Men's Swimming and Diving Look to Defend its MAC Championship
The men’s swimming and diving team looks to defend its Mid-American Conference crown this weekend at the conference championships. Meg Kinsley /// The Spectrum
The only Buffalo team to win a Mid-American Conference championship last year looks to defend that title this weekend.
The men's swimming and diving team heads to Oxford, Ohio to take on the best the MAC has to offer and prove that it still is a championship caliber team.
The Bulls (6-1, 1-0 MAC) enter this year's championship meet with the same attitude and expectations as last year. The veteran team, that won all five relays last year, and a plethora of individual events, are deep in nearly every event.
The team returns the majority of its contributors from last year including senior Jared Heine, juniors Matt Schwippert, Matt Hogan, and Josh Meints, and sophomores Mike Dugan and Phil Aronica.
The number of returning swimmers bodes well for the team's chances this year. The Bulls are poised to challenge for a MAC championship in every individual event, and they have depth with other swimmers that have the capability to win every event.
Six swimmers that have swam top-16 times in the MAC for the 50-yard freestyle, three that have swam top-eight times of the 100-yard freestyle, and six who hold top-16 times in the 100-yard backstroke.
Senior diver Colin Patrician is having one of his best seasons and is looking to improve off his second place finish at last year's championships.
Head coach Andy Bashor is more concerned about the relay events. The relays are worth the most points, and the Bulls' victories in all five of them last year were a key to winning the title.
Each relay team returns nearly all of last years members and looks to repeat their results.
"This is what we are peaking for," Bashor said. "We have tapered down our training and given the swimmers a lot more rest. This is the meet that we have been shooting for to swim our fastest and perform our best on the boards."
The Bulls will be in contention with Eastern Michigan (4-3, 1-0 MAC), Missouri State (9-1), and Southern Illinois (6-2, 2-0 MAC) for the team crown. Eastern Michigan and Southern Illinois were the runners up last year and all three have swimmers sprinkled across the MAC leader boards.
The Bulls will look to become the first team in school history to win back-to-back MAC titles. The meet will run from Thursday to Saturday.
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