BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo men's and women's swimming and diving teams scored the needed first- and third-place finishes in the final event to ensure victory as the Bulls swept visiting Pittsburgh in the dual meet season opener for both teams. The UB men scored a 127-116 win over the Panthers for their second straight win over Pittsburgh while the UB women won 123-120, the first time that the UB women had knocked off a Big East program.
In the final women's event, the 400-yard freestyle relay and UB trailing 116-110, the Bulls got a first-place finish from the foursome of Taylor Steffl, Mallory Morrell, Dani Adank and Brittney Kuras in 3:29.31 with the Panthers finishing second in 3:32.31. The B entry of Taylor Snyder, Rachael Ragen, Katelyn Grimm and Becky Evangelista was able to touch out Pittsburgh's other entry to give the Bulls the necessary 13 points to Pitt's four to claim the team win.
Jared Heine, Ryan Smrekar, Mike Dugan and Matt Hogan combined to win the men's 400-yard freestyle relay in 3:02.91 as UB's B entry of Tommy Steele, Paul Garman, Chris Berloth and Eric Culver finished third in 3:13.09. The Bulls led 114-112 heading into the race and needed the first- and third-place finishes to secure the victory.
The Bulls also swept the opening relay, the 400-yard medley relay. In the women's race, Morrell, racing the closing freestyle leg, was able to chase down Pitt's Joanna Budzis and touch the wall first in 3:53.34 to Pitt's 3:53.86. Joining Morrell on the foursome were Claudia Doyle, Brynn Marecki and Marissa Murphy. The UB men won the 400-yard medley relay in 3:22.78 with Phil Aronica, Christian Muller, Matt Schwippert and Jared Heine comprising the foursome.
Kuras and Dugan were double individual winners on Friday as both swimmers claimed the 100- and 200-yard freestyle races. Kuras, in her first year with the Bulls after swimming as a freshman at Rutgers, won the 100-yard race in 51.04 and the 200-yard race in 1:51.90. Dugan won the men's 100-yard event in 45.72 and the 200-yard event in 1:41.81.
Also winning for the women were Morrell, Alie Schirmers and Ava Giachino. Morrell won the women's 50-yard freestyle in 23.60 while Schirmers claimed the 200-yard individual medley in 2:07.43. Giachino won the women's three-meter diving with a six-dive score of 235.88 to give the Bulls the needed lift after Pittsburgh had claimed the one-meter event.
Heine, Hogan and Schwippert took swim victories for the UB men while Colin Patrican claimed a diving win. Heine won the men's 50-yard freestyle in 21.05. Hogan won the 200-yard individual medley in 1:54.42 and Schwippert won the 200-yard backstroke in 1:50.85. Patrican won the men's three-meter diving board with a six-dive total of 283.88 points.
"Today was a great meet for us," said men's and women's head coach Andy Bashor. "On the women's side, it was probably one of the best dual meets since I've been here. For the men to repeat [after defeating the Panthers last season in Pittsburgh] is something really good and shows last year wasn't a fluke. Today's wins build confidence."
The UB men travel to Cornell on October 28 for their next action. The UB women open Mid-American Conference action when they host Toledo on October 29 at 1:00 pm at Alumni Arena Natatorium.