If it feels like a long time since Swimming and Diving competed in Buffalo, it's because it has been. The last time we got to see the teams live, women's soccer hadn't yet topped Western Michigan to claim the MAC title, and the last time they competed at all, volleyball was still a week from wrapping up their season. For starting their season so early in the winter, today's meet against Canisius will be the only competition for the Bulls in a 49-day stretch.
To the extent that there are narratives in swimming, they were pretty simple for UB coming into today: the women have handily taken on all comers thanks in large part to near-unbeatable speed in the freestyle races, while the men have been improving fast since a disappointing showing earlier in the season against Army and Michigan State.
I would say; "In the end, it wasn't a fair fight," but it wasn't much of a fight in the beginning either, as both teams won handily. I don't have scores but I don't need them: Buffalo did not lose a single race.
Normally I would list the winners, but it's really too exhaustive a list after UB completely dominated start to finish. I thought that UB was showing mercy in the diving events when no Bulls were listed, but Cade Bennett and Valerie Lortie each claimed Buffalo wins from the platform
We'll just go with the multiple winners and notable times.
For the Women:
Megan Burns continued to do her thing, winning both the 50 and 100 free and throwing down not just UB season best, but #9 all-time, times in each, finishing in 23.45 and 51.09. Claudia Casale also put down a UB season-best 2:06.82 in the 200 yard backstroke.
At the other end of the freestyle spectrum, Jess Powers dominated like usual in the distance events, claiming victories in the 1000, 500, and 200 yard races. She may very well have put up season-best times but the timing pad in Lane 4 sometimes malfunctioned, twice on her victories.
Spencer Rodriguez continued her strong year with a win in the 200 individual medley and likely as part of the winning 400 free relay (See note below). Taylor Steffl and Eve Kosten likewise may have added a 400 free relay win to their win in the 400 medley relay.
For the Men:
Charles Barry and Matt Bitara swam season-best efforts in the first half of the meet in the 1000 free (9:34.05) and 200 yard individual medley (1:54.15), respectively. Barry became a double-winner with an easy win in the 200 back, while Billy Patrum joined him with victories in the 200 freestyle and butterfly races, and then one-upped his teammate in claiming the 500 free, as well.
Freshman speedster Oliver Patrouch claimed an individual and relay win in the 100 freestyle and 400 medley relay, but Scott Huang's 2:06.42 in the 200 breaststroke was the highlight of the later events, as it not only marked a season-best for any UB swimmer in the event, but is the seventh-fastest all-time 200 breast by a Bull.
Also of note was the tie at 21.70 between Andrew Cole-Goins and Andrew Durrence in the 100 free.
No UB names were listed in the lineup sheet for either 400 free relay, so I'll just have to update later, because I don't know the swimmers by sight by any means. We can probably guess that Rodriguez, Steffl, Kosten, and Burns made up the winning relay on the women's side, while Patrouch, Jensen and Bitara were part of the winning men's foursome.
The Bulls have now wrapped up their 2014 competitions and will next compete on Saturday, January 10th, when they host the Niagara Purple Eagles at the Alumni Arena Natatorium. We already got a look at how the two teams stack up back at the season-opening WNY Invitational, and while everyone's presumably gotten faster, things look good for the Blue and White.