Men's freestyle relay sets meet record

The men's swimming and diving team put the rest it received over the Thanksgiving break to use with a win in the Akron Invitational this weekend.

The Cardinals finished the meet with 1880 points. St. Bonaventure University and Clarion University finished second and third out of the 10 teams that competed.

Head coach Bob Thomas said he felt the team held an outside chance of winning going into the meet, but was pleased with the victory.

"Everything fell together," Thomas said. "It turned out to be our most successful fall invitational that we've ever been in."

The Cardinals were led by sophomore Ryan Bowman, who finished second in the overall individual rankings with 84 points. Juniors Jason Revere and Chad Rusk finished sixth and seventh overall with 81 and 80.5 points.

Ball State also won two of the five relay events.

Thomas said the team's win in the 800-yard freestyle relay (sophomores Andy Young and Ryan Bowman, and freshmen Kurtis Lerr and Paul Whitaker) was one of their top five all-time performances. The 6:49.30 time was a meet record.

In their second relay victory the Cardinals beat Cleveland State by .04.

"It was always back and forth with Cleveland State in the relays," Thomas said. "It was an exciting race. Everybody was on their feet, and the crowd was going crazy."

Thomas said the three-day meet was important for the Cardinals to prepare mentally and physically for the Mid-American Conference Championship in March, which is also a three-day meet.

Ohio University, a MAC opponent, finished ninth in the invitational, but Thomas said it is hard to judge their skill based on this weekend.

"They weren't swimming with their entire team," Thomas said. "They use the meet for other reasons than the way we look at it so it's hard to compare how we stack up with each other."

Thomas said he was looking for the team to take this high level of swimming to the second half of the season.

"We've had great meets all fall," he said. "We've lost close ones in the Indiana Invitational and Western Kentucky. Those both came down to the closing second of the meet. Right now we have a lot of momentum."


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