March 1, 2006
ATHENS, Ohio -- Ohio University will be the host of the 54th Annual Mid-American Conference Men's Swimming and Diving Championships. Competition begins Thursday (March 2), and runs through Saturday (March 5) night.
Preliminary heats for each event will begin each day at 12 p.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 3 p.m.
All five schools in the MAC that sponsor Men's Swimming and Diving (Ball State, Buffalo, Eastern Michigan, Miami, Ohio) will compete in the meet. Eastern Michigan, who has captured 25 out of the last 29 team titles, finished the 2005-06 campaign with another flawless record, going 4-0 overall. EMU's women's team captured the program's first-ever team title last weekend at Akron's Ocasek Natatorium.
EMU swimmers own the top time in the MAC this season in 12 individual events, including all five major relays. Junior Dan Wohl, the 2005 Most Outstanding Swimmer, has once again been the catalyst for the Eagles. He paces the MAC with the top time in each the 200-yard Butterfly (1:50.87), 200 Individual Medley (1:53.69) and 400 IM (4:00.03). Senior Jason Piercey is one of the league's best freestyle specialists, as he claims the best clocking in both the 200-yard Freestyle (1:41.22) and one-mile (15:19.03) events.
Miami dropped just one decision in MAC meets, losing to EMU (138-105) on Jan. 27, 2006. The RedHawks, who have captured six MAC championships, are led by junior distance freestyler Paul Ricard. He claimed the regular season best time in both the 500 Freestyle (4:30.93) and the 1,000 Free (9:20.44). Freshman diver Chris Heaton will be the favorite heading into both the one and three-meter boards. Heaton owns the top score this season in both events.
Host Ohio finished the regular season with a 1-2-1 mark, dropping decisions to both EMU and Miami, and tying Ball State in the regular season finale. The Bobcats have tallied eight team titles, 133 individual crowns and 16 relay titles in 54 years of competing in the MAC Championships. The Bobcats are led by the sprinting of Donald Jupp, a second-team All-MAC selection a year ago. Jupp currently owns the MAC's second-best time in the 50 free and the fifth-fastest mark in the 100 free. Jason Reutter has put together a strong freshman campaign with the conference's second-best time in the 200 breast and fifth-best mark in the 100 breast.
Ball State tied the Bobcats for third in the MAC standings with a 1-2-1 mark. Last year, the Cardinals posted a third-place showing at the Championships. Senior Kurtis Leer enters the championships as the defending champion in the 50, 100 and 200 Freestyle events.
Buffalo went winless in MAC action, but defeated both Canisius and Niagara in non-conference competition. Freshman diver Cassidy Lynch, along with Heaton, has paced the MAC in both diving events this season. At last weekend's ECAC Championships, Lynch gave the Bulls their biggest results at the ECAC meet as he captured both diving events and earned the ECAC's Diver of the Year award.