Blugolds play host for second meet

Renee Rosenow

The stands were filled with blue, gold, purple and red this past weekend as the UW-Eau Claire swimming and diving team hosted their first home meet of the season, pulling out close races against UW-Stevens Point and NCAA Div. II St. Cloud State University (Minn.).

Due to technical difficulties with scoring the meet, the places and scores from the weekend action were unavilable to The Spectator as of 10 p.m. Sunday evening.

Competition opened Friday with the diving team. Senior Bryan Dykstra was named the three-meter champion.

“I did some of my best dives that I’ve ever done in this meet,” Dykstra said.

Though Dykstra missed his second dive, he scored 304.01 points and nailed his other remaining dives, putting him ahead of St. Cloud’s national champion diver, Nate Jimerson and national qualifying diver, Ross Eiden.

“I really had to bring my A game,” he said. “I had to think about every aspect of diving . from form in the air, to how tight I was and to how I entered the water.”

The swimming side of the meet continued Saturday as the Blugolds battled through a rough start.

The first two relays on the women’s team were disqualified in the 400 yard medley relay followed by the men’s two 400 yard medley relays, head coach Art Brandt said.

Brandt said the team has also had a hard week with coming down with different illnesses like pneumonia, pink eye and ear infections.

Putting the spirit back into the Blugolds was sophomore Angie Bakula.

Bakula took first in the both the 1000 and 500 yard freestyles. In the 1000 freestyle Bakula cemented the win with a time of 11 minutes and 6.98 seconds, and took the win in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5:20.27.

Bakula said during the 500 freestyle she knew the St. Cloud swimmer next to her and her times. Though the other swimmer was ahead of her for most of the race, Bakula knew in the end she could pull ahead.

“At the end I just got a burst of energy and saw everyone on the side of the pool and kept on for the last 50 yards,” Bakula said.

“Angie Bakula did amazing and that really lifted our spirits,” freshman Nicole Dorvinen said.

Dorvinen also attributed to the Blugold’s momentum by clinching first in the women’s 200 yard butterfly with a time of 2:17.23.

Dorvinen said she knew the race was going to be close and tried applying things she had worked on during practice.

“I worked my turns harder and getting farther off the wall,” she said. “I was happy to pull out a win in the 200 fly for Eau Claire and scoring points for the team.”

On the men’s side, the Blugolds took first and second places in the 1000 yard freestyle. Taking top honors was sophomore Ben Macalalad with a time of 10:26.92, and battling out a neck-in-neck race for second place was sophomore Nick Mehring with a time of 10:42.51.

Looking ahead the Blugolds will be taking on UW-River Falls this weekend at Hudson Middle School.

Brandt said he hasn’t found where everyone belongs as far as relays go and will be moving people around against the Falcons.

“We have a lot of depth, finally, this year,” Brandt said. “It’ll be interesting to see what shakes out for next week.”

On Saturday at 1 p.m. the swimmers will hit the pool to start conference action.