Ball State men’s swimming and diving finished in second place at the Eastern Michigan Invitational, which is the best the team has done in this meet. Last season, Ball State placed third out of six teams.

“I didn’t want any part of finishing third again,” head coach Bob Thomas said. “It was nice to bump Wayne State out of that position and take it over.” 

This time around, two swimmers were highlighted in their given events. 

FINAL STANDINGS

1. Eastern Michigan - 1,268.5 points

2. Ball State - 770 points

3. Wayne State - 685 points

4. Albion College - 482 points

5. Tiffin - 228.5 points

HIGHLIGHTED EVENTS 

In the events talked about in the meet preview, senior Isaac Walling finished in fifth place, dropping 40 seconds (16:32.00) with a season-best to beat freshman Davis Meyn by 1.32 seconds. Both Meyn and Walling recorded season-best times in the 500-yard freestyle. But Meyn finished in fifth place (4:44.95) while Walling was in ninth (4:48.97). 

Another swimmer that was predicted to do well was sophomore Ben Andrew, who recorded season-bests in all of his events.

“His times were at his best-ever and I think in a few occasions, he hit his personal best times,” Thomas said. “It was a great meet for him. He was focused, he had very high goals for the meet and he was able to attain them.” 

Junior diver Gabe Dean beat senior Khayman from Wayne State by 18.9 points in the one-meter dive. Dean finished in seventh place with a season-best 195.35 points. 

FIRST PLACE WINNER 

On the first night of competition, junior Cullen Tyler won the 200-yard breastroke in a season-best fashion, recording a time of 2:03.84. Tyler beat out Eastern Michigan’s breaststrokers, who are the defending Mid-American Conference Champions. 

“Any time you take a victory over EMU, you have done a major achievement,” Thomas said. “Here are our guys, who are non-scholarship, hardworking and blue-chip athletes, who go in there to swim fast. We were able to take down a MAC champion, EMU, in the 200-yard breaststroke and yeah, that was a big victory.” 

From this weekend’s performance, the team kept one thing in check: season-best times. 

A STATISTIC TO THINK ABOUT 

The Cardinals recorded 57 season-best times out of 60 overall performances, to conclude the meet with 95 percent of their athletes setting season-bests.

“I didn’t even know that,” Thomas said when asked about the season-bests. “I knew time after time, every time the guys got in that they were just swimming incredibly fast. I was expecting it and I was hoping for that kind of performance. They came through.” 

In many cases, the team swam faster than it did last year at the MAC Swimming and Diving Championships. Thomas said he enjoyed watching them swim fast this weekend. 

“It’s fun to see them swim fast like this,” Thomas said. “To see the smiles on their faces — especially after all the hard work they have done up to this point.” 

This was the first time the team finished in second place at this invite. 

WINTER BREAK 

This weekend marked the last fall meet of the season, before the Cardinals begin to train during winter break. Up to this point of the season, Thomas said this training program has worked well for his team. 

“They have adapted to the training program up to this point and they're back to where they were at the end of last season,” Thomas said. “At this point moving forward, they have an opportunity to raise above their personal best.” 

The second half of the season starts on Jan. 5 at a coed tri-meet against IUPUI and Xavier. The meet is slated to start at 6 p.m. at the IUPUI Natatorium. 

Contact Patrick Murphy with comments at prmurphy2@bsu.edu.