In a weekend that included commanding team wins and a record-breaking performance, Ball State Swimming and Diving emerged victorious against its first opponents this season.
The men captured seven of its 12 events, which helped the team walk away with a 151-109 win Friday against Eastern Illinois. The women’s team — which competed both Friday night and Saturday afternoon — looked dominant in both outings. Against Eastern Illinois, the Cardinals defeated the Panthers 165-92, winning all 12 events.
On Saturday, the women continued its momentum with a 172-127 victory over Mid-American Conference rival Bowling Green.
Head Coach J. Agnew said he felt energy stemming from both the men’s and women’s teams, and it was contagious throughout the pool.
“It felt electric,” Agnew said. “We were so excited to be back to racing.”
The highlight of the weekend came Friday night from the men, where freshman Joey Garberick made history in his Ball State debut. He recorded a final time of 56.53 in the 100 breaststroke, setting a record for the fastest time recorded in the event in the Lewellen Aquatic Center.
Garberick placed first in two other events for the men — the 200 breaststroke and 200 individual medley. Following weeks of preparation, Agnew said he was impressed with Garberick’s efforts.
“It was nothing we had not seen these last six weeks of practice,” Agnew said. “What he accomplished Friday night, it was extraordinary to say the least, but this is just the start for him.”
Other notable men’s victories include sophomore Bryce Handshoe in the 100 butterfly (52.39), senior Davis Meyn in the 500 freestyle (4:54.85) and freshman Zach Zishka in the 1000 freestyle (10:15.73).
When describing the women’s side, Agnew praised the Cardinals’ aggressiveness and mentality on why the team looked so potent across the board.
"They love each other, work hard and are not afraid to race,” Agnew expressed. “They looked fearless.”
Sophomore Apsara Sakbun secured first place in four events over the weekend. Two came in the 50 freestyle (24.17 vs EIU; 24.15 vs BGSU), while the other two came in the 100 backstroke (2:07.08 vs EIU) and 100 freestyle (52.76 vs BGSU).
“[Sakbun] is building off what she did her freshman year,” Agnew said. “The team knows she is going to bring it.”
Against Eastern Illinois, junior Alexa McDonald finished first in the 100 breaststroke (1:06.83) and the 100 freestyle (54.24). The tandem of Audrey Schank, Laura Wright, Shelby Crist and Sakbun teamed up to win the 200 medley relay (1:45.35).
Saturday against Bowling Green, the women replicated its success in the 200 medley relay (1:46.36). Other winners against BGSU included Alex Bader in the 100 yard breaststroke (1:05.62), Phoebe Rensink in the 200 butterfly (2:08.39) and Wright in the 200 breaststroke (2:24.20).
While Ball State’s future schedule is unclear, the Mid-American Conference Championships are scheduled for April 8. Coach Agnew understands Ball State’s job remains unfinished, and he has his sight on the end-of-season event.
“We are excited, but by no means are we satisfied,” Agnew stated. “Our real test comes in April at the MAC Championships.”