MSU record holder (100 back, 200 back and 200 IM) becomes first Bear since 2005 to qualify for NCAAs
March 13, 2013
NCAA DI Men's Swimming & Diving Championships - Psych Sheet
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Missouri State's Paul Le officially punched his ticket to the 2013 NCAA Division I Men's Swimming & Diving Championships Wednesday afternoon (March 13), becoming the sixth Bear in school history to reach the pinnacle of collegiate swimming & diving. The last Missouri State student-athlete to make the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships was Matt Beasley in 2005.
The sophomore, hailing from Moore, Okla., qualified for NCAAs with a remarkable 200 backstroke time (1:42.44) achieved in prelims at the 2013 MAC Championships on Saturday. With one of the final conference meets in the country, the trip to Indianapolis was inevitable for Le as he registered the nation's 18th-fastest time this year. Twenty-nine was the magic number for qualifiers in the 200 backstroke.
By qualifying for the 200 back, Le is also eligible to swim events in which he recorded an NCAA consideration time. In Carbondale, Ill. the sophomore sensation also posted NCAA `B' cuts in the 200 IM (1:45.76) and 100 back (47.07), both runner-up finishes behind MAC Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet Jacob Hanson of Eastern Michigan. Le will be seeded 31st in the 100 back and 43rd in the 200 IM.
"Paul qualifying for the NCAA Championships is a big step for our program," Missouri State head coach Dave Collins said. "At the beginning of the season, we set team goals, one of which was to qualify swimmers for the NCAA Championships. Although he is our only representative this year, our entire team knows it can be done. With a young and motivated team, we will use this opportunity to build a future of success at the national level."
This isn't Le's first time on a big stage. Last June, the two-time All-MAC first team selection participated at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, Neb. Le swam a lifetime best in the 100-meter backstroke (56.59) and moved all the way up to 38th overall after a No. 93 seeding. He closed out his Olympic Trials debut with the 200-meter backstroke, finishing 58th out of 107 participants.
"It's really exciting," said Le after receiving the official announcement. "I think it speaks volumes for where our program is headed and will boost the confidence of the team. The team deserves this one and I know we will have multiple qualifiers next year. One step at a time."
The 2013 NCAA Division I Men's Swimming & Diving Championships will be held March 28-30 at the IU Natatorium and IUPUI Sports Complex in Indianapolis. Single-session tickets for the men's meet may be purchased at NCAA.com/tickets.
For more information about the 2013 NCAA Division I Men's Swimming & Diving Championships, visit NCAA.com.
Missouri State's NCAA Swimming & Diving Qualifiers
1988: Don Fearon (1-meter diving, 3-meter diving)
1985: Mike Ablard (100 breaststroke)
1990: Eric Christiansen (3-meter diving)
2002: Josh Wegrzyn (100 backstroke, 100 freestyle)
2005: Matt Beasley (200 freestyle, 200 IM)
2013: Paul Le (200 IM, 100 backstroke, 200 backstroke)