Furious Charge Falls Short as Bulls Finish Second at MAC Men's Swimming Championships
OXFORD, OH – A furious comeback on the final night of action by the University at Buffalo fell just short as the Bulls finished second to Eastern Michigan as the Mid-American Conference Men's Swimming and Diving Championships concluded Saturday night at Miami University's Corwin M. Nixon Aquatics Center. The Bulls scored a total of 674.5 points to Eastern Michigan's 693.5.
The Bulls won three relay events on Saturday, taking four of the five total relay races for the weekend. UB also won the 100-yard freestyle final on Saturday night.
The Bulls obliterated the school, pool and MAC marks in the 800-yard freestyle relay, rescheduled from Friday night, as the foursome of Matt Hogan, Matt Schwippert, Mike Dugan and Jared Heine finished in 6:30.94, earning an NCAA B cut and slicing more than six seconds off the previous mark set at last season's MAC meet. Hogan also broke his own mark for the 200-yard freestyle as he swam the leadoff leg of the relay in 1:35.60, lowering the old mark by a second and a half.
UB then won the 200-yard medley relay, also rescheduled from Friday, setting a pool record of 1:28.34. The foursome of Schwippert, Josh Meints, Cory Zorsch and Heine earned an NCAA B cut with the clocking.
The Bulls also won the meet's final event, the 400-yard freestyle relay in a UB, MAC and pool record time of 2:56.21 as Heine, Zorsch, Dugan and Hogan completed the foursome.
UB gained first-, third- and fourth-place finishes in the 100-yard freestyle. Hogan won the event in a UB, MAC and pool record time of 43.45 with Dugan taking second in 43.84 and Heine finishing fourth in 44.39. Dugan had set the UB record at 44.12 in Saturday's preliminary heat when he tied for the fastest time in the event with Missouri State's Vitalii Baryshok. Ryan Smrekar finished 12th in a season-best 45.22.
Schwippert broke his own record in the 200-yard backstroke as he finished second in 1:43.93, lowering the mark by .34 seconds. Freshman Travis Bohn made an impressive showing with a fifth-place finish in 1:47.89 after turning in a season-best 1:47.84 in the prelims. Phil Aronica was sixth in 1:48.99.
Meints twice lowered his school record in the 200-yard breaststroke as he finished third in the championship final in 2:00.00. He had turned in a 2:00.36 in the preliminary round to lower the mark by more than two seconds. Freshman John Nord set a season-best mark with his fifth-place finish in 2:01.21.
The Bulls also scored a pair of championship finishers in the 1,650-yard freestyle as freshman Colin McAllister broke the UB record in 15:31.55, more than eight seconds ahead of Connor Vander Zalm's 2009 record, to place fourth overall and take more than 40 seconds off his previous best. Eric Culver was seventh in 15:52.88, lowering his season-best by more than 30 seconds. Culver also finished eighth in the 200-yard butterfly in 1:52.75 after setting a season-best 1:49.61 in the prelims.
"I'm still proud of these guys. They competed all the way through and they kept battling," said UB head coach Andy Bashor. "We still had a great meet,. it just wasn't our weekend. To get so close, it shows what these guys have done to put us in position to win championships but this time we came up short."
The Bulls placed four swimmers, Meints, Hogan, Dugan and Schwippert on the All-MAC First Team. Heine and Zorsch earned second-team honors.
Final team scores: Eastern Michigan 693.5, Buffalo 674.5, Southern Illinois 596, Missouri State 558, Miami (OH) 472, Ball State 229, Evansville 98.