Ball State men's swim and dive participated in its first meet of the season Saturday, coming out on top over the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) winning 187-113 overall and taking first place in 12 of 16 races.
After last year's performance, one which landed the Cardinals in fourth place at the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Championship, the red and white return this season with a large amount of that same squad, many of whom hope to improve this year.
One of those returning swimmers, fifth-year Owen Chaye, participated in four events at UIC; the 200-yard medley relay, 50-yard freestyle, 400-yard free relay and the 100-yard freestyle. He won the 50 and the 100.
“It was really fun," Chaye said. "Overall, we seemed to do great, and a lot of our freshmen did well."
With big goals and an ambitious nature, Chaye, who holds 19 records for Ball State swim and dive, also recognizes the importance of his role on the team this year.
“I'm an in-water coach," Chaye laughed. “I'm older than everybody, and I've spent over a quarter of my life on the team."
Chayes relay partner, Joey Garberick, is another Cardinal swimmer with big goals. The senior also participated in four events at UIC; the 200-yard medley relay, 400-yard free relay, 100-yard breaststroke and 200-yard breaststroke. Like Chaye, he also won two events, the 100 and the 200.
Garberick, who holds 20 records for Ball State swim and dive, said the Cardinals’ depth this year will be key.
“I'm pretty excited, we have a great team put together, it's really deep," Garberick said. "It's honestly one of the best teams Ball State has had."
Fifth year head coach J. Agnew agreed.
“This is the most complete team we have put together in the last five years," Agnew said. “We have a tremendous group of freshmen and five returning fifth years.
“We have a really competitive team. To get a MAC win was a good way to start our season."
The Cardinals continue their season next week at Purdue University for the Indiana Intercollegiates meet. In West Lafayette, the Ball State women's team will join the men and start their own campaign for the MAC championship.