Rockets Swimming and Diving team wins MAC Championship

February 27, 2012 | News, UToday
By Brad Pettiford

The Toledo swimming and diving team entered day three of the Mid-American Conference Championship in first place and that’s where the Rockets finished, winning the 2012 MAC Swimming and Diving Championship.

The UT women's swimming and diving team won the Mid-American Conference Championship in Akron.

With five swimmers earning first-team All-MAC honors and two others earning second-team All-MAC, UT scored 635 points to out-duel rival Ohio, which finished second with 612 points.

After ending the first day in third place, trailing leader Ohio by 80 points, Toledo came up huge on the second day, scoring 236 points to jump into first place.

Counting all three days of the championships, the Rockets won nine events and set numerous pool, school, meet and conference records. In all, they set eight pool records, five championship meet records and four MAC records to go along with 12 school records.

“It feels great to be a champion,” said Head Coach Liz Hinkleman, who was named MAC Coach of the Year. “The girls never gave up and fought hard in every single race.”

UT held an 11-point lead heading into the final day, but Ohio was able to regain a 523-496 advantage following a 1-2 finish in the 200 backstroke and scoring four swimmers in the 100 freestyle. Toledo quickly recovered by placing three swimmers in the top eight of the 200 breaststroke and two swimmers in the top five of the 200 butterfly, providing a 595-544 lead.

Toledo held on throughout the final two events to bring home the victory, 635-612.

To start the final day, Claire Leichty successfully defended her title in the 1650 freestyle, winning in a meet record time of 16:11.80. Providing depth in the 1650 free were Rachel Johnson (fourth place, 16:34.18), Louise Smyth (fifth place, 16:35.56), Kristen Clemmons (12th place, 17:03.57) and Gillian Staudt (15th place, 17:10.65).

Christina Noens swam to a third-place finish in the 200 backstroke in 1:58.47 (NCAA ‘B’), and Maria Bargardi placed seventh in 1:59.58.

Carly Harter placed second in the 100 freestyle in 49.75.

Laura Lindsay doubled up as an individual conference champion, taking first in the 200 breaststroke in 2:09.79, breaking the pool record, meet record and MAC record. LesLee Winfield placed fourth in a time of 2:17.00. Also scoring points were Meredith Gibbon (eighth place, 2:20.61) and Melissa Auckley (11th place, 2:17.87).

Beth Rogers won the 200 butterfly in 1:57.87, breaking the pool record, meet record and MAC record. McKenzie Bagan placed fifth in a time of 2:01.46.

Nicki Schropp placed seventh in the three-meter dive, scoring 305.75 points. She was the first Toledo diver to score points in four years.

The win marks the second conference championship in three years for the Rockets, and the first for Hinkleman, who is in her second year at the helm of Toledo swimming and diving.

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