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Women's swimming and diving captures MAC title

By Conor Semple
On March 5, 2013

The Miami University women's swimming and diving team captured its 17th Mid-American Conference (MAC) championship in a dominant performance. It is the team's first MAC title since 2009.

"It was our goal all year to win a MAC championship," Women's Head Coach David Jennings said. "It was kind of the thing that kept us going all year and I think our team is very satisfied with the results from this weekend."

The RedHawks won despite not taking first place in any of the 20 events. It is the first time a team has won the MAC title doing so.

"I really feel like our depth made the difference this weekend," Jennings said. "Throughout the 13 swimming events and the diving competitions, our girls were very consistent with getting high scores which ended up helping our team out a lot in the end."

The team's 621 overall score gave it a comfortable 116 point margin over second place.

The RedHawks got off to a fast start and never looked back, as Bekka Westrick, Maegan O'Connor and Leah Thornton provided key senior leadership to guide their team to victory.

Westrick and Thornton finished in second place along with senior Maddie Kete and junior Nicole Wagner in the 200m relay and O'Connor grabbed a fourth place finish in the 100m butterfly.

"It just really shows our guts," Thornton said. "We stuck to what we wanted to do all season which is do what we've always done and it's very satisfying to see us come through with it in the end... It is hard to believe that it is all over, but it definitely feels good to get sent off on a note like that."

Other notable finishers were freshman Aubrey Kluth, sophomore Courtney Collett and junior diver Nikki Craft. Kluth placed fourth in the 400 individual medley, Collett finished sixth in the 200 freestyle and junior Nikki Craft took home fourth in the three-meter board with a score of 331.9.

Rival Ohio University took home second place with 505 points, while Bowling Green State University finished third. The University of Toledo, the defending conference champions, finished in the middle of the pack in sixth place.

The team closes an impressive season having not lost a meet since its season opener against Purdue University. The 'Hawks also recorded a perfect 6-0 conference record.

Several individuals took home awards to cap off the season. Westrick ended up getting first-team All-MAC honors, while Thornton, O'Connor, Collett, Kluth and Wagner received second-team All-MAC honors.

"It is definitely neat to get those individual awards and it makes us that much more special," Thornton said.

Coach Jennings commended the senior talent.

"The seniors have really done an excellent job all year of leading this team," Jennings said "They really worked hard and deserved this."

Although sad to see the seniors go, Jennings is still very confident heading into next year. With the current members of the team plus the talent coming in next year, he thinks they still have a good chance to repeat as MAC champs.

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