Feb. 21, 2006
Akron, OH - The Oliver J. Ocasek Natatorium, on the campus of the University of Akron, will be the host site of the 26th Annual Mid-American Conference Women's Swimming and Diving Championships. Competition begins this Thursday (Feb. 23), and runs through Saturday night (Feb. 25).
Preliminary heats for each event will begin each day at 11 a.m. Championship rounds of the events are slated to begin at 7 p.m. Diving events are scheduled for both Thursday and Friday, with preliminary rounds scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m.
All eight schools in the MAC that sponsor Women's Swimming and Diving will compete in the meet. Miami, who has captured the last four MAC Championships, wrapped up another regular season title this season with a flawless 7-0-0 record, including a once-blemished overall slate of 9-1-0.
RedHawk swimmers own the top time in the MAC this season in six individual events, including both diving competitions. Freshman Jenn Flaherty is one of the catalysts for Miami, claiming the league's top time in both the 1,000 (10:15.98) and 1,650-yard freestyles (17:05.07).
Eastern Michigan dropped just one decision in MAC meets, losing to Miami (176-103) on Nov. 12, 2005. The Eagles, under the first-year tutelage of head coach Peter Linn (also EMU's men's coach), finished third overall at last year's MAC Championships. EMU was just 15 points out of second-place, its best ever finish at the postseason event. Eastern Michigan boasts top times in six overall events, including the 400 and 800 Freestyle Relays and the 200 Medley Relay. Sophomore Madeleine Pilchard owns the MAC's best time in each the 100-yard freestyle (51.49 seconds) 200 freestyle (1:50.99) and the 500 free (4:55.67).
Ohio finished third in the 2005-06 regular season with a record of 4-2-1. The Bobcats finished second at last year's MAC Championships for the fourth consecutive season. Ohio paces the MAC in four individual events this season, and has been led by sophomore Emily Wylam, who leads the MAC in both the 100 (57.47 seconds) and 200-yard backstrokes (2:03.83) and was a three-time MAC Swimmer Of The Week.
Ball State finished the regular season with a 4-3-0 MAC slate. The Cardinals have finished fourth at the MAC Championships in each of the last two seasons, and their 435 point total in 2005 was Ball State's best finish since the 1998 campaign. Freshmen freestyler Meghan Patterson has been one of the Cardinals' leaders this season. She owns the MAC's second-best time in the 1,650-yard freestyle (17:15.88), and was named MAC Swimmer Of The Week on Dec. 14, 2005, for her performance against Michigan State. Sophomore Addison Del Rio (Freestyle, Individual Medley) has also been steady for the Cardinals this season.
Toledo compiled a mark of 3-3-1 in MAC action, finishing the regular season with a win over Akron. The Rockets will be looking to improve upon its sixth-place finish at last season championships. Toledo returns two MAC Champions in junior Brie Henning and sophomore Liz Hinkleman, who were each part of the 200 freestyle relay team that took home first-place honors last season. Sophomore sprinter Leah Woodard was a two-time Swimmer Of The Week this season.
Host Akron finished the 2005-06 campaign with a 1-5-1 mark in MAC action, which tied for sixth overall in the regular season standings. Along with Pilchard, junior Danielle Béland is the only other competitor in the MAC this season to own the league's top time in three individual events. Béland finished the 2005-06 regular season as the top performer in the 100 butterfly (56.14), 200 butterfly (2:01.35) and 200 IM (2:04.69). Akron's Melissa Young leads all MAC swimmers in the 100 breaststroke (1:04.96).
Tied with the Zips was Bowling Green. The Falcons defeated winless Buffalo (181-119) on Jan. 28, and forced a tie 150-150 tie with Akron on Jan. 21. The Falcons finished fifth at last year's MAC Championships, and were a third-place finisher in 2004. BGSU has put up more than 400 team points in the last two league meets.
Buffalo finished seventh in the regular season with a 0-7-0 record. However, the Bulls scored 135 team points in the season finale against Cornell on Feb. 11, its highest point output since late October. The Bulls tallied an eighth-place finish (there were nine teams in last year's field) at last year's MAC Championships with a total of 277 team points.