Feb. 29, 2012
OXFORD, Ohio -- Redemption is the name of the game for the Missouri State men’s swimming & diving program. After finishing fifth at the 2011 Mid-American Conference Swimming & Diving Championships, the Bears reloaded with a wealth of young talent and are primed to make a title run at this year’s conference championships.
The 2012 MAC Swimming & Diving Championships will take place March 1-3, at the Corwin Nixon Aquatic Center on the campus of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Thursday will mark the first day of competition with prelims set to start at 11 a.m. ET (finals at 7 p.m. ET). Diving prelims will begin at approximately 2 p.m. EST on Thursday and Friday.
Men’s programs in the seven-team fold this year are Ball State, Buffalo, Eastern Michigan, Evansville, Miami (Ohio), Missouri State and Southern Illinois.
In two years of competing at the MAC Championships, the Bears have never finished higher than third place in the team standings. However, this year they will enter the meet with top times in four individual events and two relays (400 free relay, 800 free relay), along with several top-10 marks in nearly all of the events.
Sophomore Jared Roberts is the only Bear that will be defending a title at this year’s championships. As a relative unknown last year, Roberts took many by surprise and came out victorious in the 1650 free. He was the only freshman in the MAC to win an individual event. The Wichita, Kan. native has the league’s top times in the 1000 and 1650 free this season.
Roberts collected All-MAC first team honors along with Daan Jansen, while Michal Bulak and Yuri Garanito got All-MAC honorable mention nods.
Freshman Vitalii Baryshok, who has picked up NCAA “B” cuts in the 100 and 200 free, is the No. 1 seed in both events heading into the weekend. He also holds the second-fastest time in the 50 free and 100 fly.
Other swimmers ranked among the top three seeds in their respective events include freshman Caleb Schuermann (200 free, 500 free, 1650 free), freshman Paul Le (100 back, 200 back), sophomore Yuri Garanito (200 back), sophomore Michal Bulak (100 fly, 200 fly) and junior Daan Jansen (400 IM).
Three seniors including Jeff Bentz, Bryson Cramer and Tyler Saltzberry will be looking to lead the Bears to a conference title in their final meet for the Maroon and White.
In the latest CollegeSwimming.com Mid-Major Rankings (Feb. 9), Missouri State moved up four spots to No. 7. The Bears rank as the top MAC team in the poll, with Buffalo and Eastern Michigan at Nos. 10 and 11. They have been ranked in each of the three polls this season.
New to the MAC Swimming & Diving Championships this year is a free multi-camera webcast of the entire meet. The live video stream will include all of the swimming & diving events and will also include the awards presentations at the conclusion of the meet.
Live results for the Championships will also be provided on MURedHawks.com. For highlights, recaps and video interviews, check back at MissouriStateBears.com.