CARBONDALE, IL – The University at Buffalo kicked off the 2011 Mid-American Conference Men's Swimming and Diving Championships with three victories and four new school records to take the first night lead at Southern Illinois University's Edward J. Shea Natatorium.
The Bulls swept both relay events on Thursday night, breaking school records set at last season's MAC meet. In the opening event, the 200-yard freestyle relay, the UB foursome of Josh Meints, Jared Heine, Simon Proudfoot and Cory Zorsch finished in 1:21.23, seven-tenths of a second better than the 2010 mark. The Bulls also set a MAC and MAC Championship meet record in winning the 400-yard medley relay in 3:14.98, breaking Missouri State's meet record from last year and their own school record by over two seconds. UB's medley relay lineup included Phil Aronica, Meints, Matt Schwippert and Matt Hogan. Aronica also broke the 100-yard backstroke record during the relay with his 48.03 clocking, eclipsing Schwippert's 48.12 from 2010.
Individually, Heine won the 50-yard freestyle championship in a season-best 20.26. Proudfoot set the pace in Thursday's heats with a 20.39 clocking as the fastest swimmer of the day. He finished third in the final in 20.62. Aronica took fifth in a season-best 20.69 and Ryan Smrekar finished eighth in 21.15. Mike Dugan finished fourth in the consolation final (12th overall) in 20.90.
Andrew Tanzey broke UB's second oldest swim record as he set the fastest preliminary time in the 500-yard freestyle on Thursday. Tanzey turned in a 4:28.82 clocking, bettering Jason McLachlan's 2001 mark by more than 2.5 seconds. Tanzey finished fifth in the championship final in 4:30.96. Eric Culver set a season-best with his fifth-place consolation final finish (13th overall) in 4:37.09.
Hogan also established a new school mark in the 200-yard individual medley. Hogan lowered Zach Ruske's 2009 mark by 2.5 seconds when he finished second in the championship final to lead four Bulls in the event. Meints placed fifth in 1:51.99 with Chris Waldock finishing seventh in 1:52.47 and Chris Berloth taking eighth in 1:55.10.
On the one-meter diving board, Colin Patrican turned in a second-place finish with a six-dive total of 332.45 points in the championship round. Kenny Rhoades finished fourth at 302.45 after setting a season-best with his 322.25 total in the preliminaries.
The Bulls lead the meet with 256 points through six events. Southern Illinois and Eastern Michigan follow with 186 and 180 points, respectively.
Competition continues through Saturday.
Team scores: Buffalo 256, Southern Illinois 186, Eastern Michigan 180, Miami (Ohio) 162, Missouri State 134, Ball State 74, Evansville 56.