JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Nationally ranked Carson-Newman and Wingate wrapped up day one of the two-day dual meet on Friday night at the MSAC pool with the Bulldogs holding the lead in the combined score 161.5-134.5.
The C-N men lead Wingate 76.5 to 71.5 while the women will have some work to do on day two as they trail 90 to 58.
"I was really impressed to be honest," Coach Jordan Taylor said. "We have been working hard and we came up against one of the hardest opponents ever in a dual meet set up for us. We were fantastic across the board and every single touch seemed to be going our way. Really pleased and proud of them being loud and supporting each other."
Heading into the match, the Bulldogs men's and women's sides hold top-10 positions at No. 10 and No. 9 respectively in the College Swimming Coaches Association of America/TYR NCAA Division II top 25 preseason poll. The C-N women's group holds the edge over the men checking in at No. 18 to the men's No. 20.
Both the men's and women's teams for C-N would take the first events of the night in the 200-yard freestyle relay.
"It was huge for us to start off the way we did in order to build momentum," Postma said. "It was better than we thought but it got our team hyped up and it sets the mindset moving forward."
For the Eagle men, Jonny Goss, Seth Hughes. Ivo Kunzle, and Chad Andoljsek held the top spot in the event with a time of 1:23.68.
In her first meet as a freshman, Meredith Ginn gathered the top spot out of 18 swimmers in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:07.45.
Caleb Howell would earn CN's victory in four-straight events overall and second for the men claiming the No. 1 time in the same event at 1:52.19.
Through eight events, including both the men and women, the Eagles collected the top-time in six races.
The Bulldogs grabbed their first win heading into event five in the women's 500-yard freestyle as Kate Agger held the crown at 5:13.33. Wingate took the top-three spots in the event.
Max Sundberg of Wingate nearly missed out on a personal-best swim in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:43.28.
Marcelo Figueiredo placed first in the event at 4:41.01 for the C-N men while Sara Aringsmann grabbed first for the Wingate women at 1:06.36.
The junior Howell collected his second event win on the evening beating out Wingate's Giacomo Viazzo by .09 seconds in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 58.14.
"I feel surprisingly good," Howell said. "It's a relief to see that we have that five-point lead and it gives us a chance to beat a time that is ranked higher than us. There were some nerves but I felt we were excited overall. Just knowing it was going to be tough against a team like that but at the same time we knew with it being our pool, we had more courage than we thought we might have had."
Following Howell's victory, Wingate would go on to win six of the next seven events split by Lisa Postma's top-time in the 100-yard freestyle at 53.54 seconds.
Taylor's troops held the lead in overall score through 13 events until Nazarii Kosylo's win in the 200-yard butterfly gave the Bulldogs a 136-125 lead with two events remaining on the evening.
The Bulldogs took the men's and women's 400-yard medley relay to cap off the night in taking the overall point lead.
"We take a lot of pride when we go to work every day," senior swimmer Jon Lancaster said. "It feels good to have that lead going into tomorrow. We know that Wingate is ranked higher but having a competitive nature has helped. The staff is great and has done a good job in preparing us and pushing us to the max."
The foursome of Andrei Ungur, Howell, Matthew George, and Nikola Tadic narrowly missed a first-place time in the event as the Wingate 'A' side held the advantage by .20 seconds.
The final day will wrap up tomorrow with a start time of 11:00 p.m.