Ball State Men and Women's Swim and Dive competed in the House of Champions hosted by IUPUI Nov. 18-20. The women totaled 1,347 points to place second out of nine. The Cardinals were 17 points behind first-place Illinois. The men ended with 891.5 total points, placing fourth in the seven-team field behind University of Indianapolis, IUPUI and Illinois-Chicago.
Sophomore Marcella Ribeiro recorded the first win of the weekend for Ball State Nov. 18. Ribeiro won the Women’s 500 Freestyle with a time of 4:53.07.
“The first day, we definitely had some home-run swims, which I think just gets everybody fired up,” head coach J. Agnew said. “What we had to work through was when those first few initial swims don’t really meet that expectation and you have three days of racing. It’s a good time to challenge the athlete mentally. How do we handle a little adversity and how do we move forward?”
The Cardinals earned three victories Nov. 19, starting with junior Shelby Crist, senior Alex Bader, freshman Hannah Jones and junior Apsara Sakbun. The group placed first in the Women’s 200 Medley Relay with a time of 1:41.30. The time marked fifth best in Ball State history. Jones also won the Women’s 100 Butterfly, finishing with the third best time in program history (54.55). Bader scored the final Cardinals win in the Women’s 100 Breaststroke with a time of 1:01.86.
“Day two is when we really made a move,” Agnew said. “I think both teams really settled in. You could see their confidence grow with every race. The challenge is by the end of that second day, a lot of these guys have raced four to six times with all-out maximum efforts, and, emotionally, you could see it wearing on them. You could tell they were a little bit drained. But then, you see the results, and you kind of feed off them.”
Ribeiro earned her second win of the weekend in the Women’s 1650 Freestyle Nov. 20 with a time of 16:46.89. Bader placed first in the Women’s 200 Breaststroke with a time of 2:15.35, third best in program history. Jones, Sakbun, freshman Gracey Payne and senior Alex McDonald set a school record in the 400 freestyle with a time of 3:23.46.
"We came out swinging [our third day],” Agnew said. “It was, by far, our best. The final session was phenomenal. [The women’s winner] came down to that last relay, we still had a chance. So, to see those guys battle down to the wire was really cool. We set a school record, so it’s not like we didn’t do everything we possibly could. The men made huge strides that last day, you could see them climbing through the rankings race after race. I think everybody’s walking out of this as fired up as you could be.”
Ball State men’s and women’s diving return to action Jan. 7 at Youngstown State. Ball State women’s swimming returns to the pool Jan. 22 against Eastern Michigan, while Ball State men’s swimming faces Bellarmine Jan 28.