'Cardinal Family' shines through in Ball State's first-annual alumni meet

<p>Water stands still in the pool Sept. 22, 2020, at Lewellen Aquatic Center. This facility is where the men&#x27;s and women&#x27;s swim teams practice and compete. <strong>Jacob Musselman, DN</strong></p>

Water stands still in the pool Sept. 22, 2020, at Lewellen Aquatic Center. This facility is where the men's and women's swim teams practice and compete. Jacob Musselman, DN

Ball State Swimming and Diving hosted its first-annual alumni meet Friday evening to coordinate with Ball State's Homecoming week. Swimmers and divers from the Cardinals past and present came togehter in the Lewellen Acquatic Center to compete against one another.

Current swimming and diving athletes partipcated in 14 events, while alumni competed in 11 events.

This meet served as a precursor to the regular season for the Cardinals. Junior Apsara Sakbun believed the meet created excitement for the upcoming season, especially with more meets scheduled this year compared to 2020-21.

"It was really fun to compete against the alumni," Sakbun said. "It was good, it was a new challenge, and it was fun.” 

Sakbun won the Women’s 200 Freestyle with a time of 1:56.30, while also placing first in the Women's 100 Backstroke.

Tanner Barton (2013-17) was one of the several alumni who participated. At the 2015 Mid-American Confernece Championships, Barton recorded a 200 fly time of 1:50.09, which still ranks second in program history. Barton also served as a graduate assistant coach at Ball State in 2017-18. As he walked into Lewellen Acquatic Center, Barton felt a certian energy.

"Walking into the dome, the lights, the water, it was really special," Barton said. "Lewellen is a special place.” 

The block sits in front of the lane Sept. 22, 2020, at Lewellen Aquatic Center. In addition to housing the men's and women's swim teams, the facility is also used for classes and recreational swimming. Jacob Musselman, DN

Barton competed against some of the athletes he recruited as a graduate assistant, such as senior Ryan Short and senior Philip Choroser. Barton described the experience as 'special.'

Head Coach J. Agnew was heavily involved in organizing and coordinating the meet, and thought it was a great reflection of the entire program.

"One thing we always talk about is the Cardinal Family," Agnew said. "Tonight, you could see how many alumni and current athletes were happy to be back home. I just thought it was a heck of a lot of fun racing. To see our athletes getting after it and to see the love of the sport after so many years, I thought it was great for everybody.” 

This swim meet was a unique event for Ball State, because while there was fun involved, there was competition similar to every other meet.

Junior Owen Chaye won the Men’s 200 Freestyle with a time of 1:44.78. Anthony DeBrota (2008-2013) won the Mixed 50 Fly along with two other events.

Agnew is looking forward to the upcoming season and sees great possibilites within the Cardinals this year.

“I think everybody’s about as fired up as they can be,” Agnew said.

The men return to the pool Oct. 28 in Muncie against Miami (OH). The meet starts at 5 p.m. The women join the men on the road Oct. 29 against Eastern Illinois. The meet also begins at 5 p.m.

Contact Kyle Smedley on Twitter @smedley1932 or via email at kyle.smedley@bsu.edu.

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