March 3, 2012
OXFORD, Ohio - The Missouri State swimming & diving team pieced together an exciting finish at the 60th Annual Mid-American Conference Swimming & Diving Championships on Saturday. After falling to fifth place following the first day of competition, the Bears refused to have a repeat of last season's finish. The Bears moved up one spot from last year, but fell just short of overtaking Southern Illinois for third.
In a meet where 11 individual and relay MAC records were rewritten, Eastern Michigan University used a late surge of points from 3-meter diving to defeat defending champion Buffalo.
"We are really happy with the results," interim head coach Dave Collins said. "We do feel that we have a lot of room to grow and we are really going to move up in the future. We got a lot of good experience with a young group, but had some great leadership by the seniors."
Missouri State landed its second event winner of the championships when sophomore Jared Roberts defended his MAC title in the 1650 free (15:16.67). Roberts broke three records along the way, setting a new MSU mark in the 1000-yard free with his opening 1000 split, a new MSU mark in the 1650 and new Corwin M. Dixon Aquatic Center record. To add to the excitement, freshman Caleb Schuermann picked up his second silver medal of the weekend and completed the 1-2 finish for the Bears.
To finish off the Friday postponed relays, the 200 medley relay was swum at the start of the final session. The Bears team of Paul Le, Aaron Dennis, Michal Bulak and Jeff Bentz collected bronze medals after Southern Illinois' was disqualified for an early take-off on the breast-to-butterfly exchange.
For the third time this meet, Le found himself up on the podium winning a bronze medal, this time in the 200 back. Once again going under 1:45.00, Le was more than two seconds ahead of fourth-place finisher Yuri Garanito. In the consolation heat, senior captain Bryson Cramer capped off his career by moving up three spots to 11th with a time of 1:51.30.
Tied for the fastest time in prelims, Vitalii Baryshok was edged out by Buffalo's Matt Hogan and Mike Dugan in the finals of the 100 free. Despite falling to third, Baryshok still rewrote the MSU record books in the event, beating Raichin Antonov's time with a new mark of 43.92. Bentz held his position in the consolations, placing 14th with a time of 45.56.
Both Michal Bulak and Matthew Wilson had big swims in the 200 fly as they both moved up in position. Bulak jumped up one spot to fourth, while Wilson went from eighth to sixth with a new personal best (1:49.48). Amir Arbel scored five points for the Bears placing 12th.
In 1-meter diving, freshman Garrett Nevels continued his trend of breaking the 300-point barrier, as he represented the Bears in the championship final placing seventh (321.90).
The meet wrapped up with the 400 free relay in which another MAC and pool record was broken by the Buffalo Bulls. All four Missouri State swimmers (Le, McKnight, Baryshok, Bentz) recorded some of their quickest relay splits ever and touched out the Salukis by .50 seconds for silver.
At the conclusion of the meet, five Bears were awarded with All-MAC honors. The trio of Baryshok, Roberts and Le was named to the All-MAC First Team, while freshmen Chris Carpenter and Caleb Schuermann scored Second-Team accolades.
Final Team Standings
1. Eastern Michigan - 693.5
2. Buffalo - 674.5
3. Southern Illinois - 596
4. Missouri State - 558
5. Miami (Ohio) - 472
6. Ball State - 229
7. Evansville - 98