The Eastern Michigan University men’s swimming team ended the season with a second place finish in the Mid-American Conference Championship meet at the University at Buffalo March 7-9.
Missouri State University led in the standings from start to finish and claimed the conference title with 833 points while the Eagles earned 682 points. Host school Buffalo rounded out the podium in third with 657 points. The conference title is the first for Missouri State since joining the conference as swimming members before the 2009-10 season after leaving the Sun Belt Conference.
“[Missouri State] had a great team last year,” Coach Peter Linn said. “They had a few new faces but it was an improved team.”
Linn said the second place finish was good despite seeing some of the swimmers come down sick with a stomach virus.
“It was disappointing that the athletes got sick but the team did a spectacular job of staying together,” Linn said.
The men’s team was second in the standings to Missouri State after the first day of competition. Andrew Henry got a third place finish in the 200-Individual Medley and got an NCAA Championship consideration with a time of 1:47.38.
Alex Chan took first place in the preliminary round of the one-meter dive but earned a fourth place with a score of 333.80. Dakoda Johnson and Daniel Gironza finished sixth and seventh respectively. Garrett Nevels of Missouri State ended up with the one-meter springboard title and broke the pool record with a 363.45 score.
Various records fell on the first day of competition. Mike Dugan of Buffalo broke the school’s pool record in the 50-freestyle with a time of 19.84 and was the only swimmer to get a time under 20 seconds. Uvia Kalnins of Missouri State won the 200-IM at 1:44.69 and broke Eastern Michigan’s Jacob Hanson’s MAC record set last season.
The Eagles fell to third behind Missouri State and trailed second place Buffalo by one point.
Mike Fisher claimed the 100-breastsroke conference title with a time of 53.94, which set new MAC UB pool records.
Krzysztof Gilski got a runner-up finish in the 100-butterfly behind Dugan of Buffalo. Cole Bateman scored another runner-up finish in the 100-backstroke with a time of 48.11, which was almost two seconds slower than Missouri State’s Paul Le.
An EMU 800-freestyle relay team of Henry, Gilski, Franco Petrone and Brian Moore finished second behind a Missouri State relay squad by almost a full second. Henry took a podium finish in third in the 400-Individual Medley and got an NCAA consideration after touching the wall at 3:54.32.
The third and final day saw some Eagle swimmers win some events and set some new records.
Fisher claimed the 200-breaststroke title at a time of 1:56.32, which also broke a MAC meet record and got him an NCAA consideration in the process.
Gilski did one better from his 100-butterfly performance with a win in the 200-fly. Gilski touched the wall at 1:46.01, which was a new UB pool record.
An Eagles relay team of Henry, Gus Everson, Dexter Foos and Moore took the runner-up position in the 400-freestyle relay to Missouri State’s Le, Baryshok, Caleb Schuermann and Kalnins, who set a new UB pool high mark at 2:56.97.
Bateman took a second place in the 200-backstroke and got an NCAA consideration at a time of 1:45.13.
Chan ran away with the three-meter dive for Eastern Michigan with a score of 409.80, which was exactly 55 points more than his closest opponent in Kegan Skelton of Southern Illinois. Chan’s score also set a new Buffalo pool high mark in the three-meter springboard.
Henry, Bateman, Gilski, Fisher, Chan and Moore were the six Eagles named All-MAC first team while Erik Gissen got second team honors. Diving coach Buck Smith won the Diving Coach of the Year Award for the 13th time in his career at Eastern Michigan.
“I was proud of the team; we had a great season,” Linn said. “We have a lot of stuff to build on for next year.”
The Eagles team ended the 2013-14 campaign with a 7-1 overall record and went 3-0 in the MAC.