SEATTLE (March 30) – Seattle University women’s swimming put together a terrific 2016-17 season, as the Redhawks toppled many program records and Blaise Wittenauer-Lee qualified for the NCAA Championships.
Sixth-year Coach Craig Nisgor oversaw a squad that went 7-1 in eight meets at the Connolly Complex and collected five medals at the 2017 WAC Championships in Houston. The Redhawks notched 18 program records, 34 all-time top-10 efforts, and 50 personal-best swims on the season.
Wittenauer-Lee, a senior, became the first Redhawk swimmer to qualify for NCAAs since the program moved to Division I. She was named WAC Female Swimmer of the Year following an historic performance at the WAC Championships. The native of Portland, Oregon, won the 200 IM, 100 breaststroke, and 200 breaststroke titles, setting a pair of conference records. Wittenauer-Lee set program records in all three events, also posting school records as the leadoff in both the 400 freestyle and 800 freestyle relays.
In the 200 breaststroke, Wittenauer-Lee smashed a 14-year-old WAC record with a time of 2:09.85, the 24th-fastest in the nation at the time. She also broke a 12-year-old conference mark with a 1:00.52 in the 100 breaststroke. In the 200 IM, Wittenauer-Lee put up a 1:59.95 on her way to victory.
At the WAC Championships, she set the school’s 100 freestyle record with a 50.81 leadoff leg in the 400 freestyle relay and also broke the 200 freestyle mark with a 1:48.75 leadoff in the 800 freestyle relay.
Wittenauer-Lee finishes her SU career with five individual WAC gold medals, five individual school records and three relay records. She finished 27th in the 200 breaststroke at the NCAA Championships-the highest finish by a WAC swimmer at NCAAs since 2011.
Madi Lydig had a terrific showing at the WAC Championships, tallying three school records and earning a silver medal in the 200 backstroke. Her 1:58.82 time in that event blew away her previous mark, already a Redhawk record and was good for an NCAA “B” cut. In the 100 backstroke, Lydig swam a 56.91 to set an SU record. Her 4:54.87 time in the 500 freestyle is also the fastest time in program history.
Paige Treff logged a 23.38 in the 50 freestyle at the conference meet, setting a program record. She also became the school’s record-holder in the 100 butterfly, swimming a 55.91 at the WAC Championships.
In the 400 medley relay, Lydig, Wittenauer-Lee, Treff, and Kristen Hoffman teamed up to swim a school-record 3:44.35. The group placed second in the event, marking the best-ever finish by a Seattle U relay team at the WAC Championships and taking four seconds off the previous record. The 200 freestyle relay team of Wittenauer-Lee, Maddie Dickman, Sidney Pinger, and Treff combined for a school-record time of 1:34.76 at the WAC meet. On the final day of the conference meet, Wittenauer-Lee, Treff, Jayna Van Stone, and Hoffman broke the 400 freestyle relay record with a 3:26.85 effort.
Seattle U will say goodbye to a strong senior class, as Wittenauer-Lee, Hoffman, Pinger, Emma Foster, Kaitlyn Overstreet, Annika Perry, Katie Rottman, and Kate Sabourin will graduate this spring. Separate from Wittenauer-Lee, the rest of the senior class will leave with 19 individual all-time top-10 performances at SU.