Ball State men's swimming and diving hosts another NCAA Division II team this weekend as Grand Valley State comes to Muncie on a four-meet win streak.
Ball State head coach Bob Thomas isn’t worried about the challenges that lay ahead, but would rather like to keep the tradition going.
“We always enjoy hosting GVS," Thomas said. "They have been coming here for since we started the Doug Coers Invite and they're one of the top teams in Division II and the caliber of the swimmers is very equal to the best in the MAC.”
The Lakers come into Saturday’s meet averaging above 100 points a meet after taking fifth place in the NCAA Division II men's swim and dive championships last season. However, Thomas said the points don’t mean much to him.
“We’re competing against them because of tradition and the competition they provide, along with their swim coach,” Thomas said.
After the Tiffin meet last weekend, Thomas has already seen improvement in his swimmers.
ATHLETES TO WATCH FOR THIS WEEKEND
One of the athletes that Thomas has seen definite improvement in is freshman Drew Weeks, who put up a new personal best last weekend.
“He’s swimming really close to his best times right now,” Thomas said. “He is adjusting quickly, where some of the guys are taking time to get back into it.”
In preparation for this weekend's meet, the Cardinals have done a lacate set which works on their race speed. They also have completed stations at practice. Junior Zach Reichle said these stations are beneficial because they focus on technique.
Reichle recorded a 1:02.00 in the 100-yard breast stroke in his last meet and hopes to use this weekend's competition to his advantage on Saturday.
“We won a lot of races at our last meet,” Reichle said. “But GVS has lot more talent. Grand Valley has a good team and I think we will be ready for them.”
This will be the second home meet of the season with two more coming in the second half of the season. Sophomore Jack Luddy said he enjoys home meets due to the support of the fanbase.
“I know a lot of my friends come out and watch me swim and people that I know,” Luddy said. “We don’t get as many as the men’s volleyball games or basketball games, but we love having the support and it creates a really fun atmosphere.”
Luddy swam the 1000-yard freestyle against Tiffin, recording a time of 10:33.2. During practices this week, Luddy said he has been working on his breathing pattern.
“I have been working on taking the same number of strokes, same number of breaths and keeping that same pattern in the last couple of practices,” Luddy said. “I usually take two breaths on my right, two on my left and then two more on my right, before I go into the flip turn.”
ON THE DIVERS SIDE
For the divers, they are finishing “New Dive November,” where each of the divers have to do at least one dive. Head diving coach Nick Gayes said this idea has been going well for the team.
“We have made some really good progress," Gayes said. "They have gone through some decent amount of stuff and Trey and Sean have learned quite a few things. How many of those translate into actual dives that we compete this year, is still yet to be determined.”
Freshmen Trey Mathesis has been working on some new dives for this meet, like back-two-and a half and inward-two-and-a half. Mathesis said the first time he did these dives they were pretty rough.
“They’re getting a little better each and every time,” Mathesis said. "Just some minor things need to be fixed and they will end up being good dives by the end of the season.”
For this meet, Gayes want his divers to be more composed. Compared to the Tiffin meet, they were not composed.
“I think they have to do a little better job of getting themselves ready to rebound and do that second event and attack it the same way they attacked the first one,” Gayes said.
The co-ed meet starts at 1 p.m. at Lewellen Aquatic Center.