Swimming Bears Split at Shamrock Invitational; Defeat No. 25 Iowa
Feb. 1, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Missouri State men's swimming & diving team used three individual event victories from junior Paul Le to earn a split in the Shamrock Invitational Saturday.
The Bears took down No. 25 Iowa, 213-157, and fell to Notre Dame, 223-147 at the Rolfs Aquatic Center. The host Irish were receiving votes in this week's College Swimming Coaches of America top 25 poll.
On the heels of three event victories on the opening day of the meet, Missouri State got outright wins from Le in the 100 backstroke and 100 butterfly in the first of two sessions on Saturday. He followed his morning performance up with a win in the 200 back in the final session.
Le won the 100 backstroke in an NCAA consideration time of 48.29 and the 100 butterfly in 49.14, before claiming the 200 back in 1:46.60.
The Bears sit at 9-3 on the season after the split. The victory over Iowa marked the first over a ranked team in the three-year tenure of head coach Dave Collins. "I am very proud of how our team responded this weekend against two very good teams," Collins said. "To beat the No. 25-ranked team in the country on the road is a major step for our program."
The Bears opened the final session with a 1-2-5 finish against Iowa and went 1-2 versus Notre Dame. Freshman Brandon Weissman (149.07) and Senior Yuri Garanito (1:50.97) were MSU's second and third finishers in the event.
Junior Matthew Wilson, freshman Preston Selby and senior Michal Bulak chipped in with fourth- and fifth-place and 11th-place times overall in the 200 butterfly to lead the Bears to a 1-2-5 finish against Iowa in 1:51.49, 1:52.13 and 1:54.52, respectively.
Le, Kalnins, Caleb Schuermann and Baryshok then took the 400 free relay to close the meet in 3:00.81.
"The condensed NCAA format was a much-needed challenge for our athletes to get up and perform at a high level and fight off fatigue," Collins said. "I feel this will give us some added confidence as we prepare for championships."
The 200-medley relay team of Le, Isaac Springer, Baryshok and Kalnins posted a third-place overall finish in 1:30.43 in the morning session.
Selby came up big in the 100 fly, touching third in 49.57 and Wilson followed in fourth in 49.59. Selby's time vaulted him to third on the team in the event this season.
Junior Max Pratt swam a career-best 1:40.45 200-yard freestyle to finish third. The time is also third on the team this year. Baryshok (1:41.29) was fifth and Schuermann (1:41.66) seventh.
Selby continued his solid effort Saturday with a third-place time in the 100 back. He clocked a 49.92 for the No. 4 time in the event for the Bears in 2012-13. Garanito (50.62) was seventh, rounding out MSU's three scorers in the race.
The Bears closed the morning session with a second-place time in the 800-free relay. Kalnins, Schuermann, Pratt and Baryshok turned in a 6:41.47, the second-best mark on the squad to date.
"Competing against a nationally ranked team in Iowa and Notre Dame [as well] was rare for us, so we wanted to maximize the opportunity," said co-captain Bulak. "It was a great team effort, led by a few guys going their best times."
Garanito - the team's other co-captain - agreed.
"Having a great meet against big teams and also a victory over a ranked team is what this program is about," he said. "We've been working hand and lifting the program to a whole new level, and this weekend was another big step towards our main goal, the championship."
The Bears begin the quest for a title at the MAC Championships on March 6 in Buffalo, N.Y.