Bears Post Strong Performances on Final Day of UIW Christmas Invitational
Jared Roberts became the second MSU swimmer to record an NCAA "B" cut this season.
Jared Roberts became the second MSU swimmer to record an NCAA "B" cut this season.

Dec. 19, 2011

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SAN ANTONIO - Before heading home for the holidays, the Missouri State swimming & diving team strung together another impressive weekend of performances at the UIW Christmas Invitational in San Antonio. The Bears wrapped up their fall slate at the Palo Alto College natatorium, where the men finished second behind TCU and the MSU women placed third out of six teams.

"The effort that our swimmers and divers have put in the entire semester really came out this weekend," associate head coach Dave Collins mentioned. "If we were talking in August about these times that we've achieved, we would be extremely happy with the results."

One of the most exciting moments of Monday came in the 1650 free where the race came down to the wire between TCU's Michael Franz and MSU's Jared Roberts. Although the sophomore freestyler from Wichita, Kan. was edged by Franz, he still came away with a lifetime best and became the second MSU individual to record a NCAA "B" cut (15:30.23).

Sophomore Anna Ahlin got the final day of competition off on the right foot with a victory in the 200 back (2:00.45). She dominated the field, defeating second-place finisher Danielle Caldwell of Utah by more than two seconds. Senior Brianna Willoughby joined Ahlin in the top-five with fourth place.

In the men's 200 back, the duo of Paul Le and Yuri Garanito finished third and fourth, along with Aaron Henry, who finished eighth in the A-Final.

Freshman standout Vitalii Baryshok continued his winning ways as he recorded a win in the 100 free (44.39). The Lugansk, Ukraine native narrowly missed getting his second NCAA "B" cut by .02 seconds and inching his way closer to the MSU varsity record held by Raichin Antonov (44.08).

Moments after Baryshok's win in the 100 free, sophomore Renata Sander notched her second victory of the meet with a first-place finish in the 200 breast (2:16.73). Sander dropped over four seconds from her prelims time and registered a season-best in the event.

Another MSU varsity record was broken this weekend as Roni Balzam placed third overall (2:03.12) and bettered volunteer assistant Chelsea Dirks-Ham's 200 butterfly mark (2:03.76). Marta Nogueroles went a season best in the event and finished sixth.

In the final individual event of the day, Missouri State's Michal Bulak (2nd), Matthew Wilson (3rd) and Amir Arbel (5th) took home three of the top-five positions in the 200 fly.

The Bears concluded the meet with strong swims in the 400 free relays. The women bettered their top time for the season by more than two seconds, while the men captured second place behind the Utah Utes.

"Everyone had a blast in San Antonio," Collins said. "But, we look forward to getting everybody home with their families and then getting them back on campus to train extremely hard after the Christmas break."

Missouri State will return to action on Jan. 14 in dual meet on the road at Truman State in Kirksville, Mo.

Women's Final Team Standings
1. TCU - 1,788
2. Rice - 1,500
3. Missouri State - 1,377
4. Utah - 928.5
5. Incarnate Word - 693.5
6. North Texas - 184

Men's Final Team Standings
1. TCU - 2,006.5
2. Missouri State - 1,856
3. Incarnate Word - 1,181.5
4. Utah - 1,123



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