Ball State men’s and women’s swim and dive are set to go on their 2023-24 seasons after showing potential last season of what we could have in store this year with a lot of premium talent coming back from last season in preparations to go for the ultimate prize of a MAC Championship.
The men’s team is looking to build on last year’s success as they finished fourth overall at the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Championships with a team score of 457 points. The Cardinals also set a handful of program records at the tournament.
The Cardinals roster has four fifth-year swimmers on the team Owen Cheye, Bryce Handshoe, Noah Berryman and Wyatt Blake due to the COVID-19 Pandemic giving athletes an extra year of eligibility, and all of them are looking for a big step for their final season in a Cardinals swim cap this season.
“[We] are just excited for them,” head coach J. Agnew said. “They have been in the grind for four years and for them to stand up and say ‘Coach I am not done yet,’ it just attributes to the passion they have for the sport. Four years of hard work and they are ready for one more.”
Senior Joey Garberick leads the charge for the Cardinals this year as the three-time MAC 100-meter breaststroke champion and also set a program record in that category with his time at the MAC Championships last year (52.17). Gaberick also was a part of two program record relay teams, the 200 medley relay, and the 400 medley relay, marking 20 program records throughout his career in the red and white.
“It’s the same pressure that has always been there,” Garberick said. “There is an expectation for me to win, but there’s a lot of stuff that’s happening this season outside of that. Big stuff for the team and big stuff for championship meets.”
In addition, Garberick accepted an invite to to Phillips 66 National Championships in Bloomington, Ind. where he participated in the 50 and 100-meter breaststroke events.
“I’ve been to a couple of national meets, but this one ended up being in Indy, at the Natatorium, which is a pool that I have been swimming at since I was swimming at since I was probably 13 or 14, so getting to go back there and see it all was really a cool experience, getting to see a lot of my friends there that I haven’t gotten to see in awhile and competing was a lot of fun this summer.”
Ohio native Owen Cheye had a lot of success in the MAC Championships last season as he took part in three record-breaking relay teams, the 200 medley relay, the 400 medley relay, and the 800 freestyle relay. He was able to get on the podium in two events, the 50 freestyle, placing third with a time of 19.89, and second in the 100 freestyle with a program record time of 43.58. These two accomplishments at the championships made it 19 total program records under Cheye’s name.
Fifth-year swimmer Noah Berryman on the other hand, did not have the same amount of success, as he did not finish on the podium in any event at the MAC Championships, but did come away with the MAC Medal of Excellence award and is looking to make his name known for this upcoming season.
“I hope to swim a lot faster than I did the past year. Everything feels a lot better, and looks a lot better.” Berryman said. “This team is amazing, what we have built here over the last couple of years is just incredible and I really want to see it through.”
Coming off the diving board for the men’s team, sophomore Porter Brovont is coming off a very impressive freshman season, placing second on both the one-meter dive with a score of 285.55 and the three-meter dive with a score of 298.00 at the MAC Championships last season. His performance followed with him earning the 2022-23 MAC Freshman Diver of the Year award as well as being named Second Team All-MAC. Fifth-year swimmer Wyatt Blake also contributed to the diving efforts finishing ninth on the one-meter dive with a score of 253.15
“They keep each other accountable day in and day out,” diving coach Brendon Stevens said. “They push each other in their new dives all the time. It is really good having the leadership of Wyatt with Porter, with last year Wyatt being a senior and I think Porter has learned a lot from Wyatt coming into the collegiate atmosphere.”
In the offseason, both Blake and Brovont were invited to participate in the NCAA Diving Championships last March. In the three-meter dive, Blake finished 23rd with a score of 257.50, and Brovont finished close behind him at 26th with a score of 246.00.
For the women’s team, the Cardinals are coming off of a season of success despite finishing fifth at the MAC Championships last season. The Cardinals this year are continuing to blend their talent all over the roster has every class has something special to offer Ball State this year.
“This is one of the more complete women’s teams we have had,” Agnew said. “Across the board with every event, we feel like we have somebody competitive and strong.”
Rounding off the talent blend of this year’s women's team starts with Brazil native Marcella Ribeiro who is looking to come into this season strong as she enters her senior season with expectations of being a leader on the roster Last year at the MAC Championships, Ribeiro was apart of the program record-breaking 800 freestyle relay in which would be followed by her earning All-MAC Second honors.
Also a part of that record-breaking relay was junior Hannah Jones. Jones is looking to the next step up as an upperclassman this year.
“I view it as the standard,” Jones said. “I think that especially with the incoming freshman, it will be a lot easier to push forward with those records and set a new standard for us to accomplish bigger and greater things. Every year we are getting better… Especially with the incoming freshman, I have already seen a lot of talent in practices and I am excited to see what they can do.”
On the diving board for the women’s team, junior Ashleigh Provan is looking to build on a successful season and claim the top of the podium in the MAC. Provan finished 14th overall at the MAC Championships in the one-meter dive with a score of 236.82, while finishing eighth overall in the three-meter dive with a score of 253.80. Following the performance, she joined Brovont and Blake at the NCAA diving championships where she would finish 28th on the one-meter dive with a score of 234.40.
“Last year was a big step up for this team,” Agnew said. “I think just now they have this awareness that they are here to compete. Everybody is trying to figure out how high we can climb but I hate to be cliche but we only control ourselves, so every day we do what we can in the pool.”