Ball State Women’s Swimming and Diving (5-6, 1-3 MAC) descended on Buffalo, New York, for the Mid-American Conference Championships Wednesday. The MAC has been a tough trip for the Cardinals in recent years. Last season, Ball State only scored points in eight events. This year, the Cardinals struggled, placing eighth out of eight teams. However, the team showed improvements over last year’s effort.
Ball State scored 223 points at this year's MAC Championships, falling 39.5 points behind the next closest team in Ohio. However, the Cardinals were powered by 23 personal best performances, and a school record in the 200 free relay.
“While we are all disappointed to finish eighth, we grew a lot as a team this weekend,” head coach Jeremy Agnew said in a press release. “Last year, we only had five individual swims in finals and finished with 148 points as a team. This year we put up 223 points and had 16 individual swims in finals.”
The record-setting relay team encapsulates all of the promise that Ball State has going forward, as half of the Cardinals are sophomores or younger. Sophomore Alex Bader and freshman Apsara Sakbun will each be major contributors to Ball State for the next two years. On the other hand, seniors Peighton Gilbert and Anne Vormohr will be graduating with their names in the school record books.
In what was the highest individual performance for the Cardinals on the weekend, Bader took fifth in the conference in the 100 breaststroke. On the diving side of the pool, senior Rachel Bertram placed sixth on the 1-meter boards and junior Caitlin Locante finished in eighth.
While this was the final event for the team as a whole, there are a few swimmers and divers who will be competing in the National Invitational Championship starting March 12 at Cleveland State University. Some of the names competing include Sakbun, Gilbert, Bader, as well as freshmen Shelby Crist and Sydney Dygert.
Bertram and Locante will be competing at the NCAA Diving Zones. This is the fourth consecutive appearance at the Diving Zones for Bertram, who will graduate as one of the most decorated divers in Ball State history.
“Our divers showed their strength with all three scoring points and Rachel and Caitlin earning spots in the championship finals,” Agnew said in a press release. “We have a lot of work to do, but I love this team and we are taking big strides forward.”