Two Bulls win MAC titles
It's every college athlete's dream to become a conference champion. But for some of the athletes on the women's swimming and diving team, the title of conference champion wasn't the only dream that came true at the 2010 MAC Championship meet in Oxford, Ohio.
Freshman freestyle swimmer Caroline Simmons and senior diver Meili Carpenter each won individual Mid-American Conference championships and, along with sophomore Alie Schirmers, broke many school records.
Arguably the most impressive swimmer of the conference championships, Simmons shattered three school records on consecutive days during the four-day meet.
On day two of the meet, Simmons finished second in the 50-meter freestyle with a time of 22.86 to break a decade-old school record. Simmons shattered the previous school record of 23.18 that was set in 2000. The freshman swimmer followed up on her success by breaking the school record in the 200-meter freestyle, swimming the race in an impressive 1:49.73.
On the last day of the event, Simmons remarkably broke another school record for the third-straight day. On Saturday, Simmons won the 100-meter freestyle in a record-breaking time of 49.69 to claim her first MAC title. Simmons etched her own place in Buffalo swimming history as her time broke one of the longest standing school records, a time of 50.89 that was set in 1998.
Simmons impressed head coach Andy Bashor with her performances.
'She had a great meet,' Bashor said. 'To be a freshman and perform in that kind of pressure is great. Breaking three individual records, and then she was on two relays, the 200 and 400-meter freestyle relays, that broke records.'
Senior diver Meili Carpenter also impressed at the conference championships. Competing in only two events during the meet, Carpenter managed to sweep the board and collect two MAC championships.
On day two, Carpenter dominated in the one-meter diving event, finishing with a score of 301.45. Carpenter wrapped up her perfect season by winning the conference championship in the three-meter event. She scored an impeccable 350.65 points, breaking her own school record for the fourth time this season. Carpenter was the only diver to break the 300-point mark and the second-place finisher collected only 284.30 points.
In another record-breaking effort, Schirmers finished the 400 IM in 4:18.98. Schimers shattered the Bulls' record that was set in 2004 by nearly an entire second. Schirmers also finished fourth in the 200 breaststroke and broke her second school record of the weekend with a time of 2:15.91.
'Schirmers had a tremendous meet,' Bashor said. 'She broke the school record in the 400 IM and the 200 breaststroke. Schirmers, Carpenter, and Simmons made the first team All-MAC, which I believe is the first time we have had three people on their in a while.'
Although some of Buffalo's individual efforts were hard to top, the Bulls impressed in some of the team events as well. Their 400 freestyle relay team of Simmons, senior Sam Palma, junior Jessie Koltz and junior Jordan Deren took second place in a time 3:24.62, breaking a previous school record that was set last season.
Record-breaking performances aside, Buffalo managed to finish in just fifth place as a team. Toledo earned 670.5 points to capture the MAC championship crown. Miami (OH) finished in second with 572 points, followed by Ohio in third with 527 points. Eastern Michigan placed fourth with 453.5 points, while Buffalo and Akron rounded out the top-five with 392 points each.
The men's swimming and diving team hits the pool next weekend in Eastern Michigan for its MAC Championship. Day one of the meet begins Thursday and the tournament runs through Saturday.