Sophomore Paul Le likely qualified for the NCAA Championships with his NCAA 'B' cut in the 200 back
March 9, 2013
2013 MAC Championships - Day 3 Prelims Results
CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Missouri State swimming & diving team is closer than ever to capturing its first-ever Mid-American Conference championship and will take a 12.5-point lead over Buffalo and 25-point lead over Eastern Michigan into Saturday's final session.
Excluding the 1650 free and 3-meter diving finals, the Bears tacked another nine A-Finalists and four B-Finalists on Saturday morning, while the defending-champion Eagles return nine to the championship finals and three to the consoles. University at Buffalo brings back eight A-Final appearances and five B-Final swims.
Missouri State started out with a bang in the 200 backstroke, highlighted by an NCAA consideration time by sophomore Paul Le that is likely fast enough to qualify for the 2013 NCAA Division I Men's Swimming & Diving Championships in Indianapolis (March 28-30). Le bettered his school record by more than two seconds and currently ranks 16th in the nation with his time of 1:42.44, with only the PAC-12 and Ivy League Championships still going on. If Le qualifies for NCAAs, he will become the sixth MSU student-athlete to qualify for the DI championships and the first since Matt Beasley in 2005.
Matching Le's performance was Eastern Michigan's Jacob Hanson, who recorded an automatic qualifying time (1:41.19).
Not to be overshadowed by Le's performance in Heat 3, the Bears also got Yuri Garanito (4th) and Jack Snow (5th) into the A-Final and Daan Jansen as the top seed for the consolation finals. All three posted career bests in the event, while Snow shaved off nearly five seconds from his previous best.
In the 100 free, Bears' freshman Uvis Kalnins (44.46) will enter tonight's championship final with the No. 2 seed, just five hundredths off the leader, Matt Hogan of Buffalo (44.41). Also sneaking into the top 8 was sophomore Isaac McKnight, who posted a 45.32 to grab the seventh seed. Less than .25 seconds separated sixth through 12th place. The Bears' varsity record holder, Vitalii Baryshok, struggled in the prelims and finished 12th during the morning session.
Eastern Michigan secured the top two spots in the 200 breast with Mike Fisher (1:58.82) and Mike Swain (1:59.44) leading the way. All four of Missouri State's swimmers made it back tonight, with two in the A-Final and two in the B-Final. Freshman Isaac Springer is the Bears' top qualifier in fourth with a time of 2:00.10. Also making the championship final was upperclassman Colin Hill at 2:01.60.
Rounding out MSU's 200 breaststroke squad was sophomore Aaron Dennis (10th) surpassed his 2012 MAC Championships time (2:03.76) with a career-best 2:03.00, while fellow sophomore Chris Carpenter was .07 seconds behind in 11th.
Cruising to a personal best time of 1:48.48 in the 200 fly, sophomore Matthew Wilson staked his claim as the top seed for Saturday's final. Joining Wilson in the A-Final is junior Michal Bulak, who posted a time of 1:51.01.
The first of two of 1650 free heats will take begin at 5:30 p.m. (CST), however all three of the Bears' entries (Davila, Roberts & Schuermann) had top 8 times to put them in the heat that will be swum at the start of Saturday's finals (7 p.m.).
While the 3-meter consolation finals are complete, sophomores Garrett Nevels (3rd) and Zach Wheeler (6th) will compete in tonight's championship finals after the 200 fly.
Capping off the 2013 MAC Championships will be the 400 free relay in which the Bears have the second-fastest seed time behind Eastern Michigan.
Follow @MissouriStBears on Twitter for live updates of Saturday evening's action.