Le, Kalnins Lower School Records for Bears on Final Day of NCAA Swimming Championships
March 29, 2014
AUSTIN, Texas - Missouri State junior Paul Le swam a lifetime best in the prelims of the 200-yard backstroke on the final day of the 2014 NCAA Division I Swimming & Diving Championships at Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center on Saturday.
Le turned in a time of 1:41.62 to post a 20th-place finish in the event and topped his own Missouri State school record of 1:41.69 from the 2013 NCAA championships on March 31. Le entered the event seeded 24th with a time of 1:41.95.
Sophomore Uvis Kalnins finished second in his heat of the 100-yard freestyle with in a school-record 43.47, lowering his school-best and NCAA-qualifying time of 43.61 from the MAC championships on March 8. Kalnins, who came into the race ranked 47th in the field, rose 18 spots in the prelims to place 29th overall.
"I am very proud of both Uvis and Paul for their performance this week," Missouri State head coach Dave Collins said. "They have represented our team and our school at a high level on the national scene. This is one of the best, if not the best, swimming atmospheres they will experience. The memories that they have created will be something they will never forget."
"Overall, I'm happy with my race," said Le. "I wish I could have swum a little faster, but there's things you can't really change."
In all, Le set school records in four individual events on the season in the 50 free, 100 back, 200 back and 200 IM, while being part of relay records in the 200- and 400-medley relays. The Moore, Okla., native was named an All-MAC first team selection for the third consecutive year and picked up the league's swimmer of the week honor three times.
"It was very awesome watching amazing races being swum," said Le of the NCAA championships, as his season came to a close. "I'm just holding my head up. Not the meet I wanted to have, but I'm very blessed to just even qualify for this meet."
Kalnins was part of four school records this season, as well, including the 100 free and 400 IM. He also swam the anchor leg in both record-breaking medley relays. The Valmiera, Lativa, product was also named the 2014 MAC Swimmer of the Year at the conference championships.
"The meet went well," said Kalnins of his NCAA championships experience, "of course, I wanted to improve more than I did, but it's hard to drop time after posting the best times at the MAC conference meet. And I posted two of my best times this weekend, thus I'm happy."
"I know they are motivated to get back to training and encourage some of their teammates to put in the necessary work to increase our number of athletes [at NCAA championships] next year," Collins said.