2016 MEN’S MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Wednesday, March 2- Saturday, March 5, 2016
- Jones Natatorium, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan (Central Time Zone)
- Wednesday Timed Finals 7PM, Prelims 11AM / Finals 7PM (Thurs-Sat.)
- Defending Champion: Eastern Michigan (2015 results and recap here.)
- Live Results
- Live Video
- Championship Central, @MACSports: Twitter/Instagram | #MACtion
- MVC Teams: Missouri State Bears, Eastern Michigan Eagles, Buffalo Bulls, Southern Illinois Salukis, Miami (Ohio) RedHawks, Ball State Cardinals, Evansville Purple Aces.
In 2015, Eastern Michigan won their 32nd MAC title in program history, the 22nd under the tenure of Coach Peter Linn, fighting their way back from a deficit on day four to win by twenty points. The Eagles were able to unseat the Defending Champion Missouri State Bears, who had stolen the crown from EMU in 2014 for their first and only title thus far, beating them 777.5 to 757.5. While EMU only boasted the winner in two individual events, versus the Bears’ four relay and six individual titles, the Eagles were able to out-match the Bears on depth, with diving being a particular point of strength.
This year, the Eagles own the top ranked time in the Mid-American Conference for two relays and two individual events, versus the Bears who top two relays and seven individual races, but Missouri State enters the meet without a single diver on their roster, leaving a gaping hole in an event that is typically an overwhelming force for the Eagles against any opponent. Most likely, while the Bears can load their roster with 18 swimmers, EMU will choose to bring only 16 swimmers, but are allowed 6 divers as each diver is worth one third of a swimmer in the roster count. Only the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard events are offered.
The Eagles return NCAA Qualifier and two time MAC Champion on the 3-meter, Alex Chan. The Bears return the winner of the 1650, Miguel Davila, as well as Conference Record Holders Isaac Springer (100 breast) and Uvis Kalnins (200 IM, 400 IM.)
This meet is not just a two team show either, as conference rankings show game-changing stand-outs from Southern Illinois and incredible depth from Buffalo that could shake up the team battle throughout the four-day event. The Salukis return MAC Swimmer of the Year and Conference Record Holder Till Pallmann (200 free, 500 free) along with 100 fly Champion Joao Facciotti and 200 fly Champion Lucas de Aquino.
After the 200 medley and 800 freestyle relays on day one, the top three teams have a separation of only four points, perhaps foreshadowing another year with a battle for the MAC crown that will see no team break away to dominate.
200 MEDLEY RELAY
- Buffalo Bulls 1:27.47
- Missouri State Bears 1:27.89
- Eastern Michigan Eagles 1:28.52
The Buffalo squad of Hudson Carroll (22.65,) Itai De La Vega (24.03,) Mason Miller (20.83,) and Aaron Durrence (19.96) took the lead slightly after the breast but were able to extend it on the fly split from freshman Miller, who turned in the only sub-21 split for the stroke. The lead from that point was enough for the Bulls to hold off the 19.46 freestyle split from the Bears’ Uvis Kalnins, on the way to lowering the EMU Pool Record set last year. Eastern Michigan made the podium with 1:28.52, while SIU (1:29.43,) Miami (1:29.98,) Ball State (1:31.23,) and Evansville (1:32.39) completed the final in that order.
800 FREESTYLE RELAY
- Eastern Michigan Eagles 6:25.55
- Missouri State Bears 6:26.48
- Southern Illinois Salukis 6:31.10
As a testament to how fierce the battle between these two teams has been over the last three years, when reading the times of the top two listed above, keep in mind that the MAC Record set in 2015 was 6:28.05, meaning both of the top two teams crushed it. Eastern Michigan got out to the lead on a 1:34.20 from senior Andrew Henry, but Missouri State’s lead-off 1:35.02 from Uvis Kalnins kept them within striking distance. The Eagles kept their lead through the second leg with JF Murphy’s 1:37.90 versus the Bears’ Michael Mollak who turned in 1:37.92. On the third leg Missouri State’s Kacper Cwiek was able to sneak the Bears ahead with a 1:36.39, overtaking EMU’s Logan Burton at 1:38.06, giving the Bears a lead of .83 heading into the anchor leg of the race. The Eagles answered with a 1:35.39 from Jake Tyson, who managed to get past MSU’s Will Brand (1:37.15) on the last 50 to take the win for this race between the two fastest 800 free relay squads the Mid-American Conference has ever produced. Southern Illinois (6:31.10,) Buffalo (6:33.89,) Miami (6:38.19,) Ball State (6:51.90,) and Evansville (6:55.21) rounded out the rest of the scoring.
Team scores (after day one):
- Eastern Michigan 72
- Buffalo 70
- Missouri State 68
- Southern Illinois 62
- Miami (Ohio) 56
- Ball State 52
- Evansville 48