Bulls In Control After Night One of 2011 Men's Swimming and Diving Championships

Updated 3/4/2011
CARBONDALE, Ill. - The 2011 MAC Men's Swimming and Diving Championships got underway Thursday night inside the Dr. Edward J. Shea Natatorium on the campus of Southern Illinois University and after one night of competition, the Buffalo Bulls have jumped out to a lead of 70 points on the rest of the pack.

The first final of the night was the 200 Freestyle Relay and in a down-to-the-wire finish, Buffalo pulled out to an early advantage, finishing in a time of 1:21.23 to edge out Eastern Michigan at the wall by .15. The host Salukis finished a close third at 1:21.47. Miami was also right in the mix with a time of 1:21.60 as only .37 separated first place from fourth.

The first individual event of the night was the 500 Freestyle where Miami's Alex Reinhardt had the RedHawks climbing back into it with a first-place time of 4:28.43, earning a NCAA "B" cut in the process. Still, the event belonged to Southern Illinois whose trio of Matt Kruse, Matt Parsons and Mazen Aziz finished second, third and fourth, respectively, staking the Salukis to a 10-point cushion over the RedHawks through two events.

The first broken record of this year's championship belonged to Eastern Michigan's Jacob Hanson in the 200 IM. After winning the event a year ago the Eagles sophomore outdid himself tonight, smashing the previous MAC Championship record set in 1999 by former Miamian Kevin Northrup of 1:48.62 by finishing in a time of 1:47.86 to set the new mark as well as a pool record. Buffalo's Matt Hogan grabbed silver with a 1:48.50 while Hanson's teammate Troy Esentan touched the wall in third place in 1:50.09.

The last individual swim of the night was the 50 Freestyle sprint and after taking the lead through three events, Buffalo widened the gap by placing four Bulls in the top eight, including junior Jared Heine who won the race 20.26, earning the MAC's only "B" time in the event. Fellow junior Simon Proudfoot was in third for the Bulls while freshman Phil Aronica earned a fifth place finish.

Diving took center stage in the night's fifth event, as the 1-meter finalists took to the boards. While a Miami record came off the books for the second time on the night, another RedHawk now stands in the places that were occupied by Chris Heaton since 2009. With a score of 367.45, Jimmy Beres now holds the all-time MAC 1-meter mark as well as the MAC Championship record, obliterating Heaton's score of 345.35 in the 2009 MAC Championship, as well as narrowly edging out the former all-time MAC record that Heaton set in 2007 of 366.73. Buffalo's Colin Patrican finished a distant second with a score of 332.45.

In the night's final race, Buffalo smashed the MAC record set in the event a year ago by Missouri State by a full two seconds, reaching the finish in 3:14.98 to win the 400 IM Relay. Eastern Michigan swam a strong second with a time of 3:15.70 as both schools reached "B" cuts in the event.

Day Two of the 2011 MAC Men's Swimming and Diving Championships will kick off at noon (CT) tomorrow with prelims in the 400 IM, 100 Butterfly, 200 Freestyle, 100 Breaststroke and 100 Backstroke. The night session will get started at 7 (CT) and features championships for those races as well as the 3-meter Diving final and relay races in the 200 IM and 800 Freestyle. Updated results will be posted at the conclusion of each event.

Team Standings
  1. Buffalo 256
  2. Southern Illinois 186
  3. Eastern Michigan 180
  4. Miami 162
  5. Missouri State 134
  6. Ball State 74
  7. Evansville 56