OXFORD, OH – The defending champion University at Buffalo opened the 2012 Mid-American Conference Men's Swimming and Diving Championships at Miami University's Cowin M. Nixon Aquatics Center in third place as the Bulls posted three school records on Thursday night.
UB defended its title in the 400-yard medley relay, breaking the school, MAC and pool records in 3:13.77. The foursome of Phil Aronica, Josh Meints, Matt Schwippert and Matt Hogan bettered last year's record by more than a second. It was the second straight medley relay title for the Bulls. The Bulls also earned an NCAA B cut with the time.
The Bulls opened Thursday night's finals with a second-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay UB was touched out by Southern Illinois by six-hundredths of a second. The UB foursome of Meints, Mike Dugan, Matt Hogan and Jared Heine finished in 1:19.67, lowering the UB school record, set at last season's MAC Championships by nearly two seconds. The Salukis broke UB's MAC record in winning the race in 1:19.61.
Hogan broke his own school record in the 200-yard individual medley as he finished second behind three-time champion Jacob Hanson of Eastern Michigan. Hogan turned in a 1:46.76 clocking earning an NCAA B cut and lowering his school record by one and three-quarters seconds. Meints finished eighth in the race in 1:49.80, after posting a season-best mark of 1:48.64 in the preliminaries. Chris Berloth scored a consolation point with his 16th-place finish in 1:54.57.
Dugan finished second in the men's 50-yard freestyle in a season-best 20.11 with Heine, the 2011 champion, placing third in 20.22 as both swimmers attained B cuts. Cory Zorsch won the consolation final, placing ninth overall, in a season-best 20.46 while Ryan Smrekar was third (11th overall) in a season-best 20.57.
Freshman Colin McAllister won the consolation final of the 500-yard freestyle, setting a season-best mark of 4:29.05 to finish ninth overall. McAllister lowered his season-best in the preliminary heats by almost 10 seconds as he qualified 10th in 4:31.75.
"It was an exciting night for us," said UB head coach Andy Bashor. "We are competing well but just missing out on some wins. The last relay was a great swim. You want to finish the session on a win to create momentum for tomorrow."
The Bulls stand third after the first six events with 171 points. Eastern Michigan leads the meet with 236 points while Southern Illinois is second at 216.
Competition continues through Saturday.
Team scores (through six events): Eastern Michigan 236, Southern Illinois 216, Buffalo 171, Miami (OH) 154, Missouri State 149, Ball State 72, Evansville 26.