CARBONDALE, Ill. -
With one night of finals remaining in the 2011 MAC Men's Swimming and Diving Championships, Buffalo has reached an almost insurmountable lead over the competition with a 539-425 edge over second place Southern Illinois.
The night began and ended in familiar fashion for the Bulls, who claimed both the 200 Medley Relay and the 800 Freestyle and now have won all four relay races run in this year's championships. In the 200 Medley, the team of Phil Aronica, Matt Hogan, Matt Schwippert and Jared Heine swam into the record books, breaking the ten-year hold Eastern Michigan had on the MAC Championship record dating back to 2001, finishing with a time of 1:27.87. Eastern Michigan also broke the record but finished second in 1:28.65. Both teams earned NCAA "B" cuts in the process.
Following a brief intermission, many of those same swimmers jumped back in the pool for the 400 IM. Showing no ill effects from his earlier race, Eastern Michigan's Troy Esantan earned a "B" time, pulling away in 3:52.47 while Missouri State's Daan Jansen led the rest of the field with a 3:56.61.
In the 100 Butterfly, Southern Illinois' Justin Wolfe eked out a victory over Eastern Michigan's Justin Griggs, garnering NCAA consideration with a time of 48.24. Buffalo continued to pull away from the pack in the race as the trio of Cory Zorsch, Matt Schwippert and Mike Dugan finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
The 200 Freestyle was almost all Buffalo and Southern Illinois as the Bulls and Salukis combined for seven of the eight finalists in the event. Buffalo sophomore Matt Hogan won in a time of 1:37.05 to break a 23-year old pool record by a mere .17 of a second. The record had previously belonged to the Salukis' Scott Roberts, set back in 1988.
In a thrilling 100 Breaststroke, junior Jake Heyblom of Eastern Michigan beat Buffalo's Christian Muller to the wall by .08 to notch the Eagles second event win of the night. He was followed in short order by teammate Jacob Hanson who broke a pool record in the 100 Backstroke with a 48.29 to earn an NCAA "B" time, as did second place finisher Matt Schwippert of Buffalo.
In the final event of the night the Bulls again showed the strength of their relay squads, winning the 800 Freestyle in 6:37.12 to earn a MAC Championship record as well as yet another "B" time.
Tomorrow will bring the 2011 MAC Men's Swimming and Diving Championships to a close. The action begins at 12 (CT) with preliminary events in the 200 Backstroke, 100 Freestyle, 200 Breaststroke and 200 Butterfly. After an intermission, the opening heats of the 1650 Freestyle will begin at 5 pm with the championship heat set to start at 7 pm. Consolation and championship heats in the aforementioned races will follow as will the 3-Meter Diving competition and the 400 Freestyle Relay. Day Two Standings
1. Buffalo 539
2. Southern Illinois 425
3. Eastern Michigan 399
4. Miami 314
5. Missouri State 265
6. Ball State 173
7. Evansville 109