Ensconced in a middle pack well ahead of Evansville and Ball State, but well behind conference frontrunners Eastern Michigan and Missouri State, the men of UB Swimming and Diving came into today poised to finish anywhere from third to fifth in the 2015 MAC Men's Swimming and Diving Championships.
Thanks to the depth they've showed off all meet, in particular to points from all five divers at three meters, the Bulls were able to leap Miami and Southern Illinois in the penultimate event and hold on in the Championships-closing 400 Free Relay to claim third place by a narrow margin.
Behind frontrunners EMU (777.5) and Missouri State (757.5), the Bulls (517) edged the Salukis (515) and RedHawks (507) after trading places after nearly every event. Evansville (146) and Ball State (127) were nonfactors on the weekend.
The highlight for UB on the final day had to be Scott Huang in the 200 breast. The sophomore, who yesterday lost his 100 breast school record to freshman Itai De La Vega, CRUSHED his own school record in the 200 after lowering it in this afternoon's prelims. Prior to this meet, the record stood in the low-1:58 range. Today, Huang swam 1:57.82 before a stunning 1:55.64 to take second in the event.
The other highlight for the Bulls was on the diving board, where all five Bulls in the event earned points. Cade Bennett made his was into the Championship flight and finished fifth, while Troy Bridsall, Derek Linebaugh, Kristian Santos, and Dan Roche all earned points.
As a team, Buffalo got 30 points from the 3-meter dive to Miami's 25 and SIU's 17. The second-to-last event, it put the Bulls ahead just enough to weather a fifth-place finish in the 400 Free Relay.
The third-place finish matches last year's result for UB, though from a points total the Bulls fell further back of EMU and lost ground to Miami and SIU. However, the Bulls are returning nearly everyone to next year's team and may have even a two-year or more window: every name in this post save Linebaugh is a freshman or sophomore.
Congrats on a great season! Go Bulls