By Fred Sington
LITTLE ROCK, ARK., Dec. 4.-The Delta State University men's and women's swimming and diving programs traveled to Arkansas to take part in the annual Christmas Invitational at University of Arkansas-Little this weekend, and returned with an overall second place finish behind Southwest
The Lady Statesmen posted 550 points over the two-day tournament to finish second behind SMS, while the Statesmen recorded 477 points to finish fourth in an 11-school field.
The weekend saw 11 Delta State swimmers qualify for the NCAA Division II Championships in March. Tara Lewis (Houston, Texas) qualified for the NCAA B-Cut in the 200-butterfly with a time of 2:11.04, which was good enough to win gold in the event. Shelley Baker (Rogers, Ark.) powered to top finish in the 50-freestyle with a time of 25.13, a mark that qualified the freshman sprinter for the NCAA B-Cut in the event.
Baker later teamed with Allyn Meador (Cleveland), Jennifer Armstrong (Winter Springs, Fla.) and Natalie Smith (Jackson) in the 200-freestyle relay squad to set a Delta State record with a mark of 1:42.03. Lone
senior Leslie McLin (Baton Rouge, La.) added a valuable 16 points to the Lady Statesmen effort this weekend with her 367.80-point performance on
the 3-meter board, a total that equaled a new Lady Statesmen record.
For the Statesmen, Chris Edmaiston (Sherman, Texas) kept his undefeated streak in tact in the distance event, as the freshman swam to an NCAA A-Cut in the 1,650-freestyle with a time of 16:06.96. Edmaiston also qualified for an NCAA B-Cut in the 500-freestyle with a mark of 4:40.28. The dual effort also set new Delta State records in the 1,650- and 500-freestyle.
John David Deville (Alexandria, La.) had an equally successful weekend, as the sophomore qualified for the three NCAA B-Cuts in the 200-individual medley (1:56.15), 100-breaststroke (59.41) and 100-butterfly (51.54). Fellow sophomores Brian Shaw (Jackson), Billy Patterson (San Angelo,Texas) and Justin Whitaker (Humble, Texas) qualified for NCAA B-Cuts in the 200-freestyle (1:43.92), 50-freestyle (21.30) and 200-backstroke (1:53.37), respectively. Whitaker's effort in the 200-backstroke also set a new team record.
Onurkan Guvensel (Istanbul, Turkey) rounded out the Delta State qualifying contingent, as the freshman logged a time of 2:09.11 in the 200-breaststroke, making himself eligible for the NCAA B-Cut in March.
The time also set a new Statesmen record in the event.
Head coach Ronnie Mayers, pleased with his team's showing, said after the meet, "We had a real good efforts this weekend. I'm excited for the program."