After having lost at Buffalo last week by a score of 218-81, Ohio looked to bounce back against another MAC opponent in Ball State.
They did so in a big way, with an overall team win of 188.5-110.5.
Coach Mason Norman was happy with the overall results and the confidence that his team showed.
“One of the big things I picked up on was the confidence coming back home,” Norman said. “A lot of the freshmen really stepped up and had a little more confidence than last week. (It was) really a team win across the board.”
One of the best performances from Ohio came from freshman Emma Fortman. She finished in first place for both the 100- and 200-yard backstroke and helped Ohio finish in first place in the 200-yard medley relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay.
“She’s really emerging as a player in the conference,” Norman said.
On top of Fortman’s strong performance, other freshmen performances that stood out include Madeline Marks’ win in the 1,000-yard freestyle — an event that she had only previously done twice — as well as a first place finish in the 200-yard fly. McKenzie Grau also put on a strong performance and finished first place in the 50-yard freestyle.
Fortman recognized the importance of the freshmen swimmers stepping up, as Norman similarly mentioned.
“We don’t have that many people right now, so it takes everyone to succeed,” Fortman said, “I think it helped everyone, swimming well and having a good time. I think it was really important.”
Other key performances included Katie Garrity, who came in first place in both the 200-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle. Emilia Lahtinen also came in first place in the 200-yard breaststroke, and Sam Glass came in first place in the 100-yard butterfly.
For diving, Taylor Miller finished in first place for the 1-meter dive and second place in the 3-meter dive.
Saturday’s win against Ball State was also Ohio’s first dual meet win of the season. Norman isn’t as concerned about how his team finishes in dual meet, but he acknowledged the importance of this victory.
“At the end of the season, the dual meet record is not as important as where we finish at the conference meet,” Norman said. “But from a confidence standpoint, this late in the season, we got one more meet next week versus Marshall. It’s really important that their confidence level is high and we’re able to show improvement as we go through each week, and we’ve done that.”
Norman looks to keep up the success all the way through the end of the season.
“We’re still training hard at this point. We’re not backing off at all until we get into February, just to make sure that we continue to focus on the end of the season,” Norman said. “I think the girls just rallied around each other and the team. We talked a lot about leadership and being a team over the course of winter break, and I think coming back to your home pool and having some fans and parents here, I think that helps out.”
Swimming in their home pool is certainly something that they see as beneficial. This was the Bobcats’ first home meet since Nov. 9, when they defeated Akron. Ohio will have another home meet next weekend against Marshall.
“I think it’s big. It won’t always be that way. We just lucked out, having a home meet back-to-back, which they’re comfortable here,” Norman said. “I think that having confidence and composure and consistency throughout the week, knowing they don’t have to travel. You don’t have to make up classes. You don’t have to tell your professors you’re leaving. It helps them.”