In a come-from-behind fashion this past weekend, the Eastern Michigan University men’s swimming and diving team won its 31st Mid-American Conference title at the Edward J. Shea
Natatorium in Carbondale, Ill., with a score of 772 over a three-day span.
The Eagles finished six points ahead of the second-place Missouri State University Bears, who finished at 766.
“In great competitive situations, you don’t always get what you want,” EMU swimming coach Peter Linn said. ”But that third day was the product of both past training combined with current focus on their abilities and a determination to succeed.”
Senior diver Andrew Saunders did not have any doubts about the Eagles making a comeback.
“It came down to the last race, but I didn’t once doubt we wouldn’t come out on top,” he said.
Going into the third and final day of competition, the Eagles were in third place with 478, while Missouri State led with 503 with the University at Buffalo Bulls right behind with 490.5.
EMU seniors Jacob Hanson (co-captain), Jeffrey Craig, Michael Swain, sophomores Mike Fisher and Brian Moore and freshmen Krzysztof Gilski and Andrew Henry were named to the All-MAC first team.
Saunders and freshman Erik Gissen were honored as part of the second-team.
EMU diving coach Loren “Buck” Smith was named Diving Coach of the Year for the fifth season in a row.
On day one of the championships, the quartet of juniors Dexter Foos, co-captain August Everson, Gissen and sophomore Oded Ivry placed third in the 200-yard freestyle in 1 minute, 20.91 seconds.
Moore touched the wall third in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:24.99.
In the 200 individual medley, Hanson touched the wall first in 1:45.21.
Foos finished second in the 50 freestyle with a time of 20.58.
Craig and Saunders won first and second in the one-meter dive with scores of 389.90 and 345.95, respectively.
On day two, Swain touched the wall first with a 3:51.26 in the 400 IM.
In the 200 freestyle, Moore took home first with 1:36.45.
Fishet set the first of his two pool and championship records in the 100 breaststroke in 54.70, while in the night’s finale, Hanson set a pool and championship record in the 100 backstroke in 46.66.
On day three, Fisher set his second record of the championships in the 200 breaststroke in 1:57.54.
Hanson touched the wall first in the 200 backstroke in 1:42.07.
Craig took home first in the three-meter dive with a score of 406.10, while Saunders finished third with 378.95.
Gilski captured first in the 200 butterfly in 1:47.60.
In the final event of the championships, Foos, Hanson, Henry and Moore captured second in the 400 freestyle in 2:57.99.
The second-place finish was enough for EMU to hold off Missouri State and clinch the title.
“We knew it was going to be a grind and today was our best day of the meet,” Hanson said. “We knew that so we came out today ready to swim fast and win.”
EMU has won 12 of the last 14 MAC championships.
This is Linn’s 23rd championship as EMU’s swimming coach.
While the men are done competing as a team, some individuals may qualify for the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis, Ind., from March 21-23.
The participants will be announced at a later date.
Members of the diving team will attempt to qualify for the NCAA’s at the Zone C Diving Championships from March 15-17.
The event will be held at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center in West Lafayette, Ind.