Missouri State Ready for Run at First-Ever MAC Swimming & Diving Title
Junior Caleb Schuermann
Junior Caleb Schuermann

March 5, 2014

Missouri State Bears at 2014 Mid-American Conference Championships
Thursday-Saturday, March 6-8, 2014
Start Time: Thursday: 11 a.m./7 p.m. • Friday: 11 a.m./7 p.m. • Saturday: 10 a.m./7 p.m. ET
Location: Buffalo, N.Y.
Site: Alumni Arena Natatorium
Meet Notes:
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Missouri State men’s swimming & diving team opens the 2014 MAC Men’s Swimming & Diving Championship Thursday at the University at Buffalo’s Alumni Arena Natatorium shooting for its 19th conference title in program history and first since joining the MAC in the 2009-10 season.

♦ The Bears are also looking to sweep men’s and women’s conference titles for the first time since the women claimed the Missouri Valley Conference title and the men won the Sun Belt Conference championship in 2008. The women’s team won its 11th overall and seventh consecutive MVC crown on Feb. 15 in Carbondale, Ill.

♦ Eastern Michigan overcame a 29-point Missouri State lead on the final day of  last year’s MAC championship to win its second straight conference title and 31st in 36 years, as the Bears fell by just six points. All-MAC First Team honors  went to  MSU’s Miguel Davila, Paul Le, Uvis Kalnins and Caleb Schuermann. Jack Snow, Matthew Wilson, Vitalii Baryshok, Chris Carpenter and Isaac Springer earned second-team honors for the Bears. In his first full season as head coach, Dave Collins was a unanimous choice as MAC Coach of the Year.

♦ Missouri State comes into action with 34 times in the top five in MAC individual events from 14 different swimmers. Five Bears boast the best time in individual events, including Paul Le (50 free, 100 back, 200 back, 100 butterfly and 200 IM), Isaac Springer (100 breast and 200 breast), Vitalii Baryshok (100 free), Miguel Davila (500 free) and Uvis Kalnins (400 IM).

Head Coach Dave Collins
    Dave Collins, a former Missouri State assistant, is in his second year as head coach of the Bears’ swimming & diving program in 2013-14.
    In his first full season at the helm, Collins swept Coach of the Year honors, voted on by Missouri Valley Conference and Mid-American Conference head coaches. The Bears won an unprecedented sixth straight title at the 2013 MVC Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships in Carbondale, Ill. Altogether, Missouri State won 11 events and picked up five NCAA provisional times, while junior Renata Sander and freshman Dora Kiss shared co-MVC Swimmer of the Year accolades.
    Meanwhile, the Missouri State men experienced a successful run during the 2012-13 campaign, capped off by the Bears’ first NCAA Championship appearance since 2005. Sophomore qualifier Paul Le became the first swimmer in school history to score points at NCAAs with a top-16 finish in the 200-yard backstroke, earning him Division I All-American honorable mention recognition. As a team, Missouri State recorded its highest finish (second) at a MAC Championship event, just six points away from unseating Eastern Michigan for the title. The men notched 12 NCAA ‘B’ cuts throughout the season and after a 23-year hiatus from the NCAA Division I Top 25, the Bears debuted at No. 23 in the season’s first poll.
    Under Collins’ direction as interim head coach during the 2012 spring semester, the women won their fifth consecutive MVC championship and recorded the second-largest margin of victory in MSU history.
    As head coach, Collins and his staff have produced 23 All-MVC first team selections and seven All-MAC first teamers. Academically, with team GPAs of 3.0 or higher, both Bear squads have annually earned CSCAA Scholar All-America team honors.
    Collins was named the fifth head coach at Missouri State on April 16, 2012, joining the likes of Jack Steck (1983-2011), Kent Kirchner (1982-83), Barry Hartwyk (1979-82) and Dale Williams (1965-79) after a four-years stint as am assistant under Steck.

Bears Topple No. 25 Iowa; Earn Shamrock Invitational Split
    Missouri State closed the regular season on a high note, going toe to toe with No. 25 Iowa and Notre Dame at the Shamrock Invitational Jan. 31-Feb.1, defeating the Hawkeyes, 213-157. The Bears received three event wins on the opening day of the meet and three more on the second day to finish strong.
    Juniors Paul Le and Caleb Schuermann and sophomores Uvis Kalnins and Jack Snow began the meet winning the 200-free relay in 1:22.01. Le followed that with a win in the 200 IM in 1:48.16 before he, sophomore Isaac Springer, junior Vitalii Baryshok and Kalnins took the 400-medley relay in 3:15.68 to close the first day.
    Le then won the 100 back (48.29), 100 butterfly (49.14) and 200 back (1:46.60), respectively, on the final day for the Bears. The team of Le, Kalnins, Schuermann and Baryshok won the 400-free relay in 3:00.81, the last event of the meet.

MSU Cracks CollegeSwimming.com Top 25 Nov. 26, Feb. 5
    The Missouri State men’s swimming & diving team entered the CollegeSwimming.com Endless Pools Top 25 poll at No. 25 following its third-place team finish at the TYR Invitational at Northwestern’s Norris Aquatics Center. The Bears rose some 26 spots in the poll from the previous week. MSU reentered the poll at No. 24 after splitting with Iowa and Notre Dame at the Shamrock Invitational Jan. 31-Feb. 1. Iowa, who the Bears defeated, 213-157, was ranked 25th in the College Swimming Coaches Association of America poll coming into the meet.
Bears, TCU Try Something New
    Missouri State and TCU hosted the Oklahoma Splash Bash in Jenks, Okla., Dec. 14-15. The event featured a unique twist on a typical dual-meet format as the teams held a combined workout session prior to the start of competition both days. It gave both squads a chance to train against top student-athletes while receiving coaching from each of the staffs.
    The Bears and Horned Frogs also held a free swim clinic for students in third to eighth grades immediately following the completion of the first day of competition.

Bears Receive National Media Attention 
    Head coach Dave Collins and men’s junior backstroker Paul Le have been guests on the Swimming World “Morning Swim Show” video podcast, hosted by Jeff Commings. Le appeared on the show following his performance at the TYR Invitational to discuss his season and career at Missouri State. Collins was part of the show highlighting the activities surrounding the Oklahoma Splash Bash.

Rocky Mountain High
    Missouri State spent the semester break in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, training at altitude in preparation for their championship season. The Bears were in the Centennial State for 10 days and used the facilities at Division II Colorado Mesa. MSU and the Mavericks swam each other in a dual meet on Jan. 7 with the Bears prevailing, 133-85 and 147-68, against the CMU men and women, respectively.
    MSU also spent time at former Sun Belt Conference foe Denver for a grueling long-course training session before returning to Springfield on Jan. 10.

They’re Smart, Too
    The Missouri State swimming & diving team posted men’s and women’s grade-point averages of 3.35 and 3.4, respectively, through the fall semester. Overall, 27 of 58 student-athletes earned Dean’s List marks, including 17 of 35 on the women’s team. The Dean’s List distinction is given to those who have attained a GPA of 3.5 or better and have taken at least 12 credits during the semester. Ten Bears boasted perfect 4.0s with six of those coming from the women.

Kalnins Represents Latvia in 2013 FINA World Championships
    A year after swimming for Latvia in the Summer Olympics in London, sophomore Uvis Kalnins added another high-profile international meet to his resume. In June, Kalnins competed in the 2013 FINA World Championships in Barcelona. Kalnins, a native of Valmiera, Latvia, swam the 100- and 200-meter freestyle events. He finished 37th overall in the 100 free in 50.51 and 44th in the 200 in 1:51.91.



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