In sports, the difference between winning and losing can be measured in inches. Such was the case for the men's swimming and diving team Saturday, when they traveled to Oxford, Ohio to face Mid-American Conference rivals Miami and Northern Illinois. While the host RedHawks easily outdistanced the Cardinals, 168-75, the Huskies benefited from some close finishes to score a 133-110 victory.
While Miami dominated the meet, the Cardinals and Huskies were locked in a heated battle. The final result would hinge on three close races, all won by the Huskies.
"There were three events where their margin of victory over our guys added up to less than eight-tenths of a second," coach Bob Thomas said. "Eight tenths of a second could have won the meet for us."
In those events, junior Nick Schuyler was touched-out by Huskie senior Dario Fuentes in the 50-freestyle (21.54-21.81), sophomore Jason Revere placed second to Huskie freshman Martin Lundgren in the 200-butterfly (1:56.76-1:57.00), and Lundgren later edged junior Zach Smith in the 200-breaststroke (2:13.31-2:13.50).
"Team-wise we raced really well but it was disappointing," Schulyer said. "We would have liked to beat Northern."
Thomas said Northern Illinois was a stronger team on paper, but beatable, had his team not been lacking one element on Saturday.
"I guess I was hoping for a little more emotion," Thomas said.
One swimmer who performed with emotion was sophomore Rod Smith. Smith dominated the 200-backstroke, leading from start to finish. He lead a 1-2 sweep of the event against Northern Illinois and Miami with senior Nick Badgett, 1:55.86 and 1:56.18, respectively. Smith was the only Cardinal to win an event against the RedHawks.
"My dad and I had a talk about being confident in the water before the meet," Smith said. "Also, it was my only event of the meet, and I wanted to make the most of it."
Other victories against Northern Illinois came from the 200-medley relay team of Badgett, sophomore Clint Cadden, senior Matt Pavlovich, and Schulyer (1:37.19) and Revere in the 200-individual medley (1:57.57).
"Our guys did well, but it would have taken a few more Rod Smiths to win," Thomas said. "When you see someone do something like that, it makes you wonder why everyone else can't."