Bearcats on Women's Swimming Team to Compete at NWC Championships

Anna Hornbeck swims breaststroke for the Bearcats.
Anna Hornbeck (Jr., Bend, OR/Bend HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

SALEM, Ore. -- Student-athletes on the Willamette University women's swimming team are set to compete at the 2024 Northwest Conference Swimming Championships from Thursday, Feb. 8 through Sunday, Feb. 11 at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Washington. Swimmers from the WU women's team will be entered in individual events in all four strokes, plus freestyle relays and medley relays. All nine NWC member institutions will be competing for team and individual titles.

The NWC Swimming Championships will begin with the 200-yard medley relay and 800-yard freestyle relay events on Thursday evening at 5 p.m. PST. On Friday, individual events will be the 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard individual medley, and 50-yard freestyle, with preliminary heats starting at 9:30 a.m. Consolation (A) finals and championship (B) finals will get underway at 5 p.m. The 400-yard medley relay events will be held on Friday evening.

Saturday's schedule of individual events will include the 400-yard individual medley, 100-yard butterfly, 200-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke, and 100-yard backstroke, with prelims at 9:30 a.m. PST and finals set for 5 p.m. The 200-yard freestyle relay will begin the evening session. On Sunday, individual events include the 200-yard backstroke, 100-yard freestyle, 200-yard breaststroke, and 200-yard butterfly, with prelims at 9:30 a.m. and finals at 4 p.m. The 1,650-yard freestyle events will be held between Sunday's main sessions. The 400-yard freestyle relay will be the final event of the meet on Sunday evening.

Willamette enters the championships with several men's swimmers who will likely battle for spots in the championship finals or consolations finals. Top swimmers for the Bearcats who will be competing this weekend include Tessa Ciatti (Fy., Bellingham, WA/Squalicum HS), Tatum Good (Jr., Scottsdale, AZ/Scottsdale Prep Academy), Anna Hornbeck (Jr., Bend, OR/Bend HS), Leah Howell (Fy., Bremerton, WA/Central Kitsap HS), Sarah Jenner (Jr., Normandy Park, WA/Stanford Online HS), Alayna Kisiday (Jr., Silverdale, WA/Central Kitsap HS), and Lydia Schmitt (Fy., Olympia, WA/North Thurston HS)

Ciatta has provided the Bearcats with outstanding results as a first-year collegiate swimmer. She is ranked fourth in the NWC in the 400-yard individual medley (4:48.31) and the 200-yard butterfly (2:15.37), holds eighth place in the rankings for the 100-yard butterfly (1:00.18), and is ninth in the 200-yard individual medley (2:16.35).

Good is listed in the top 12 of three events. She owns the fourth seed in the 200-yard backstroke (2:12.42), is 10th in the 100-yard backstroke (1:01.62), and ranks 12th in the 200-yard individual medley (2:17.61).

Hornbeck has won two NWC individual championships in her career. She took first place in the 100-yard breaststroke in 2022 with a time of 1:05.11, while setting a school record. In 2023, she won the 200-yard breaststroke in a school record time of 2:20.08. This year, Hornbeck is seeded second in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:07.51) and is listed third in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:26.81).

First-year swimmer Howell is ranked in the top 17 of three events. Howell is seventh in the 100-yard backstroke (1:00.95), seventh in the 100-yard freestyle (56.05), and 11th in the 50-yard freestyle (25.51).

Jenner is ranked seventh in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:30.67). In distance events, she is listed ninth in the 1,650-yard freestyle (19:01.65) and is 14th in the 500-yard freestyle (5:35.84).

Kisiday holds top eight rankings in all three sprint events. She is fifth in the 200-yard freestyle (2:00.12), sixth in the 100-yard freestyle (54.50), and eighth in the 50-yard freestyle (25.08).

There are three events with Schmitt in the pre-event rankings. She is ranked 12th in the 100-yard freestyle (55.72), 13th in the 50-yard freestyle (25.65), and 17th in the 100-yard butterfly (1:03.41).

Willamette has three women's relays teams ranked in the top four which means they will swim in the second heat during those events. Each relay will begin with the team seeded sixth through ninth in one heat, followd by the top five seede teams in the second heat.

The Bearcats begin the NWC Championships listed third in the 200-yard medley relay (1:50.56). Willamette is ranked fourth in both the 400-yard freestyle relay (3:41.57) and the 400-yard medley relay (4:03.14).