BUFFALO, N.Y. - For the 17th time in the 33-year history of the Mid-American Conference meet, Miami University women's swimming and diving stands as champions. It marks the RedHawks' first MAC team title since 2009.
What made Miami's victory even more unique is that the RedHawks climbed to the top of the standings without placing first in any of the 20 individual or relay team events. That has never happened before in the history of MAC women's swimming and diving.
"That definitely shows our depth," said head coach Dave Jennings. "Depth was the determining factor. It's unfortunate that none of our young ladies won an individual championship, but our goal was always to win the team title and that's exactly what we did.
Miami's 621 team points out-distanced runner-up Ohio (505) by 116 points. Bowling Green was third (467), Eastern Michigan was fourth (450), host Buffalo was fifth (421), Toledo placed sixth (394), Ball State was seventh (345), and Akron finished eighth (302).
Senior Bekka Westrick earned first-team All-MAC honors, while senior Leah Thornton, senior Maegan O'Connor, sophomore Courtney Collett, freshman Aubrey Kluth and junior Nicole Wagner were chosen as second-team All-MAC selections.
In the 1650 freestyle, Miami had four who earned points. Collett placed sixth (16:56.20), sophomore Stephanie Pearce finished eighth (17:01.21), Kluth touched 10th (17:08.29) and senior Molly Tyler (17:16.68) placed 14th. After that event, Miami maintained its 99-point lead over Ohio, 470-371.
In event 16, the 200 backstroke, Thornton (2:01.23)and freshman Emma Szczupakiewicz (2:02.73) placed seventh and eighth, respectively, in the finals. Sophomore Katie Bootsma (season-best 2:00.64) finished 10th and junior Brianna Fujan (season-best 2:01.12) wound up in 12th place.
In the 100 freestyle finals, Westrick finished third with a time of 50.00 and senior Maddie Kete (50.92) placed eighth. Cynthia Donovan earned her team three additional points with a 14th-place finish (51.41). After 17 events, Miami had increased its lead to 110 points over Ohio, 535 to 425.
Wagner was the RedHawks' only finalist in the 200 breaststroke event, winning 11 points for her team with a time of 2:18.40. Sophomore Gabbie Pettinichi (season-best 2:18.54) and senior Stacia Schacter (2:18.83) were 12th and 14th, respectively.
O'Connor placed eighth in the 200 butterfly, touching the wall in a time of 2:01.46. Szczupakiewicz finished 13th overall (2:03.91). Following that event, Miami's lead had shrunk to a still comfortable 80 points over Bowling Green, 569 to 489.
Junior Nikki Craft earned a fourth-place finish on the three-meter board with a score of 331.90, giving her team 15 more points. Senior Corey Bangs placed 14th overall with a score of 273.75.
In the final event of the evening, Miami's 400 freestyle relay team of Westrick, Thornton, Donovan and Kete placed second in a time of 3:22.10. Buffalo won the event.
While the season ends for the majority of the RedHawk swimmers and divers, there will likely be some individuals that advance on to NCAA meet competition.
In addition to the MAC championship, Miami finished the dual meet season with a record of 10-1 and had a perfect 6-0 mark against conference competition.
The team is expected to arrive in Oxford Sunday at approximately 4 p.m. in the Rec Center (Campus Avenue) parking lot.