Bears Fall to No. 12/20 Penn State, No. 25 Arkansas in Fayetteville
Four MSU men collect victories on Saturday including Isaac Springer, Paul Le and two by diver Garrett Nevels
Jan. 12, 2013
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Despite being swept by ranked squads from Arkansas and Penn State, the Missouri State swimming & diving team held its own against some of the top programs in the country. For the women, No. 12 Penn State defeated the Bears 235-59 and No. 25 Arkansas won by a score of 250-50. In a closer team race, the 20th-ranked Nittany Lion men defeated Missouri State 171-124.
Missouri State jumped out to a nice start in the men's 200 medley relay. While 20th-ranked Penn State claimed the victory (1:29.48), the Bears locked up second and third place with times of 1:32.69 and 1:33.76.
For the first time this season, freshman Uvis Kalnins edged defending MAC champion Vitalii Baryshok in the 200 free. The duo combined for another 2-3 finish for the MSU men.
In the 100 back, junior Anna Ahlin registered the seventh-fastest time in the event (58.29), but was part of a crowded field. Only .68 seconds separated third through eighth place. In the men's 100 back, sophomore Paul Le put together a strong finish with the second-fastest back half of the race. His 49.06 was good for third place overall and was just .31 seconds off his season best set at the Purdue Invitational in November.
The men's 100 breaststroke proved to be a strong event for the Bears as freshman Isaac Springer picked up the first victory of the meet. In fourth after the first 50 yards, Springer picked up the pace and sprinted to the finish with a second 50 split of 29.68. Not far behind was sophomore Chris Carpenter, who was four hundredths shy of registering a 1-2 finish for the Bears.
Making an immediate impact on the team, January enrollee Dora Kiss from Budapest, Hungary, recorded the MSU women's highest finish of the day with fifth place overall. Kiss' time of 2:03.50 gives her the second fastest time in the Valley and vaulted her to first on the Bears' top times list for this season.
Reigning MAC Swimmer of the Week Matthew Wilson and Penn State's Matt Salig went head-to-head in the 200 fly, beating the rest of the field by nearly three seconds. Despite a faster second 100 yards than Salig, Wilson finished second overall with a time of 1:50.80. Later on, Wilson had another stellar performance in the 100 fly. The sophomore placed second in the 100 (50.80) and had the fastest 50 split on the back end of the sprint event.
In event 15, both MSU divers achieved season bests on the 1-meter board. Junior Lindsey Conway finished sixth with 228.20 points and freshman Darya Wodetzki was seventh with 154.15 points.
Sophomore Garrett Nevels had one of the best performances of his career with a victory in the 1-meter diving competition. Defeating Penn State's Lucas Kachurick by nearly 100 points, Nevels set a new school record, totaling 357.60 points. His score surpasses previous record-holder Eric Ducourneau, who set the record in 2009 with a score of 352.65.
"Garrett [Nevels] stepped up and performed really well," head diving coach Jim Huelskamp noted. "It is a nice time to launch him into the next couple of meets that we have coming up. It will definitely put us into a good position for the conference championships."
In the 3-meter diving competition, Nevels, Conway and sophomore Elijah Swaim recorded season bests. In addition, Nevels followed his record-breaking performance with his second NCAA Zones qualifying cut.
Baryshok was in contention for another Bears' victory in the 100 free, but came up a bit short against Nittany Lion freestyler John Hauser (45.94). Baryshok touched the wall second with a mark of 46.43.
The men's 200 backstroke came down to the wire with Penn State's Nate Savoy and Paul Le vying for top honors as the two swimmers dominated the field by more than four seconds. The difference in the nail-biter was just .12 seconds in which Savoy edged Le. However, the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier would have his way in his third individual event of the day (200 IM) as he grabbed first by more than two seconds.
Next was the 200 breast where Springer and junior Colin Hill recorded another 2-3 finish for the Bears.
Another freshman making her first appearance as a Bear was Juliana Kagami, who registered the Bears' fastest time in the 100 fly (1:00.21), good for ninth place overall.
In the final individual event for the women, freshman Dora Kiss showed more promise as she clocked in at 4:30.12, which again took over the Bears' top time for the season. In addition, it moves her to No. 2 overall in the MVC.
Both 400 free relays capped off the meet with successful swims. In the women's event, the Missouri State A-Relay (Ahlin, Uzcategui, Engelbrecht, Gately) raced to a sixth-place finish, while the men's team of Snow, McKnight, Schuermann and Sims recorded the second-fastest team.
Next up for the Bears is its home finale and Senior Day on Saturday (Jan. 19) against Truman State University. The meet is set to start at 1 p.m.