WOMEN'S SWIMMING AND DIVING: Ball State finishes last in MAC Championships

Cardinals repeat performance from last seasonGÇÖs championships

Coming into the Mid-American Conference Championships, the Ball State University women's swimming and diving team thought they were anything but a last place team. In the weeks leading up to the meet, the coaches and women of the team held high hopes for this year's championship.

Those hopes were dashed as the team came up 75 points shy of seventh place Bowling Green, ensuring another last-place finish.

Coach Laura Seibold-Caudill said that despite the outcome, she was proud of her team's effort that saw three school records broken and several personal-best times set.

"It is what it is," coach Laura Seibold-Caudill said. "No coach can get every member of the team to have the best meet of their life at the same meet. You just have to ask that they give 100 percent, and they did."

The Cardinals started the meet off on a good foot by setting a school record in the 200-yard medley relay in a time of 1:43.82. The next event of the night, the 800-yard freestyle relay would have been a school record had the team not been disqualified for a swimmer leaving early.

"I think that the disqualification in the 800 relay knocked a little wind out of our sails," Seibold-Caudill said. "They rebounded back well the next day though."

Thursday proved to be a good day for a pair of Ball State seniors. Emily Karwoski set her second school record of the meet en route to a seventh-place finish in the 200-yard individual medley in a time of 2:04.74.

"Emily did incredible," Seibold-Caudill said. "If she were to map out the best meet she could have, that would have been it."

Thursday night also saw fellow senior Lisa Maertin finish seventh in 1-meter diving. Maertin qualified for the NCAA Zone Diving meet earlier this year. Friday, Maertin, who finished seventh last year in the 3-meter, finished 16th.

"I think Lisa was disappointed by her performance in the 3-meter," Seibold-Caudill said. "But she has another meet to bounce back at the NCAA Zone meet over Spring Break."

The seniors weren't the only ones to show up to the meet for the Cardinals, however. All but two swimmers had at least one season or personal best at the meet. Seibold-Caudill said that the strength of the underclassman is a sign of things to come.

"We had a lot of near-top 16 finishes with some of the freshmen, but they are just rookies and have three more years to improve," she said.

Despite having personal-best times and still finishing last, Seibold-Caudill said the team is already using the experience as a building block for next season.

"I think this group is beginning something. They're on fire," Seibold-Caudill said. "During the bus ride home, there wasn't any talk of being glad to be done. They were talking about their excitement for next year and their excitement to train this offseason."

The team will have plenty of time for training. After a two-week break, the Cardinals will be back in the pool to begin offseason training the Monday after Spring Break. The 2010-2011 season starts Oct. 1 with the Alumni Meet at the Lewellen Aquatic Center.