The Eastern Michigan University men’s swimming and diving team will look to defend its title and capture its 31st in the Mid-American Conference as it competes in the MAC championships at the Edward J. Shea Natatorium in Carbondale, Ill., from March 7-9.
EMU coach Peter Linn said in order to win the MAC title, his team will need to work hard and put together an effort as a unit.
Senior co-captain Jacob Hanson said, “We need to do what we have being doing all year. Trust our training, get our hand on the wall first and swim six good sessions.”
This will be the Eagles’ first visit to Shea Natatorium.
Along with EMU, the seven-team field includes the host school, the Southern Illinois University Salukis, the Missouri State University Bears, the University at Buffalo Bulls, the Miami University RedHawks, the Ball State University Cardinals and the University of Evansville Purple Aces.
The Eagles captured their 30th MAC title at the 2012 MAC Championships in Oxford, Ohio, with 693.5 points over three days.
The win was Linn’s 22nd conference title and the team’s 11th championship in 13 years.
Then-senior Troy Esentan, juniors Jacob Hanson, Jeffrey Craig, Andrew Saunders and freshman Franco Petrone were named to the All-MAC first team, while then-junior Michael Swain and freshmen Brian Moore and Mike Fisher received second team honors.
Hanson was named Most Outstanding Swimmer and will be looking to win the award for the third year in a row this weekend.
Craig was honored as the Most Outstanding Diver, which was the Eagles’ first winner since Ross Dekker in the 1995 championships.
EMU diving coach Loren “Buck” Smith was named the MAC Diving Coach of the Year for the fourth straight season.
Linn believes the closest threats to the Eagles are two teams.
“I believe the biggest competitors are Buffalo [who won the MAC in 2011] and Missouri State,” Linn said.
Junior co-captain August Everson realizes the importance of getting off to the best start possible.
“We need to start the meet off strong, and acknowledge that it’s going to be a dog fight for the top spot,” he said. “It’s going to be an extremely close meet, so we need to keep our heads in the game every race, every session.”
Everson said his team will focus on the meet at hand and not worry about the meets before.
“Once the championship meet rolls around, we try not to dwell on the dual meet season,” he said. “It’s nice to perform well in dual meets, but the scoring is different at this meet and there are so many different factors that we just want to focus on the task at hand.”
The EMU swimmers to watch out for are Hanson and Swain, who are expected to lead the way this weekend.
Craig and Saunders are the EMU divers to watch.
Craig captured first in the one-meter finals in last year’s tournament by scoring a 365.20, while he and Saunders finished second and third in the three-meter event with scores of 362.80 and 341.80, respectively.
There will be two sessions for each day of competition: the preliminaries at noon (ET) and the finals at 8 p.m.
The awards ceremony will take place following the conclusion of the evening events Saturday.
Where Can You Watch It?
You can watch all of the action live on www.mac-sports.com.
Where You Can Find The Results:
Results will be posted on our website shortly after the conclusion of the championships.
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