By Melissa Maykut
OXFORD, Ohio - Five Miami senior swimmers will be honored Saturday (Feb. 9) in Senior Day ceremonies when the Miami University men's swimming and diving team hosts the Ball State Cardinals.
The 10 a.m. meet marks the RedHawks' final home competition before going to the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Championships from March 7-9.
The RedHawks (3-4-1 overall) completed the road portion of their dual meet season with a tough 184-110 defeat at Eastern Michigan last Saturday. Sophomore Joe Baumgartner led Miami with his victory in the 100 freestyle, defeating the competition with his top time of 45.97. Baumgartner also went runner-up in the 50 free in 21.28.
While there were no other victories for Miami against EMU, a few RedHawks swam season-best times. Freshman Evan Bader earned a second-place finish in the 200 breaststroke, swimming a personal-best 2:08.22. Teammate Sean Neri earned two season-best times, first in the 500 free (4:44.01) and then in the 100 backstroke (52.73). RedHawk seniors also produced strong performances when Alex Reinhardt finished runner-upin the 1000 free (9:43.48). Senior Anderson Whipp ended his day with two third-place finishes in the 200 back (1:55.61) and the 200 individual medley (1:59.08).
Ball State (3-2 in dual meets) hasn't competed since the Butler Invitational on Jan. 27. The Cardinals finished third in that meet. When these teams last met, the RedHawks downed BSU, 134-107, at Ball State's home aquatic center.
Miami head coach Pete Lindsay expects the Cardinals to bring the pressure this weekend.
"We will have some very good races with Ball State, and this team enjoys racing," Lindsay said. "Most important will be hitting the proper level of arousal while executing appropriate racing strategies."
There's sure to be a higher level of excitement going at the Nixon Aquatic Center Saturday morning as the seniors wrap up their regular-season careers.
All five student-athletes have acted as strong role models and leaders for the RedHawks.
Mike Grainger: Diving for Miami all four years, Grainger has set high standards for future Miami divers, scoring in every MAC championship final since he was a freshman.
"Mike Grainger has been the steady, reliable one on our diving team for four years," Lindsay said. "Mike can be depended upon for consistent performance and to smooth the edges of the emotional highs and lows that the team experiences."
Chris Hoppler: Hoppler has also been a key diver for Miami over the past four years, placing in the past three MAC championship finals.
"Chris Hoppler enjoys the challenges and risk taking of diving," Lindsay said. "He works hard to increase the difficulty of the dives on his lists. When he hits, the results may be spectacular."
Joyce has been a consistently strong swimmer for Miami throughout his entire career, earning him a team captain position in his final season as a RedHawk.
"He is a tireless worker and a man of strong faith," Lindsay said. "Ian has anchored the backstroke corps this year, enabling it to be one of the strongest in the Conference."
Alex Reinhardt: Reinhardt has set the pace for Miami swimming over the course of his career. He is graduating Miami as a three-time MAC champion, having won the 500 free twice and the 1650 free once.
"A relentless competitor, Alex enjoys a challenge and the work necessary to prepare for it," Lindsay said. "He has set the standard for performance in his training group and engaged his teammates to join with him in great workouts."
Anderson Whipp: As the second team captain this season, Whipp has been able to inspire his team to work hard during practice and competition, and has been a MAC championship finalist in the breaststroke events.
"Anderson Whipp was selected as a team captain this year in part through his ability to inspire the team," Lindsay said. "Anderson is one of most versatile on the team, from sprinting the 100s to swimming the individual medleys."