The Eastern Michigan University swimming and diving team had an all-around impressive performance in route to 152-74 over Division III school Albion College Friday night at Jones Natatorium.
This win continued the Eagles’ perfect season and raised their record to 8-0 in dual meets this year. This is the third time in program history that a team has finished a perfect season in dual meets. The other two times happened during this past decade, the 2012-2013 and 2016-2017 seasons.
The meet also served as the last home meet of the season for the Eagles, and what a way to close out the home portion of the schedule. The Eagles had most of their dual meets at home this season, with six of their eight wins coming from home wins.
It was also senior night for the Eagles; about a half hour before the meet began, the team honored its nine senior members by having them stand on the platforms that were adorned with white and green balloons. After each senior was introduced, an underclassman member of the team would read a short heartfelt speech about each specific senior, acknowledging not just their contributions to the team but academic and personal accomplishments as well.
Not only did the seniors earn honors before the meet, once it got underway, they also showed out themselves. The Eagles had a top finish in every event against the Britons, the seniors specifically had four top finishes during the meet.
Senior Delaney Duncan tried her hand at the 100-yard Butterfly, something she had never done during her collegiate career. Duncan finished with a 56.92 time in that event, which was good enough to give her an event title for that event. Duncan almost added a second event title for the evening, as she came in second in the 50-yard freestyle to sophomore Meike Staffeldt. Staffeldt’s time of 27.17 just narrowly beat out Duncan’s 24.63.
On the diving front, senior Gabrielle Mace had a career-best performance during the three-meter dive event. Mace earned a total of 308.18 points during her performance, it was the first time she got over 300 in her collegiate career.
Fellow seniors Nicole Swartz and Stephanie Johnston also finished first in their events, the 400-yard IM and the 100-yard freestyle respectively. These would be the last event wins for the seniors during the meet.
As much as it seemed the night was all about the outgoing seniors of the team, the younger members had more than their fair share of effort in the victory.
Sophomore Elli Machado earned two event titles for her top place finishes in the 100-yard breaststroke and the 500-yard freestyle. Also, sophomore Abby Rapien had a dominant performance during the 1,000-yard freestyle event, finishing with a time of 10:41.08, compared to Albion junior Megan Harvey’s 11:53.15.
The Eagles have a small break in their schedule before their next event. The team travels to Columbus, Ohio to take part in the two-day Ohio State Invitational on Feb. 16 and 17.