Nov. 18, 2011
EVANSTON, Ill. - After one day of action at the TYR Invitational, the Missouri State swimming and diving team has proven that it's capable of competing at an extremely high level in the middle of November. Both genders produced season- and lifetime-best performances on Friday at Northwestern University's Norris Aquatic Center.
The Missouri State men's team is in the driver's seat after day one with 304 points. Northwestern and Cleveland State round out the top-three with 261 and 225 points, respectively. On the women's side, the Bears finished the day with 130 points and were sixth out of eight teams. MSU sits just three points behind Nebraska heading into Saturday's events.
"There were a lot of great swims today and we are very pleased with the depth that we're showing," said associate head coach Dave Collins after the first day of competition. "Any time you can achieve lifetime-bests during November, you are at a perfect starting point for where you want to be in February and March at the conference championships."
Freshman diver Garrett Nevels stepped up big time for the men kicking off the meet with a second-place finish in the 1-meter diving competition (6 dives). Nevels tallied 297.05 points, narrowly missing the zone qualifying standard by less than three points.
Three Bears (Dennis, Carpenter, Hill) occupied the top-six finishers of the 50 breaststroke to put Missouri State within 19 points of first-place Northwestern.
The MSU men's team made its move stacking the 500 free as seven swimmers placed in the scoring heats. Matthew Wilson dropped three seconds from prelims and won the consolation final, while Jared Roberts (3rd), Aaron Henry (4th), Caleb Schuermann (5th) and Amir Arbel (8th) combined for 56 points in the championship final heat. Showcasing its depth in the 500 free, Missouri State leapfrogged Cleveland State and Northwestern to take a 16-point advantage.
The men extended their lead to 64 points after the 200 IM as Paul Le (4th), Daan Jansen (5th) and Chris Carpenter (6th) swept the top three spots among collegiate swimmers.
Reigning Mid-American Conference Swimmer of the Week, Vitalii Baryshok, placed second in the 50 free (20.42). Cleveland State's Berry Thompson out-touched the freshman by .01 seconds to claim the victory.
Wrapping up the first day of action, the 400 medley relay quartet of Le, Carpenter, Bulak and Baryshok, captured second place with an impressive mark of 3:20.15.
"The goal is to continue putting up lifetime-best swims," Collins said. "We are going to have to respond during the morning session tomorrow and step up to the challenge again."
Like the men, the MSU women rattled off best times early and often. Sophomore Renata Sander began the evening with a third-place finish in the 50 breaststroke. Several Bears recorded best times in the 500 free including Suzanne Van Rensburg, Hannah Molden, Katie Lindeman, Laura Peterson and Brittany Winter.
In the 200 IM, Missouri State managed to put two swimmers in the championship final heat as Melissa Oishi and Brianna Willoughby placed fifth and eighth, respectively.
Saving one of the best performances for last, the Bears' 400 medley relay team of Ahlin, Sander, Balzam and Stauffer, dropped three seconds off its season-best to finish fourth ahead of Big 10 Conference schools, Illinois and Nebraska.
The second day of swimming and diving action at the TYR Invitational will resume on Saturday at 9 a.m. CT.