Oct. 17, 2003
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Thirteen-time Mid-American Conference women's swimming and diving champion Miami and 23-time men's champion Eastern Michigan have been selected by the league's coaches to defend their 2002-03 titles in the upcoming season, the conference office announced Friday.
On the women's side, the RedHawks return 2002-03 All-MAC first-team selections Amy Miranda, Katie Unger and Trisha Lamb. The RedHawks will look to senior freestyle swimmer Miranda and sophomore diver Christin Eberst, their 2003 NCAA qualifiers, to return them to the MAC championship podium in 2004.
Voted to finish second by the coaches is Ohio, who took second at the 2002-03 MAC championship meet. With the graduation of Trisha Kessler, the 2002-03 MAC Senior of the Year, the Bobcats will rely heavily on All-MAC first-teamers Shannon Kelly and Heather Rennebohm.
Picked to finish third is Toledo. The Rockets have lost five MAC finalists from last year, including a pair of MAC champions in Sheona Lottering and Bobbi James; the two earned 80 of Toledo's 419 points at the 2002-03 conference championships. Hoping youth will be on its side, Toledo features a 2003-04 squad of only 12 upperclassmen, led by senior All-MAC first-team member Taryn Smyth.
Eastern Michigan weighs in at fourth, while Buffalo takes fifth and Akron is expected to finish sixth. Ball State, Bowling Green and Marshall also have women's swimming and diving teams that compete in the MAC, but the league office only announces the top six finishers in the preseason poll.
MAC men can again expect a tough challenger in defending champion Eastern Michigan, according to the league's coaches. Eastern Michigan has lost four All-MAC First Team selections from the 2002-03 season, but the Eagles return four first-team choices (John Bartlet, Kevin Doak, Doug Fleming and Andrew Siebenick) and two second-team individuals (Branislav Hronsky and Ondrej Pekarovic).
2002-03 MAC Men's Swimming Coach of the Year Bob Thomas' Ball State team is expected to finish second in the 2003-04 MAC standings. The Cardinals return a trio of All-MAC second-team swimmers in Ryan Bowman, Kurtis Leer and Jason Revere.
Coming in third is Miami, who is looking to fill the void of the loss of Kelly Ball, the 2002-03 MAC Senior Swimmer of the Year. However, second-team All-MAC selection Andrew Keefe returns to the pool for the RedHawks in 2003-04.
Wrapping up the men's poll are Buffalo and Ohio, who finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
MAC swimming and diving begins Friday, October 17, when Bowling Green hosts the Tom Stubbs Relays where the women's teams of Akron, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan, Miami and Toledo will compete. Eastern Michigan's men will also compete at the Tom Stubbs Relays. Ball State's women head to Normal, Ill., to take on Illinois State.