Bears Hang Tough With No. 15 Tennessee, Texas A&M in Dual

Bears Hang Tough With No. 15 Tennessee, Texas A&M in Dual

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Jan. 8, 2015

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas - In a double dual pitted against two Southeastern Conference members, the Missouri State men's swimming and diving team kept pace with 15th-ranked Tennessee and host Texas A&M at the Student Recreation Center Natatorium on Thursday, Jan. 8.

"Today's meet was a real challenge for us," head coach Dave Collins said. "Competing against two very good teams during our hardest cycle of training was a great opportunity. We raced tough in most spots, but did not have the depth to keep up in total points."

The Bears concluded their winter break training trip in Texas against the two SEC squads - their first competitive action since Nov. 23, 2014 - and fell to both the No. 15 Volunteers and Aggies, 210-89 and 175-119, respectively.

"The past week training in Texas has been great," senior Isaac McKnight said. "Getting out of our normal training environment and going someplace where we can block out a lot of distractions brings a new element to our workouts. The training has been tough, so we knew today's meet against Texas A&M and Tennessee would be a challenge. As a whole, I feel we reacted well to the competition, even though the results weren't quite what we were hoping for."

The Bears had several highlights in their first action of 2015, including two MSU swimmers - Vitalii Baryshok and Jack Snow - making their first appearances of the season after battling fall injuries, and three previous top times set this year being broken in the dual's early going.

In the first event, the MSU 200 medley relay team of Paul Le, Isaac Springer, Baryshok and Uvis Kalnins raced to the Bears' top time of the season (1:30.49) in the event for a fourth-place finish.

In the following 1000 free, both Miguel Davila and Brandon Weissman set season-best times, with Davila placing second (9:22.81) and Weissman fifth (9:43.09) for the Bears.

"As a team, I felt we responded really well to the challenge of racing two talented men's teams after a tough week of training," senior Matthew Wilson said. "I'm excited to see our hard work pay off in March at the conference meet."

MSU's Le turned in three of the top performances for MSU Thursday, earning runner-up finishes in the 100 back (48.13), 200 back (1:46.42) and the 200 IM (1:48.75). Davila had two runner-up honors for the Bears, also finishing second in the 500 free (4:33.13).

In their returns from injury, Baryshok competed and placed eighth in the 200 free and 10th in the 100 free, while Snow finished eighth in the 100 back and competed on the top-placing MSU 400-free relay team.

A variety of MSU swimmers ended the double dual with top finishes in multiple events. Kalnins earned third in the 200 free (1:40.35) and fifth in the 100 free (45.61). Wilson finished fourth in the 200 fly (1:52.00) and seventh in the 100 fly (50.48). Springer placed fourth and fifth in the 100 and 200 breast, while Uldis Tazans earned fourth and sixth in the 200 and 100 breast, respectively.

MSU's Garrett Nevels finished with 315.30 points in 3-meter diving and 304.85 points in 1-meter diving to lead the Bears' divers with fourth- and fifth-place showings, while Ethan Bresette rounded out the MSU top-five finishes in the 500 free in a time of 4:37.25

"Our time in Texas has been very beneficial," Collins said. "I feel we have worked hard, become closer as a team and established a winning mentality that we must have going into the championship season."

The Bears continue the 2015 portion of their schedule with a dual against Truman State at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 17, at Hammons Student Center. MSU will host Truman State on Senior Day, with 10 men and four women being celebrated at their final home meet at the HSC pool at Missouri State.

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