BUFFALO, N.Y. - With a 99-point lead and seven more individual finalists in tonight's Mid-American Conference Women's Swimming & Diving Championships, Miami University could be on the cusp of a 17th MAC team title.
As they have all week, Coach Dave Jennings' RedHawks took care of business in Saturday morning's preliminary heats at the Alumni Arena Natatorium by earning six berths in the finals and six more in the consolation finals. In addition, Miami's Nikki Craft will dive in the three-meter event Saturday evening. The RedHawks also will have big-point potential with a top-four finish in the 400 freestyle relay.
Miami currently leads with 436 points. Fifth-place Toledo (256 points) and seventh-place Ball State (239 points) also have six finalists, but second-place Ohio (337 points) has four finalists. Third-place Bowling Green (327 points) has four finalists while fourth-place Buffalo (286 points) has only two individual swimmers in the finals.
Tonight, senior Leah Thornton and freshman Emma Szczupakiewicz will swim in the finals of the 200 backstroke, while sophomore Katie Bootsma and junior Brianna Fujan will line up in the consolation finals.
Seniors Bekka Westrick and Maddie Kete have qualified for the 100 freestyle finals, while sophomore Cynthia Donovan is in that event's consolation finals.
Junior Nicole Wagner is Miami's only finalist in the 200 breaststroke finals, but senior Stacia Schacter and sophomore Gabbie Pettinichi will add points as consolation finalists.
Senior Maegan O'Connor will swim in the finals of the 200 butterfly and Szczupakiewicz will compete in the consolation race.
Miami also will have entries in the 1650 freestyle race that begins Saturday's festivities.