Salukis win thriller, top Air Force 121-120

    Juan Arbelaez won both the 50- and 100-yard freestyles.

    Juan Arbelaez won both the 50- and 100-yard freestyles.

    Nov. 2, 2012

    By John Lock

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    CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois men's swimming and diving team topped Air Force in a thriller, 121-120, on Friday night in the Dr. Edward J. Shea Natatorium. The Salukis won nine of the 13 events on their way to the dual-meet crown.

    "This is a great start to a long weekend," head coach Rick Walker said. "Any time you can beat a prestigious academy, such as Air Force, you feel good about your performance. This is a big win for our program."

    The Salukis started the meet off on the right foot, winning the 200-yard medley relay. The team of Oleg Rabota, Calvin Kolar, Jacob Lucheon and Shaun Wolfe swam 1:33.88 to win the event.

    After Air Force took the top two spots in the 1,650-yard freestyle, the Salukis won six of the next seven swimming events to seize control of the meet. Till Pallmann started the run with a win in the 200-yard freestyle, winning with a time of 1:41.65. Juan Arbelaez kept the momentum going with a dominant performance in the 50-yard freestyle (20.66). Csaba Gercsak won the 400-yard individual medley (4:09.42) before the Salukis dropped their second event of the night.

    Arbelaez came back to win his second event of the day, this time the 100-yard freestyle (45.54). Rabota followed up with a win in the 100-yard backstroke (51.76). Pallmann won his second event of the meet in the 500 freestyle (4:34.78). Olaf Meller finished in third, missing second place by just four-hundredths of a second.

    Kegan Skelton swept both the one- (336.30) and three-meter (342.90) dives, as well, winning both events by more than 40 points, and the Salukis had built a 15-point lead through 11 events. After dropping the final two events of the meet, Southern held on to grab the 121-120 win over the Falcons.

    The Salukis turn around for another meet tomorrow, Nov. 3, in the Shea Natatorium. Missouri State joins Air Force and Southern for the meet. The Southern women will take on the Missouri State women in a dual meet. The men will face both Missouri State and Air Force. The meet is set to begin at 11 a.m. and admission is free.