GENEVA, Ohio - The Ball State women’s swimming and diving team earned a relay gold and an individual silver medal to open the first day of the 2014 MAC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships. In addition to the medals, the 200 free relay broke a 17-year old school record. The Cardinals earned 101 points on the first day to sit in seventh place, 13 points away from sixth-place Ohio. Akron leads the event with 201 points.
The 400 medley relay of senior Mallory Miles, senior Bridgette Ruehl, senior Haley Richter and junior Carlena Magley combined to earn gold with a season-best and pool-record time of 3:40.06 to defend its title from 2013. The time ranks second in Ball State history just behind last season’s 400 medley relay of Katelyn Pratt, Ruehl, Richter and Magley. Miles started things off for the Cardinals with a 54.93 split in the back to set up Ruehl for a 1:00.99 in her specialty the breaststroke. Richter turned in a 53.45 split in the fly while Magley anchored with a 50.69 in the free.
Richter won the first medal of the championships for Ball State, earning a silver medal in the 50 free. The silver medal gave Richter her first individual medal of her career. Richter finished the preliminaries with the second-best time of 22.88. The senior then improved on that time in the event finals with a lifetime-best 22.79. The time puts Richter second place in Ball State history in the event and it also was a NCAA B cut time.
The event started off in record-breaking fashion for the Cardinals with the 200 free relay of freshman Audrey Rodawig, junior Carlena Magley, freshman Jessica Extine and senior Haley Richter turning in a sixth-place time of 1:33.49. The time breaks a school record that has stood since 1997. The relay broke the 17-year-old school record by 19 one-hundredths of a second.
Junior Carlena Magley finished fifth in the consolation finals of the 50 free, 13th overall, with a time of 23.68. The junior finished the preliminaries with a lifetime-best time of 23.49 to put her fourth place all-time in Ball State history in the event. The rest of the Cardinals who participated in the event earned season-bests – Jessica Extine (23.93), Audrey Rodawig (24.02) and Elaine Pitsas (24.37). Extine and Pitsas earned lifetime bests.
Senior Emily Wisolek finished just outside of the medals in the 500 free after turning in a fifth-place time of 4:54.08 in the event finals. Wisolek was only 28 one-hundredths of a second away from breaking her school record in the event in the morning preliminaries after clocking a season-best 4:53.43.
In the 500 free preliminaries, senior Cheyanne Jackson finished 20th with a season-best time of 4:59.64. Junior Jordan VanWinkle became just the fifth woman in program history to go under five minutes in the event after turning in a lifetime-best 4:59.97 for 22nd place. VanWinkle now sits fifth in program history in the event. Junior Leighann Mattson finished with a lifetime-best time of 5:01.02 while classmate Kayla Hussey earned a 5:12.71.
All six Cardinals in the 200 IM swam season-bests led by senior Stacey Wierman who clocked a 2:07.36 in the morning preliminaries. Classmate Bridgette Ruehl and freshman Kimberly Scott finished in 25th and 26th respectively with times of 2:07.77 and 2:08.06. Freshman Katie Horn touched with a 2:11.44 while classmate Allie Kolz clocked a 2:12.31. Senior Sumaiyah Ahmad earned a time of 2:14.06. Scott, Horn and Kolz all earned lifetime bests in the event.
In the diving competition, sophomore Madie Zirzow was the top finisher for Ball State with an 18th-place score of 211.75 in the 1-meter preliminaries. Freshman Brittany Penn finished with a 203.95 while classmate Quinn Bixler earned a 116.45.
The fourth session will begin at 11 a.m. tomorrow and will include the preliminary heats for the 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast and 100 back. Check mac-sports.com for a live webcast and live results.