Akron Claims 6th-Straight MAC Title

Mid-American Conference (MAC) – Women

Akron won their sixth straight MAC title, and the almost-300-point margin was due to their depth.

Eastern Michigan had two wins on the final day, and pulled away from Buffalo to hold onto second. Buffalo similarly held off Miami for third, in a meet where there were close scores among the minor places, but not a lot of changes in the standings. day to day.

Eastern Michigan’s Delaney Duncan was selected as Most Outstanding Swimmer, and Akron’s Sarah Watson won Freshman Swimmer of the Year. Bowling Green’s Talisa Lemke was named Most Outstanding Diver, and please see below for a brief diving recap; my results from previous days didn’t include diving.

A side-note to the meet: organizers secured a permit to sell alcohol at the meet, which meet organizers say went smoothly.

Final Team Standings

1. Akron – 867

2. Eastern Michigan – 583

3. Buffalo – 502

4. Miami (OH) – 486

5. Ohio – 421

6. Bowling Green – 305

7. Toledo – 171

8. Ball State – 148

In the first event of the night, Daisy Platts won the 200 back, the first win of the meet for Bowling Green. Platts was right with Eastern Michigan’s Casey Gavigan, with the latter holding slight leads at the 100 (55.18-55.50) and the 150 (1:25.23-1:25.35). But Platts turned on the jets at the end with a 29.17 final 50 that was easily tops in the field, and took the win 1:54.52 to 1:55.33 for Gavigan. Claire Young for Eastern Michigan was third (1:56.80).

Then in the 100 free, Sarah Watson won her third title of the meet by the smallest of margins, as the Akron army went 1-2-3-4-5. Ragen Engel was out in the lead (23.05) by half a second over 50 free/100 back champ Sadie Fazekas (25.42). But Watson and Morgan Waggoner made a move on the back half, with event-leading splits of 25.21 and 25.09. Those four all came to the wall together, and Watson’s fingernails were longest: she got the win in 48.93 with Waggoner just behind in 48.94. Fazekas was third (48.98), and Engel, so close to the win, was fourth (49.03). Interestingly, Engel swam a similar time (49.03) in the morning with completely different splits (24.10-24.95).

Eastern Michigan’s Delaney Duncan had another big win, another MAC record, and almost another A cut, in the 200 breaststroke. After Duncan’s 58.25 100 breast last night, she was the prohibitive favorite today, and she never left that in doubt. Duncan hit the 100 in 1:01.15, 1.09 seconds ahead of Akron’s Paula Garcia. And that lead more than doubled in the back half, as Duncan swam 2:07.38 to take 0.53 seconds off Paloma Marrero’s MAC record. Garcia’s 2:09.82.was good enough for second, as Ohio’s Kelsey Morgan (2:11.43) just beat out her teammate Emilia Lahtinen (2:11.51) for third.

The 200 fly was an Akron 1-2-3, but it didn’t look like that for most of the race. Buffalo’s Olivia Sapio took it out hard, and led at the 100 (56.09) by half a second over three Akron swimmers: Makenzie Vargas (56.55), Paulina Nogaj (56.44), and Jessica Bonezzi (56.51). As Sapio faded, Vargas surged, and those two were nearly together at the 150 wall, with Bonezzi half a second back, and a fading Nogaj a full second behind the leaders. But Nogaj surged as Vargas and Sapio faded, and Bonezzi held steady. Nogaj came almost all the way back for the win with a 30.29 split, but Vargas held on, and her 1:58.06 beat out Nogaj’s 1:58.10 by only 4 one-hundredths. Bonezzi was third in 1:58.26 for the Akron sweep, and Sapio was the only other swimmer under 2 minutes in 1:58.82.

In the 1650, Nicole Swartz of Eastern Michigan outdueled Hannah Schlegel of Ohio to win in 16:15.71. Swartz and Schlegel were second and third in the 500, and they tracked together here: 1:53 at the 200, 4:49 at the 500, 7:47 at the 800. At the 1000 (9:46.26-9:46.98), Swartz had finally gotten a small edge, and by 1200, her lead was 2 seconds: 11:45.70 to 11:47.71. Here, Swartz started to slip just a little, from high-29s to low 30s, but Schlegel couldn’t find a second wind and Swartz won by 3.33 seconds to Schlegel’s 16:19.04. Miami’s Beatriz Pimentel Dizotti was third (16:24.17).

Finally, to close off the meet, Akron raced the clock, and won. In the 400 freestyle relay, the Akron quartet of Ragen Engel (49.02), Sarah Watson (48.51), Sadie Fazekas (48.58), and Sofia Hennell (48.31) combined for a 4.07 second win in a MAC record and NCAA A cut time of 3:14.42. With their clone-like consistency, Akron had the three fastest splits in the event, as well as the fastest leadoff. And with all four cylinders firing, Akron got their third relay A cut of the meet. Miami University was second in 3:18.49, while Buffalo was third in 3:19.91

Diving Recap

Bowling Green’s Talisa Lemke was the easy call for diver of the meet, sweeping both the 1 meter and 3 meter boards. The Bowling Green junior won the 1 meter event with a score of 307.20, outpacing the field by more than 30 points. Kami Goodrick from Akron scored 284.90 to take second on 1 meter, while Buffalo’s Jae Sarkis was third with 278.75. In all, 7 divers got NCAA cuts on 1 meter.

Lemke won again on 3 meter, with another large victory: 27 points over Karly Crail of Akron. Lemke scored 341.35, while Crail scored 314.35. Eastern Michigan’s Sophia Tsafantakis was the only other diver over 300 with a 304.60. The MAC outdid itself on 3 meter, with a full 8 divers topping the NCAA qualifying score.

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5 years ago

Congrats to Akron and the entire staff. Brian has done a killer job and they keep getting better. Would be a lot of work but would be interesting to score them into the Big Ten Champ meet. Just looking, my guess they would be 5th or 6th as a team. If I was a Power 5 team under top 4 at a championship meet, I dont think I would want to swim them. Congrats Zips!

5 years ago

Brian Peresie needs to be in serious conversation for any and all Head Coaching jobs that come open in all of the power 5 conferences. Some AD is going to figure that out, and look like a rockstar for hiring him.

No question
Reply to  Buckeyeboy
5 years ago

Agreed. Should be on every short list.