest Conference competition found in Whitman College and Whitworth University.

“The team took advantage of the opportunity to bond and see some Northwest competition for the first time,” says coach Whittle of the experience. 

Through some tough finishes, the Boxers may have found their next star swimmer in freshman Julie Abrigonde. Abrigonde has led the team in many swimming categories and has even broke the school record for the opening leg in the women’s 300 medley relay. 

Whittle sees the freshman as an “incredibly competitive and motivated swimmer” who works hard every day in both practice and at meets to do everything to the best of her ability.

“I hope to qualify for futures within the national swimming circuit,” Abrigonde said of herself. “I also hope to score high in conference.”

Along with Abrogonde, freshman swimmer Josh Joireman has made his presence felt in the pool. In the dual meet against Whitworth and Whitman, Joireman added a season-best in the 50-yard freestyle, tying for second-place as well as coming in third for the 100-yard freestyle.

Whittle commends the athletes in the pool and the “incredibly healthy, happy team culture” that has been created in only her second year leading the Boxers swimming program.

“We now have an incredible level of trust and respect for each other and that enables me to understand what they need in the pool,” Whittle explained. 

The Boxers have several swim meets at home still to come as the season moves forward through January and February. Both Abrigonde and Whittle hope to see fans in the stands for these dates. 

“I love seeing family, friends, faculty, staff and alumni in the stands cheering us on,” said the coach. “I know the team appreciates the support as well.”

With several meets left in the season, the Boxer swim program has proven they have the ability to make an impact in the Northwest Conference, potentially growing into a top team in the future. 

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