Below find the fourth post of the UB Swimming and Diving preview, covering the Men's team's depth in breaststroke, backstroke, and the individual medleys. The Bulls open their year this Friday at the Florida Gulf Coast Invite.
UB is LOADED at the breaststroke. Itai De La Vega ("SWIM DLV") was a freshman star last year, setting a new school record and hitting the NCAA B Cut in the 100. He swam the breaststroke legs in UB's medley relays and finished second in the 100 among an extremely strong field at the MAC Championships. He also earned points (13th) in the 200.
Scott Huang boasts a school record of his own, in the 200, and a pair of B Cuts in this stroke. You'll also see him in the IMs, but here he was a double finalist at the MAC Championships, finishing tied for fifth (100) and in second (200). Garrett Clarke ALSO hit B Cuts and earned points (12th and 7th) in both events last year.
Backstroke isn't necessarily a place of strength for UB, but they have a few point-earners returning that should move up in the MAC pecking order this year. Jon Ekas swims the backstroke leg of medleys for the Bulls and is coming off a 10th-place MAC finish in the 100. Hudson Carroll may be more impressive, though. He matched Ekas in the 100 at MAC Champs and also took sixth in the 200. Charles Barry makes another appearance here. He was 11th in the 200 last year.
The IMs are a story of two distances. On the short end, we've got the breaststrokers and the speedster: Scott Huang finished sixth in the 200 at MACs, while Garrett Clarke finished 16th. I don't remember Lanzi swimming this event much, and I doubt he picks it up more given his importance at freestyle.
On the longer edge, we see the usual cluster of distance guys. It's another event bolstered by the return of Bill Caffee, who finished ninth in the MAC in 2014 (and would have been 4th had he qualified for the final). In 2015, Charles Barry finished fourth, Billy Patrum fifth, and Callum Liddiard sixth. I'm sure we'll see Reid Zyniecki and Huang plenty at 400 this year, as well.
Matt Bitara, no longer with the team, was fairly strong at the 200 IM, but finished only 13th at MAC Champs in the 200. If Zach Towers gets time here, he can effectively replace that showing.
This is the fourth of a five-part preview leading up to Swimming and Diving's season opener in Florida next Friday. Prior and upcoming previews: