Swimming teams have high expectations

Expectations are high for both swimming and diving teams of Eastern Michigan University. The men’s team looks to bring home its 32nd Mid-American Conference title while the women’s squad hopes to add on to the undefeated season back in 2012-13, only with the goal of trying to do better than a fourth place finish in the championship meet.

On the men’s side, the Eagles saw decorated swimmer Jacob Hanson graduate. Hanson left EMU on a high note after taking fourth in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Championships in the 200-yard backstroke.

Hanson had many accolades last year including Mid-American Conference swimmer of the year after claiming MAC titles in the 100 and 200-yard backstrokes and 200-yard individual medley.

Diver Andrew Saunders also graduated with Academic All-MAC and All-MAC honors.

Of note, the women’s swimming and diving team saw Briana Emig and Kelly Hendricks graduate. Emig was named Academic All-MAC and won the 500-yard freestyle in the conference championships. She qualified and competed in the 500 and 1650-yard freestyle events at the NCAA championships.

Hendricks also ended her stellar EMU career on a good note by competing in the NCAA diving championship and claimed a third place in the three-meter dive and First Team All-American. Despite going 7-0 in the regular season, the women’s squad finished fourth in the MAC championships.

Head coach Peter Linn said his men’s team voted seniors Gus Everson and Dexter Foos and junior Grant Schwarz team captains. On the women’s side, the squad nominated senior Jackie Swartz and junior Alex Hofmann as captains. Both teams saw some of last year’s top swimmers graduate, but Linn hopes this year’s upperclassmen will take on the leadership role.

“[The upperclassmen] have the tools to provide leadership,” Linn said. “They have been on successful teams, and are there to encourage the younger swimmers to be that good.”

Foos had a strong showing in the MAC championships with a second place finish in the 50-yard freestyle. He was also part of an EMU relay team that claimed third in the 200-yard medley relay.

Women’s team captain Swartz earned All-MAC second team honors and got the second best times in the conference in the 100, 200 butterfly and 200-yard individual medley events.

Linn said both teams are very young, but believes the incoming freshmen are able to make an impact on the team’s success.

“Their performances look like they can do well, but they must transform themselves,” Linn said. “Over the next four years, they can contribute.”

Both teams will have an inter-squad meet at the Jones Natatorium Saturday, Oct. 5.

For the men’s team, the 2013-14 swimming season opens in Evanston, Ill., with a meet at Northwestern University Oct. 18. The home opening meet will take place Nov. 9, versus Oakland University.

The team will take a break of less than a month before playing host to the EMU Invitational Dec. 6-7. Three MAC meets are on the schedule with two at home versus the University at Buffalo and Ball State University with the road contest at Miami University.

The regular season concludes in Columbus, Ohio with the Ohio State Invitational Feb. 8-9. The MAC Championships take place in Buffalo, N.Y., Mar. 7-9.

The 2013-14 campaign for the women’s squad also begins in Evanston, Ill. at Northwestern University with meets against Northwestern and the University of Illinois. The first home meet is Oct. 26 versus Bowling Green State University.

There are five more MAC matchups versus the University of Akron, on the road at the University of Toledo, versus Buffalo, Ball State and at Miami, the defending MAC champions.

The MAC Championships will be held in Buffalo, N.Y., Feb. 27-March 1.

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