Ball State men’s swim and dive arrived in Oxford, Ohio to take on the RedHawks for their first duel of the 2024 calendar year. Win, and stay undefeated on the season. However, the reigning Mid-American Conference (MAC) champions had other plans.
In a battle of the birds, Ball State’s dreams of a perfect season in duels went up in smoke as the RedHawks took the meet in their men’s team’s first conference duel win of the season (190.00-110.00). The loss keeps the men’s team winless against Miami in duels in over two decades with their last win against the RedHawks being in 2002.
“We wanted to win,” head coach J. Agnew said. “We came here to win and we came up short and we know that. We swam pretty well, compared to where we were last year at this season and we are well ahead of where we were a year ago. Now it is about getting ready for MAC Championships, and we get to see them again.”
Despite the loss, the Cardinals entered the meet with freshman Malcolm Slater being out for the meet with a knee injury, however as Slater cheered on his teammates from the pool deck, many young swimmers stepped up.
“This team is just fun,” Agnew said. “We have so many versatile athletes that are competing at a high level like Malcolm Slater was out today with a knee injury, and we don’t miss a beat. We have guys who can step up, take a spot, move forward, I mean Ethan Pfiefer was sick and we had to pull him halfway through the meet, we had the next guy up, and that mentality was just like they were ready.”
Despite performing with a sickness, freshman Ethan Pfifer did the best with what he was being asked to do. He finished fourth in a close race for second place in the 100 backstroke.
Ball State managed to scrap and claw out five event wins with the first being in the 1,000-yard freestyle when freshman Tommy Brunner took first place for Ball State and stamped his time in the record books as the fourth-best time in program history (9:37.64). Brunner also took second in the other long-distance race in the 500-yard freestyle, where he currently holds the third-best time in program history (4:32.09).
Fifth-year seniors Joey Garberick and Owen Chaye both added victories for the Cardinals, with Garberick winning both the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke and Cheye winning the 50-yard freestyle. Both would be a part of the final win for Ball State in the last event of the day in the 200-yard freestyle Relay.
Ball State swim and dive will be back in action as the women’s team goes to Athens, Ohio to take on Ohio University on Saturday (Jan. 27), while the men’s team travels to Fishers, Ind. to partake in the Butler Invite on Sunday (Jan. 28).
Contact Dane Massey with comments at email@example.com or on Twitter @danemassey22.