By Jack Reyering, For The Miami Student
Miami University Men's Swim and Dive finished fifth at the Mid-American Conference Championships this weekend in Geneva, Ohio.
Over the four day championships, five RedHawk swimmers got NCAA B-cuts and five Miami University swimming records were broken.
"We almost re-wrote the record board here at the pool," senior captain Andrew Kilkenny said. "We got guys qualified for NCAA B-cuts. I mean we had a hell of a meet this year."
Although the team finished fifth overall, several RedHawk swimmers shined in their respective races. Senior Joe Baumgartner took home first place in the 100-yard freestyle, narrowly edging out the second place finisher by one one-thousandth of a second.
Baumgartner's time of 43.72 seconds bested the Miami record in the 100-yard freestyle; a record that Baumgartner himself set last year at 44.24. Baumgartner also won gold in the 50-yard freestyle. Those top finishes also helped Baumgartner earn All-MAC first-team honors along with junior Davis Staley who earned second-team honors.
Miami's 200-yard freestyle relay team also finished first. Sophomore Lucas Brock, freshman Ross Westrick, sophomore Jack Strauss, and Baugartner finished just fractions of a second ahead of second place University at Buffalo.
Four RedHawk swimmers including Baumgartner, Brock, Kilkenny and Strauss raced together in the 400-yard freestyle relay and took home a third place finish. Their time of 2:47.56 bested the Miami record by over 11 seconds.
"We were 10 points out of third place and 10 points in swimming is essentially one race; it's actually less than that," Kilkenny said. "There was a lot of weight on the relay going into it."
The top three teams all finished within 1.06 seconds of each other in the 400 freestyle relay.
"We got up on the blocks, we all swam lights out . . . just ridiculous splits on the relay," Kilkenny said. "We were nose to nose with the two other teams that out-touched us. It was just a great race, really exciting."
Although they did not finish as high as they had hoped, the team found multiple positive takeaways from the weekend.
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Miami hasn't sent any swimmers to the NCAA Championships since 2006. While the chances are slim that any of the five NCAA B-cuts that will make it to the championships, the number of B-cut qualifiers is a promising sign for the future of the swimming and diving team.
"I was pleasantly surprised by the number of guys who got the NCAA B-cut," head coach Pete Lindsay said. "I was thinking up front that Joe [Baumgartner] would probably get one, but to get five of those . . . in all the years I've been here I've never taken more than two."
Most of the swimmers' and divers' seasons ended with the MAC Championship. If any of the five RedHawk B-cuts qualify, they swim in the NCAA Championship March 26-28 in Iowa City.