MSU Swimmers Will Compete at NCAA Nationals
March 12, 2014
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Junior Paul Le and sophomore Uvis Kalnins have been selected to represent Missouri State at the 2014 NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships, USA Swimming announced Wednesday (March 12).
The selections mark the first time in program history that multiple Bears will swim in the NCAA Division I meet.
Le earned his second consecutive berth in the championships with a 200-yard backstroke mark of 1:41.95 in the MAC championship prelims last Saturday in Buffalo, N.Y. Kalnins, who will make his first trip to the NCAA meet, posted a school-record 1:44.69 200-yard individual medley time, also achieved at MAC championships last Thursday.
“I am very proud of both Paul and Uvis for being selected into the NCAA Championships this year,” Missouri State coach Dave Collins said. “Credit also needs to go to all of their teammates for pushing them and creating a very challenging training environment in which NCAA qualification is no longer a dream but a reality for our athletes. Paul will be able to build on his experience at last year’s meet, where he became the programs first All-American. Uvis can hopefully draw from his big-meet experience at the 2012 Olympics and 2013 World Championships to react well in this environment.”
By qualifying in the 200 back and 200 IM, respectively, Le and Kalnins are also eligible to compete in events in which they earned NCAA consideration times. Le posted NCAA ‘B’ cuts in the 100 backstroke (46.73) and 200 IM (1:45.41) both at MAC championships.
“I am very happy and blessed that I qualified this year,” Le, a Moore, Okla., native, said. “Swimming gets faster and faster each year and I am fortunate to have this opportunity. It’s also an awesome feeling knowing that another teammate of mine, Uvis, made it, too.”
Kalnins will also swim the 100-yard freestyle and 400-yard IM at the NCAA meet, events for which he now holds MSU records – 43.61 and 3:47.38, respectively.
“I’m very happy that I made it to the meet,” Kalnins, of Valmiera, Latvia, said. “Glad that all the early-morning swim and sweat left in the weight room paid off. I’m lucky to have a big group of people pushing me everyday and always being supportive. Without them, I would not be where I am now.”
With the two selections, run Missouri State’s total to eight NCAA qualifiers in history, including Don Fearon (1988), Mike Ablard (1985), Eric Christiansen (1990), Josh Wegrzyn (2002), Matt Beasley (2005) and Le (2013).
The 2014 NCAA Division I Men's Swimming & Diving Championships will be held March 27-29 at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center in Austin, Texas. Single-session tickets for the men's meet may be purchased at NCAA.com/tickets.