Akron’s Sarah Watson Repeats as MAC Champion in 200 IM; Zips Lead Through Day 2

Mid-American Conference (MAC) – Women


1. Akron – 295
2. Buffalo – 251.5
3. Eastern Michigan – 178
4. Miami – 143
5. Bowling Green – 128
6. Toledo – 120
7. Ball State – 115
8. Ohio – 97.5


Akron continues to lead the team race through the 2nd day of competition, taking the 200 IM and 200 free relay. Akron sophomore Sarah Watson defended her title in the 200 IM, swimming a 1:57.65. Watson won the event with a 1:57.33 last year, which still stands as her personal best. Watson, sprint fly specialist, took the race out the fastest of anyone in the field, splitting 24.73 on the fly 50. Miami’s Camila Lins de Mello took 2nd place with a 1:58.31, splitting a field-leading 33.68 on the breast leg.

Watson was back in action in the 200 free relay, which Akron won with a 1:29.39. Paulina Nogaj led the Zips off in 22.79, with Morgan Waggoner following in 22.07, Watson going next with a 22.34, and Sofia Henell anchoring in 22.19. The win marks Akron’s 3rd consecutive MAC title in the event. Last year, the Zips won the race with a 1:28.54. Buffalo also cracked 1:30, taking 2nd with a 1:29.89. Katie Burns led their relay off in 23.27, with Jillian Lawton (22.22), Andrea Ernst (22.35), and Toni Naccarella (22.05) following. Naccarella’s split was the fastest in the field, while Akron’s Waggoner was 2nd fastest.

Toni Naccarella was the champion in the 50 free earlier in the session, swimming a 22.48. The defending champion in the event, Akron’s Sadie Fazekas, has since graduated. Naccarella’s teammate Jillian Lawton came in 2nd in the race, touching in 22.64. Akron’s Morgan Waggoner was 3rd, right behind Lawton with a 22.68.

Eastern Michigan picked up their first win of the meet in the 500 free. Alyssa Shugarman swam a huge lifetime best to win the event in 4:44..51. Shugarman had a personal best of 4:48.39, which she swam at last year’s MAC Championships. She was in a tight race with runner-up Brittney Beecher (Buffalo), flipping just 3-tenths of a second ahead at the 450, but opened up a 27.75 on the final 50, compared to Beecher’s 29.17. Beecher finished in 4:46.23.

Eastern Michigan also had a strong team showing in 1 meter diving. Bowling Green’s Talisa Lemke posted a dominant win in the event, with a final score of 327.42. Her score was the highest in the field by 31 points. Eastern Michigan earned the most points towards the team total in the event, finishing 3rd (Mia Schempf), 4th (Sophia Tsafantakis), 5th (Bethany Berger), and 15th (Keira Veligian). The Eagles scored 47 points in the event.

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