The Eastern Michigan University women’s swimming and diving team finished fourth with a total score of 450 points at the Mid-American Conference Championships in Buffalo, N.Y.
The championships, held Feb. 28-March 2, saw strong performances from seniors Briana Emig, Kelly Hendricks, redshirt junior Danielle Hulvey, junior Jacquelyn Swartz and sophomore Jessie Godlewski.
Emig was honored with the Outstanding Senior Award for her performance in the three-day event.
“I was surprised [to have won] because of the other nominees,” Emig said. “I am honored that I received the award.”
Hulvey was awarded Most Outstanding Diver of the Year and both she and Emig were named All-MAC First Team, along with Godlewski.
Hendricks and Swartz both earned All-MAC Second Team honors. Diving coach Buck Smith was named Diving Coach of the Year.
The Eagles’ fourth-place finish is a spot higher than last season’s MAC Championships, when the team finished fifth with 392.
EMU swimming coach Peter Linn sees the fourth-place finish not as a disappointment, but as an opportunity to improve for next year.
“I don’t evaluate the season that way,” Linn said. “There is great parity in the MAC, and there were five teams that had a legitimate shot at finishing second. We will continue to strive to be better, but we moved up this year and have the third highest returning points for next year as a foundation to build on.”
The top three scores were the champions: the Miami University RedHawks with 621, the Ohio University Bobcats in second with 605 and the Bowling Green State University Falcons in third with 467.
On day one, Emig captured first in the 500-yard freestyle final in 4 minutes, 46.17 seconds, while freshman Audra Burtch finished eighth in 4:57.30.
In the 200 individual medley final, Swartz touched the wall eighth, in 2:05.16.
Hulvey and Hendricks finished first and second in the one-meter dive with scores of 3:16.10 and 3:14.85, respectively.
EMU was in third after the first day of competition, with 155 points.
On day two, Emig had the Eagles’ best result of the day by placing third in the 400 IM finals in 4:21.25.
Emig, along with Godlewski and senior co-captains Helena Tolic and Wesley Blassneck, finished eighth in the 800 freestyle relay final with a time of 7:25.33.
After the second day of competition, EMU fell into a fifth-place tie with the University of Toledo Rockets at 256 points.
On the third and final day, Godlewski set a MAC Championship record for the fastest time in the 200 butterfly final with a time of 1:57.70.
Emig placed second in the 1,650 freestyle final with a time of 16:23.32. Burtch touched the wall in fourth with 16:40.63, and
senior Vanessa Weidner took fifth in the 200 breaststroke final in 2:17.09.
Burtch was honest about how she felt her team finished.
“If we had been as fired up and confident in ourselves the first half of the meet as the second half, it is without a doubt we could’ve been MAC champions,” she said. “Next year we just need to come in with the swagger we had the second half of the meet.”
EMU’s 450 points is 58 more than last season’s MAC Championships.
The 2012 champions, the Toledo Rockets, finished sixth with 394.
While the women are done competing as a team, some individuals may qualify for the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis 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 site is TBA.
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