For the second time this season, Missouri State’s swimming and diving teams were swept by cross-town rival Drury University. In the first matchup, the men’s meet was decided by seven points. Tonight, the women’s meet was lost by three points.
The meet started poorly for the Bears with the first six events going to the Panthers. In the seventh event, the women’s 50-yard freestyle, sophomore Amber Green reversed the momentum by winning the race at 23.26. Green also won the 100-yard freestyle at 50.41.
Though Drury was winning most of the events, MSU stayed close throughout the meet. Green’s two wins were the only swimming victories for the Bears in the first 16 events.
In the 17th event, the Bears stepped up to the challenge, with both the men and women winning first and second in the 100-yard backstroke. For the women, senior captain Chelsea Dirks-Ham won with a time of 57.97 and freshman Anna Ahlin finished in second at 59.21. For the men, last season’s MSU Swimmer of the Year, junior Nick Carter, won one of the closest races of the night with his time of 52.00. Freshman Yuri Garanito was a very close second at 52.15. In the men’s race, the difference between first and fourth place was .3 seconds.
One thing that MSU did dominate was the diving events. Senior Eric Ducourneau won both the one-meter (283.95) and three-meter (309.15) boards for the men. For the women, the freshman trio of Kelsey Burgin, Paige Koebbe, and Lindsey Conway finished 1-2-3, respectively on both boards. The trio’s performance alone gave the Bears a 30-point swing over the Panthers.
The men’s meet turned into a rout, with the only wins for the Bears coming in the diving events and the 100-yard backstroke. Drury won by a score of 146-97.
For the women, the meet was extremely close. Going into the final event, the Bears held a meager 112-110 lead. This close margin meant that whoever won the final event, the 200-yard freestyle relay, won the meet. Sprint freestyle is a strong point for both teams and the packed crowd at Breech Pool was ready for a great race. Heading into the final turn, both the Bears and Panthers touched the far wall simultaneously. Down the final stretch Drury’s Kelsey Ward and MSU’s Anna Ahlin were stroke for stroke. The two seemed to touch the wall at the same time. The crowd fell silent as all eyes turned to the official scoreboard for the times. They arrived with Drury posting a time of 1:36.88 and MSU at 1:36.95. The women lost the event by a mere .07 seconds. The final team score came up to 121-118.
This meet was televised and Bear fans interested in watching one of the closest finishes in MSU history should turn into Mediacom 22 at 8:00 p.m. on Jan. 22 and 23.
Next up for the Bears is a triple dual at Lindenwood University. Missouri State, Lindenwood, St. Louis University and Illinois Tech will all dive in at 1:00 p.m. on Jan. 22. Last season, the Bears competed in the Lindenwood Duals and walked away with three dual wins. So far this season, Missouri State has a dual record of 3-3 for both the men and women.