SPRINGFIELD, Missouri, January 23. MOST cities in the United States can’t boast two collegiate swimming and diving teams that are equally matched, but that is what Springfield, Mo., can claim. With NCAA Division II champions Drury and Division I Missouri State in the city limits, the residents of the southwestern Missouri city were treated to an exciting men’s dual meet today where the team winner wasn’t decided until the finish of the final event.
Going into the 200 freestyle relay, Missouri State had 111 points to Drury’s 107. Whichever team won the relay would win the meet. Drury made a big statement in the event, as both of the Panthers’ teams outpaced Missouri State’s squads. Nick McCarthy, Aaron Buckingham, Igor Kowal and Stanislav Kuzmin swam a 1:21.37 to win the event ahead of the Drury B team’s 1:23.89. Missouri State’s A relay was disqualified, but even with legal takeovers, the team would have only been third.
Drury’s men’s team, on pace to repeat as national champions, won the meet with a final score of 126-117. On the women’s side, the Drury team was more dominant, taking the win 146-97.
“This meet always brings out some really good swims,” Collins said. And I was impressed with some folks tonight on what they were able to do coming off Christmas training and really getting after it.”
On losing the final relay – and the meet – Collins said: “The depth points didn’t exactly trickle down to where we needed them, so we were in a position where we needed to win the last relay. And we just didn’t have the personnel at that point.”
Missouri State’s Paul Le, the team’s first NCAA point scorer in history, did all he could to help his team win the meet. He led off the 200 medley relay with a quick 22.71 as Missouri State touched out Drury 1:29.31 to 1:29.40 in the short medley relay. Le would return to win the 100 back in 48.67 and place second in the 50 free with a 20.57 behind the winning time of 20.18 posted by Drury’s McCarthy. That’s McCarthy’s fastest time of the season, beating his 20.30 from the UALR Invite and moving him up to second in the Division II rankings behind the 20.02 from Saint Leo’s Matheus Assis. McCarthy started his day with a 19.59 freestyle leg on Drury’s runner-up medley relay.
Missouri State’s Uvis Kalnins was the only double individual event winner on the men’s side, taking the 200 IM with a 1:48.89 and the 100 free with a 44.97. The 100 free marked his first swim under 45 seconds this season, and his 200 IM was a little more than a second slower than his season best.
The women’s meet featured three double event winners, each from Drury. Sarah Pullen swept the distance freestyle events with a 10:09.64 in the 1000 and 4:57.44 in the 500 freestyle. Tinsley Andrews took the 100 and 200 freestyles with times of 52.52 and 1:54.63, respectively, while Agnieszka Ostrowska won the 200 IM with a 2:04.46 and the 100 breast in 1:02.57.