Ball State men's swimming and diving saw stand-out performances in weekend loss

<p>Sophomore Ben Andrew swims butterfly in the 400-yard medley relay during the meet against Grand Valley State on Nov. 18 in Lewellen Pool. <strong>Kaiti Sullivan, DN</strong></p>

Sophomore Ben Andrew swims butterfly in the 400-yard medley relay during the meet against Grand Valley State on Nov. 18 in Lewellen Pool. Kaiti Sullivan, DN

After a tough winter break of two-a-day practices and training, Ball State men’s swimming and diving came up short against all three teams over the weekend. 

Head swimming coach Bob Thomas said his athletes will now get back into a school year routine with classes starting this week.

“All week we have been doing two-a-days,” Thomas said. “It’s brutal and it accumulates stress. By the end of the week, which is right now, they got to be tired. The ones that were able to step up, I was very pleased with their overall performance.”

Ball State came into the meet, after posting 57 season-best times at the Eastern Michigan Invite. At this meet, Ball State had only six season-best times out of 41 overall performances. However, the Cardinals did have a few athletes that found success in the pool.

One of the athletes that stood out was sophomore Logan Ackley in the 200-yard backstroke. Thomas said Ackley has been working hard in practices over break.

“He was really swimming close to what he did rested at Eastern Michigan and that’s a good sign,” Thomas said. “He has been working his rear end off. I was very pleased with his performance, based on how hard he has been working. Typically, the harder you work the slower you swim.”

Ackley placed third in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 1:54.39, three seconds off of his season-best time, and fourth in the 100-yard backstroke (53.19 seconds).

Senior Banistre Lienhart also managed to find success over the weekend. Lienhart led the 400-yard freestyle 'A relay' to a fifth place finish. Lienhart said it was a fun relay to swim in.

“I think our relay tonight did really well,” Lienhart said. “Holding off those two IUPUI, UIndy and Xavier guys was huge at the end.”

Lienhart also had stellar finishes in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle, to take fifth and 11th place, respectively. After practicing twice a day all break, Lienhart is looking forward to making an adjustment around classes that will consist of one practice a day.

“The doubles definitely wore down the guys,” Lienhart said. “We’re all exhausted and we were still able to put up some fast times. I’m really proud of them. The toughest two weeks of training and here we are swimming lights out. I only see us swimming faster from here.”

Aside from the swimmers, the divers had some “hit-and-miss” performances. At the tri-meet, head diving coach Nick Gayes said his divers did a pretty good job.

“Some good things and bad things,” Gayes said. “Definitely stuff that we still need to work on, but it has been a pretty heavy workload this week for them. They had tired legs and I was expecting a little of that to show through.”

One of the divers, who had a season-best in the three-meter, was freshman Sean Wolfe. Only diving for two weeks after injuring his eardrum during practice, Wolfe finished in fifth place in three-meter diving.

“[Sean] still looks a little rusty,” Gayes said. “He missed a decent amount of time and has only been back for only two weeks. Another couple of weeks, let him continue get his feel back and give us a chance to make some corrections beyond just getting comfortable. I think he will help us a lot.”

In the competition, Wolfe was among divers from both IUPUI and UIndy. One of the divers for IUPUI, junior Krisztian Somhegyi, competed at the 2017 European World Championships. Wolfe said he didn’t expect that at all.

“Nick was talking to me and I was really shocked cause I don’t usually expect the most when I’m diving,” Wolfe said. “It was pretty cool to hear that and for him to explain that to me.”

This week, Gayes said both the intensity and volume will be down, compared to during winter training.

“We will probably have a couple of days just kind of getting back into the groove and letting them start classes,” Gayes said. “And getting back into the type of routine they had earlier in the year. I think the volume coming down will be helpful for them as well.”

At the end of the week, Ball State men's swimming and diving will face the defending Mid-American Conference champions of Eastern Michigan. The meet starts at 1 p.m. on Jan. 13 at Lewellen Pool. 

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