There’s a new champion in town.
For the first time in program history, UB’s swimming and diving team has captured a Mid-American Conference title, after the Bulls defeated seven-time reigning champion Akron by seven points in the MAC Swimming and Diving Championships at the Jones Natatorium in Ypsilanti, MI Saturday.
The Bulls (5-0, 3-0 MAC) capped off an undefeated season with their first-ever MAC crown, and their first conference title since they won the Mid-Continent Conference four straight times from 1995-98.
“These women have worked so hard for this [MAC Championship],” head coach Andy Bashor said in a press release. “They deserve this moment so much. I am so fortunate to work with such an amazing staff. They get a lot of the credit for our success. I am happy for Russ [Dekker, UB’s diving coach] and what he has done with the diving program. This is the first MAC Championship in our history. It means everything. They have worked so hard to create a winning culture and be great teammates. We will enjoy this.”
UB landed a program-record 10 players on an All-MAC team, with juniors Toni Naccarella and Katie Pollock and seniors Brittney Beetcher, Nicole Roitenberg, Jillian Lawton and Olivia Sapio all being named first-team All-MAC.
The Bulls also took home a number of other awards this season.
Beetcher was named MAC Outstanding Senior. Louise Bradley was named MAC Freshman Diver of the Year — the third straight year a UB diver won the award. Dekker won his second MAC Diving Coach of the Year honor. And Bashor won his second consecutive MAC Swimming Coach of the Year award.
“Big time @UBCoachBashor @UBSwimDiveTeam Absolutely buzzing for you and your squad!! #UBHornsUp #MACCHAMPS,” women’s soccer head coach Shawn Burke tweeted.
“A Big Time Congrats to @UBSwimDiveTeam for winning the 2021 @MACSports Championship,” UB Athletic Director Mark Alnutt tweeted. “I’m so proud of this team!! Way to cap an undefeated season!!! Champions are Built in Buffalo!!”
Naccarella, who represented UB at the 2021 NCAA Championships in March, won the 100 freestyle in 48.70 seconds. A team of Lawton, sophomore Elinor Duley, senior Jenna Krull and Naccarella won gold in the 400 freestyle relay, with a time of 3:17.76. Sophomore diver Victoria Franz won a silver medal in the 3-meter dive, which put UB on top of Akron for good.
The team set a pool and school record with a 1:37.82 time in the 200 medley relay Friday and a 1:29.67 time in the 200 freestyle relay Thursday.
Justin Weiss is the managing editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Justin Weiss is the The Spectrum's managing editor. In his free time, he can be found hiking, playing baseball or throwing things at his TV when his sports teams aren't winning. His words have appeared in Elite Sports New York and the Long Island Herald. He can be found on Twitter @Jwmlb1.