By Melissa Maykut

OXFORD, Ohio – After having a week off from competition, the Miami University men’s swimming team will travel to Ypsilanti, Mich. Saturday, Feb. 2 to take on the Eastern Michigan Eagles at 1 p.m.

The RedHawks' dual meet record is currently 3-3-1 overall and 1-1 in Mid-American Conference competition.

In its last action, Jan. 20 against the Buffalo Bulls, Miami earned 22 season-best times, but dropped the meet by a score of 175-124. The underclassmen didn’t back down, winning four events for the RedHawks.

Freshman Chris Dieter led the way, capturing the 200 freestyle in 1:41.31 and the 500 free in 4:39.28. Teammate Evan Bader kept up the momentum, placing first in the 200 breaststroke race in 2:07.46. The other win for the underclassmen came when sophomore Joe Baumgartner dominated the 100 free in 46.05.

Miami went one-two in the 200 backstroke event with Ian Joyce taking first in 1:54.97. Freshman Davis Staley earned the runner-up time in 1:55.28.

Senior divers Michael Grainger and Chris Hoppler controlled the boards against the Bulls, winning both the one-and three-meter diving events. Grainger dominated the one-meter diving event (334.20 points) and Hoppler won the three-meter diving competition (341.92).

Head coach Pete Lindsay describes his team’s improvement as “slow and steady.”

“There haven’t been any big drops," Lindsay said. "We expect to see some pretty big drops at the conference meet, but we’ve seen a steady improvement. We’ve not really been an erratic team at all this year and that’s really pleasing.”

While the RedHawks took a break from competition last weekend, Eastern Michigan (4-2 overall, 2-0 MAC) was busy battling the Bulls for a dual meet win. With the meet coming down to the last event, the Eagles just barely defeated Buffalo, 151.5-148.5.

EMU’s senior Jacob Hanson was on fire against the Bulls, winning the 100 back and 200 IM events. He then shattered a pool record in the 200 back, winning the race in 1:47.06. When the Eagles and RedHawks faced off last season, Hanson dominated the 100 and 200 back contests, helping Eastern Michigan to a 176.5-123.5 win over Miami. Later that season, Hanson became the 2012 MAC champion in the 200 IM, the 100 back, and the 200 back finals.

Despite the loss a year ago, Miami held its own when junior Michael Cavanaugh finished second in the 200 butterfly race, touching the wall in a personal-best time of 1:52.64. Senior Alex Reinhardt also had a personal-best in the 500 free, taking the second-fastest time in 4:39.17. Teammate Andy Kilkenney finished two seconds behind Reinhardt, also with a personal-best (4:41.60).

In addition to its strong corps of swimmers, Eastern Michigan has its own pair of senior divers to match Miami’s Grainger and Hoppler. Seniors Jeffrey Craig and Andrew Saunders dominated their diving events against the Bulls, sharing first and second in both the one-meter and three-meter diving contests. At MAC’s last season, Craig and Saunders won both diving events, helping EMU to the 2012 team title.

Following this weekend’s dual meet against the Eagles, the RedHawks will have a final dual meet against Ball State on Feb. 9 at 10 a.m., then will get ready to compete in the 2013 MAC Championships from Mar. 7-9.

--www.MURedHawks.com--