COLUMBIA — The long-awaited result was worth it for the Missouri swimming teams Saturday. After a computer glitch forced swimmers to wait longer than 30 minutes for the final results of the three-team meet at the Mizzou Rec Center, the No. 19 Tigers men’s team found out it had defeated Missouri State 160.5-139.5, while the women’s team learned it had split, beating Missouri State 210-71, but losing to Arkansas 133-131.
The men were down by as many as 16 points two-thirds of the way through the meet, but turned the outcome in their favor with a 1-2-3 finish in the 500 freestyle. They were also helped with two victories by sophomore Martin Cernansky in the breaststroke events. In both races, Cernansky trailed at the halfway point but used a strong second half to win.
“In practices, I always focus on the second half of the race,” he said.
Missouri coach Brian Hoffer said he was not surprised by the men’s team’s late surge.
“We feel like we’re a better second half team,” he said. “Missouri State seems to find a way to win events, but we’ve worked our depth.”
On the women’s side, senior Taye Patterson won the 100 backstroke and the 50 freestyle.
“I got really pumped up when I saw how close the meet was going to be,” she said.
Going into the women’s 200 freestyle relay, the meet’s final event, the score was uncertain but the No. 18 Tigers knew they needed to win. Patterson was joined by junior Lauren Cox, freshman Francie Szostak and sophomore Colleen Gordon. Missouri and Arkansas were even at the halfway point, but Szostak put the Tigers in the lead during the third leg. Gordon, anchoring, finished a full body-length ahead of Arkansas.
“It was probably the most fun I’ve had on a relay this year,” Gordon said. “We keep saying that this is the best year we’ve ever had. The team atmosphere inside practice is really positive.”
Patterson agreed. “As a team we’re a lot closer,” she said. “We went from being unranked, to the best we’ve ever been ranked.”
Despite the slim loss to Arkansas at home, Hoffer echoed his swimmers’ positive outlook.
“I hate to lose, but we’re right where we need to be.”