MUNCIE, Ind. - - After months of training and competition, the 2010-11 season culminates this week for the Ball State women's swimming & diving team with the 2011 Mid-American Conference Championships hosted by Ohio. The four-day event begins Wednesday at the Ohio University Aquatic Center and runs through Saturday.
"We have had a great season so far and are looking forward to this week's MAC Championships," said Ball State head coach Laura Seibold-Caudill. "We have put in a lot of hard work up until this point and are excited to show what we can do. We have a very young team that is excited to go to the meet. We also have terrific leadership from our seniors, and I look for them to keep our younger group focused on the task at hand."
The Cardinals look poised to break a string of three consecutive eighth-place finishes at the league's championship meet thanks to a roster loaded with talent. So far this season, the Cardinals have broken seven school records and have two divers qualified for the 2011 NCAA Zone Diving Championships.
BSU's latest school record came at Buffalo (Jan. 29), when junior diver Christina Riordan (Homewood, Ill./Homewood Flossmoor H.S.) posted a 3-meter diving score of 312.00 to top the previous record of 307.50 set by Beth Clark on Nov. 19, 1999. The effort was also one of several NCAA Zone Diving qualifying marks for the junior.
Fellow junior diver Whitney Adams (Danville, Ind./Danville H.S.) also posted an NCAA Zone Diving qualifying mark on the 3-meter board earlier this year with a career-best effort of 301.10 at the Doug Coers Invitational.
BSU's other six school records were set at the two-day Eastern Michigan Invitational (Dec. 3-4).
On the opening day of the meet, freshman Bridgette Ruehl (Lowell, Ind./Lowell H.S.) foreshadowed events to come with a school-record clocking of 2:17.12 in the 200 breaststroke. The effort was over a second faster than the previous mark of 2:18.35 set by Emily Haifley at the 2009 MAC Championships.
Ruehl followed the effort on the second day of the EMU Invite by breaking the school record in the 100 breaststroke with a swim of 1:04.12, which was 0.07 of a second faster than the previous mark of 1:04.19 set by Emily Karwoski at the 2010 MAC Championships.
Ruehl was not the only record-setter on the first-day of competition as classmate Mallory Miles (Holland, Ind./Southridge H.S.) took the top spot in BSU's record book in the 200 backstroke with a time of 2:03.18. The effort was 0.02 of a second faster than Brittany Sayler's time of 2:03.20 at the 2006 league meet.
Miles turned in her second record-breaking effort of the meet on the second day, with a swim of 56.64 in the 100 backstroke. The time broke the previous record of 57.12 set by junior Nicole Saulters (Highland, Ind./Highland H.S.) her freshman year at the 2009 MAC Championships.
The 100 backstroke race at the EMU Invitational also saw freshman Jackie Iglesias (Aurora, Ill./West Aurora H.S.) battling for the school record, as the posted the second-fastest individual time in program history in the event at 57.03, dropping Saulters to third on the list.
Saulters would still leave the EMU Invite with a school record, however, as she opened the second day of competition with a split time of 26.53 in the 50 back in the first leg of the 200 medley relay.
Ball State's final record-setting performance at the EMU Invitational came in the final event of Saturday's morning session, when sophomore Jillian Bischoff (Atlanta, Ind./Hamilton Heights H.S.), freshman Haley Richter (Roanoke, Ind./Columbia City H.S.), freshman Emily Wisolek (Middlebury, Ind./Northridge H.S.) and senior Katie Bylsma (Westfield, Ind./Pinckney H.S.) combined for a school-record swim of 7:34.36 in the 800 freestyle relay. The effort knocked almost a second off the previous school record of 7:35.05 set at the 2008 MAC Championships.
Ball State enters the 2011 MAC Championship meet with 18 student-athletes ranked in the top 20 in their respective events on the 2011 MAC Championships Psych Sheet.
BALL STATE'S TOP 20 ON THE 2011 MAC CHAMPIONSHIPS PSYCH SHEET
19th - Emily Wisolek (5:04.47)
8th - Bridgette Ruehl (1:04.12)
11th - Haley Richter (2:08.25)
10th - Mallory Miles (4:30.37)
200 Medley Relay
7th - Ball State A (1:46.10)
400 Medley Relay
4th - Ball State A (3:48.78)
200 Freestyle Relay
6th - Ball State A (1:37.05)
400 Freestyle Relay
3rd - Ball State A (3:29.03)
800 Free Relay
3rd - Ball State A (7:34.36)