Swimming and Diving Champions Send Statement
Published: Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
While most of the Buffalo sports teams are struggling to achieve success and attain national recognition, the swimming teams are striving to maintain it.
The 2010-11 season was a banner season in which the men won their first-ever Mid-American Conference title, setting 14 school records in the process. The women's team enjoyed a memorable season as well, finishing fifth at the MAC Championships and setting eight school records.
However, the Bulls (1-0) are not content to rest on their laurels. They proved that Friday night against Pittsburgh.
Buffalo hosted the Panthers in its first dual-meet of the season, and the contest came down to the wire. But the Bulls won the final event to beat Pittsburgh 123-120 in men's competition, and 127-116 in the women's races.
In the men's meet, the score and the story line were identical to last year. The meet came down to the final event once again. The Bulls' A relay team of juniors Jared Heine, Ryan Smrekar, Matt Hogan, and sophomore Mike Dugan touched the wall in a time of 3:02.91 to beat out the Pittsburgh A relay team.
On the women's side, the meet was significantly closer than last year's blowout loss. The Bulls led much of the meet, but fell behind late. The winner was determined in dramatic fashion in the final event. The Bulls' A relay team of freshman Taylor Steffl, juniors Mallory Morrell and Dani Adank, and sophomore Brittney Kuras finished first, pulling the Bulls ahead for the women's first-ever victory over a Big East opponent.
Head coach Andy Bashor called the meet against Pittsburgh "one of the best school meets since I've been here." He also said that the meet was especially important for the men's team to prove that "last year wasn't a fluke."
The athletes themselves appear particularly committed to proving their coach's words.
"[For] the one's who have committed themselves to the summer [training], conditioning in the weight room and the pool, it's paying off early," Bashor said.
Juniors Matt Schwippert, Hogan and Heine, all returning point scorers from last year's MAC championship team, led the way for the men.
Bashor praised the team for its work ethic, predicting that if the squad continues to train and compete at its current level, the Bulls will be right back where they want to be at the end of the season.
In the meantime, the Bulls get to enjoy one of their best overall dual-meets in recent memory, as they prepare for the remainder of the season.
"It sends a statement," Bashor said.