The Michigan State Spartans swim and dive teams (6-5-1) hosted the Cleveland State men and women Vikings in their last home meet of the 2020 season at McCaffree Pool on Friday evening, and won in a landslide victory — the women outpaced Cleveland State 216-78 while the men pulled away 163.5-135.5.
"I was really happy for the team, for the seniors to be able to win their last meet," coach Matt Gianiodis said. "We have some things we need to clean up, and it gets a lot harder next week, going down to Ann Arbor and then going down to South Bend, (Indiana). ... But, I thought we had some good swims across the board."
In the first event of the day — the 400-meter Medley Relay — the Spartan women in relay team A — sophomore Sam Villani, junior Erin Szara, freshman Kasey Venn, and senior Allie Heineman — gained and held on to a large and early lead against their opponents in the odd-numbered lanes.
The Spartan men in relay team A — junior Charlie Ryan, sophomore Jonathan Lee, senior Michael Schwers, and junior Aidan Farley — followed suit.
Both relay teams found the first victory of the meet for the green and white.
In the women's 1000-meter Freestyle, freshman Sophia Balow snagged a head on the Vikings. CSU freshman Rachel Contich was on her toes in the beginning half, but Balow pushed ahead nonetheless, clocking a first-place time of 10:23.45.
Freshman Peter Corsetti and junior Guy Moskovich, as the only two Spartans racing against two Vikings, destroyed the men's 1000-meter Freestyle. The landslide victory gave their team both first- and second-place titles. The duo held roughly a lap or more ahead of the Vikings by the time Corsetti had reached the wall at 9:40.18.
Freshman Emma Inch came hot off of her win-streak last week against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies. In the women's 200-meter Freestyle, Inch swam herself to victory with a time of 1:53.58. Her teammates, juniors Olivia Chick and Abbey Neveling, backed her up on the podium, sweeping CSU for second- and third-place.
Junior Weston Youngblood followed suit in Inch's victory, claiming one of his own. But, not without a fight. CSU junior Timothy Kubacki was on Youngblood's toes with only a second of difference between their final times.
Sophomores Kelley Heron and Claire Schenden claimed the top two spots in the women's 100-meter Backstroke, clocking nearly back-to-back times of 57.68 and 57.79.
The men, on the other hand, had slipped behind and CSU junior Dominik Niedzialek swiped the title spot out from under Schwers' nose quickly.
The Spartan men and women both captured first-place titles in the 100-meter Breaststroke, led by Szara and Lee.
During the women's 200-meter Butterfly, lane two, occupied by sophomore Ava Boutrous, was disqualified for false start. In recovery, junior Marie Dickson headed up the race in the second heat and swam into first place smoothly with a time of 2:04.89.
CSU senior Matthew Martin finished first in the men's 200-meter Butterfly, beating out junior Josh Pascua, who managed third place.
The 50-meter Freestyle saw the women round out the top three podium spots for a clean Spartan sweep: Heineman in first place, freshman Chloe Reed in second place, and senior Kennedy Truex in third place.
The men relayed to hold the double Spartan title, senior Payton Woods in first-place and Farley only 0.17 seconds behind.
The Spartan women barreled past the Vikings in the 100-meter Freestyle, the podium strictly green and white yet again: Heineman in first place for her second consecutive victory, Chick tight on her toes in second place, and Reed smoothing it out in third place.
Farley claimed the gold in the men's 100-meter Freestyle, his teammate senior Nehemiah Mork not too far behind in third place.
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Schenden was pulled in the lead during the women's 200-meter Backstroke, finishing in first place with a time of 2:05.44. Villani was hot on her trail, finishing in second place with a nearly identical time of 2:05.46.
CSU's Kubacki came for blood in the men's 200-meter Backstroke, beating out both Schwers and sophomore Kevin Mills for the top dog spot.
Szara caught herself in first place once again after the women's 200-meter Breaststroke, while Lee struggled hard to catch up to CSU sophomore Jack Krusinski.
Sophomore Lauren Biglin was a shining star tonight for the Spartan women, heading up the women's 500-meter Freestyle in a comfortable victory, surfacing four-seconds ahead of the rest of the swimmers.
"I thought Lauren Biglin in the 500 Freestyle did a great job, that's her best time here," Gianiodis said, when asked about star performances from the athletes. "I thought Emma (Inch) in the 400 I.M. was very good. ... Our divers did really well."
CSU's Niedzialek topped out the men's 500-meter Freestyle, ahead of Corsetti, who tapped the wall at the second-place time of 4:42.73.
The first heat of the women's 100-meter Butterfly was insane. Heron and sophomore Kendall Goit hit the pad with a clear and identical tying time of 1:00.17.
The second heat of the race was a familiar Spartan sweep with Venn in first-place, sophomore Ryan Barlow in second-place, and Boutrous in third-place, while freshman Brad Sanford opened up the opportunity for an MSU victory in the men's 100-meter Freestyle as well.
Inch threw herself in for another hot green and white win in the women's 400-meter Individual Medley, practically coasting into first place.
CSU's Kubacki was still throwing down, edging out redshirt junior Phillip Meffert for the men's 400-meter Individual Medley win.
In the final event of the evening — the 200-meter Freestyle Relay — the Spartan women in relay team A again held a large and early lead against their opponents. The Spartan men in relay team A again followed suit.
Both relay teams found the last victory of the meet for the green and white.
On the other side of the pool, the Spartans were successful in the dive competitions.
For the 1-meter dive, sophomore Jakob Heberling secured the second-place spot with a score over 300, while sophomore Ari Wolfson backed him up in the third-place spot on the brink of the low 290s.
The Spartan women grabbed the top two spots on the podium, both junior Amanda Ling and redshirt senior Julia Oppedisano scoring in the high 260s.
For the 3-meter dive, Wolfson secured the men in second place, while Ling secured the women in first place.
"(For our seniors), this is it for them," Gianiodis said, when asked if he has any last words as the seniors are coming to a close on their collegiate careers. "It's down the stretch and then they got to get themselves prepared. We only have a month left and so there's not a lot of time. You've got to start paying attention to the little things: get good rest, pay attention to what you're eating and kind of make sure that you're taking care of yourself."
The MSU men's and women's swim and dive teams took home the overall win for the meet in a landslide victory. At 7:30 p.m. the board stood: MSU Women, 216, Men 163.5; CSU Women 78, Men 135.5.
The Spartans are scheduled to drive out to the University of Michigan next week on Friday, Jan. 31 for their annual cross-state showdown against the men (5-1) and women (5-0) Wolverines.
"We have to improve a lot, because they're really good," Gianiodis said, in reference to the Wolverines. "We'll do the best that we can and certainly the two-day experience of it is going to be something. To be in Ann Arbor and then in South Bend the next day is a difficult deal to be able to manage that stuff, and hopefully it'll help us at the Big Ten Meets."
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