Down to the Wire, Bears Edged by MAC Power Eastern Michigan for Title
Freshman Miguel Davila teamed up with Bears' Caleb Schuermann for a 1-2 finish in the 1650 free.
Freshman Miguel Davila teamed up with Bears' Caleb Schuermann for a 1-2 finish in the 1650 free.

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CARBONDALE, Ill. – With a target on its back, Missouri State remained in the driver’s seat up until 3-meter diving competition of the 2013 MAC Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships. In an interesting turn of events, Eastern Michigan tallied 60 points in 3-meter diving and erased the Bears’ 29-point lead.

Eastern Michigan accumulated 772 points to sneak past the Bears (766) in the team race. It marked the second straight title for the Eagles and their 31st MAC crown in 36 seasons. Buffalo was also a strong contender from start to finish and placed third overall with 698.5 points.

In his first full season at Missouri State, head swimming & diving coach Dave Collins was voted by the league’s coaches as the unanimous MAC Swimming Coach of the Year.

The Bears stayed toward the top of the leaderboard on Saturday with podium performances from five different swimmers, including Miguel Davila (1650 free), Caleb Schuermann (1650 free), Paul Le (200 back), Uvis Kalnins (100 free) and Matthew Wilson (200 fly).

Also in the spotlight during Saturday’s morning session was Le’s NCAA consideration time in the 200 back that currently places him 16th in the nation. The NCAA will select anywhere from 25-30 athletes to participate in each event for the 2013 NCAA DI Swimming & Diving Championships, March 28-30.

To jumpstart Saturday evening, the Bears recorded a much needed 1-2 finish in the 1650 free. Freshman distance swimmer Miguel Davila set the pace in the finals heat with his NCAA consideration time of 15:18.83, more than four seconds ahead of runner-up Caleb Schuermann (15.23.36). Davila now ranks second all-time just behind junior Jared Roberts’ 2012 mark of 15:16.67. Roberts gave Missouri State three of the top five finishers on Saturday earning fifth-place points (15:34.73).

In the 200 back, Le battled it out with Eastern Michigan’s Jacob Hanson, who tied a MAC record for most individual titles over a four-year span with 11. Le picked up his third runner-up finish behind the EMU senior. Also picking up valuable points in the championship final was junior Yuri Garanito, who bettered his prelims time and finished fourth (1:46.63). Freshman Jack Snow finished eighth overall (1:49.81) in addition to an 11th-place finish from senior captain Daan Jansen in the final race of his career.

Freshman Uvis Kalnins (44.68) picked up his first individual medal of the weekend by out-touching SIU’s Till Pallmann and UB’s Mike Dugan by less than a tenth of a second. Making a one-step jump up the rankings was sophomore Isaac McKnight (45.22) who finished sixth ahead of two EMU swimmers. Sophomore Vitalii Baryshok recovered nicely from his morning swim to win the consolation final (44.94).

The Bears had another solid scoring opportunity in the 200 breast as the team scored 37 points. Freshman Isaac Springer became just the second MSU swimmer to eclipse 2-minutes in the event with a 1:59.69 to place fifth. Junior Colin Hill moved up a spot into seventh, while sophomores Aaron Dennis and Chris Carpenter finished 11th and 12th, respectively.

Eastern Michigan was once again at the top of the podium in the 200 fly as Eagles’ Krzysztof Gilski. In addition, sophomore Matthew Wilson slipped to third place overall, despite adding just .14 seconds from prelims.

The Eagles made their move in the team race to take a 4-point lead over the Bears heading into the final event. Eastern Michigan totaled 60 points with first, third and sixth place in the A-Final and two scorers in the B-Final. Sophomores Garrett Nevels (313.70) and Zach Wheeler (299.30) finished seventh and eighth, respectively.

The 400 free relay turned into a must-win situation for the Bears, however, Buffalo won its fourth relay of the championship meet and Eastern Michigan edged MSU’s relay of Le, Baryshok, McKnight and Kalnins by .07 seconds.

In Missouri State’s rise this year, the Bears did it with just one individual and one relay victory. Eastern Michigan led the way with 10 event winners, while UB took home four of the five relays in addition to its three individual gold medalists.

All-MAC first team honors were presented to event winners and top individual point scorers. Eastern Michigan controlled the first-team selections with seven, while Missouri State was represented by Miguel Davila, Paul Le, Uvis Kalnins, and Caleb Schuermann. In addition, the Bears had five second-team selections, the most of any school.

Final Team Standings
1. Eastern Michigan - 772
2. Missouri State – 766
3. Buffalo – 698.5
4. Miami (Ohio) – 419.5
5. Southern Illinois - 391
6. Ball State - 186
7. Evansville - 162

All-MAC First Team: Till Pallmann (SIU), Jacob Hanson (EMU), Mike Dugan (UB), Jeffrey Craig (EMU), Mike Swain (EMU), Brian Moore (EMU), Mike Fisher (EMU), Miguel Davila (MSU), Matt Hogan (UB), Krzysztof Gilski (EMU), Paul Le (MSU), Matt Schwippert (UB), Uvis Kalnins (MSU), Andrew Henry (EMU), Caleb Schuermann (MSU)

All-MAC Second Team: Cory Zorsch (UB), Eric Culver (UB), Erik Gissen (EMU), Joe Baumgartner (MU), Calvin Kolar (SIU), Jack Snow (MSU), Matthew Wilson (MSU), Vitalii Baryshok (MSU), Josh Meints (UB), Andrew Saunders (EMU), Chris Carpenter (MSU), Joe Morris (BSU), Billy Patrum (UB), Isaac Springer (MSU), Kegan Skelton (SIU)

2013 MAC Awards
Outstanding Swimmer – Jacob Hanson, Eastern Michigan
Swimming Coach of the Year – Dave Collins, Missouri State
Outstanding Diver – Jeffrey Craig, Eastern Michigan
Diving Coach of the Year – Buck Smith, Eastern Michigan
Outstanding Senior Award – Jacob Hanson, Eastern Michigan

New Missouri State Records
500 free – Uvis Kalnins - 4:23.28
200 IM – Paul Le – 1:45.76
100 back – Paul Le – 47.07
3-meter diving – Garrett Nevels – 378.60
800 free relay – Vitalii Baryshok, Caleb Schuermann, Isaac McKnight, Uvis Kalnins - 6:31.23
200 back – Paul Le – 1:42.44



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