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MAC Women's Swimming & Diving Championships

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The MAC brings the Women's Swimming & Diving Championships to the Ocasek Natatorium this week, and the 5-time defending champs (and nationally ranked) Zips get to try for 6 in a row.  Two teams have won 7 in a row previously.  Despite some set-backs with injuries during the looooong season, I think the Zips will have little problem with taking their 6th title.  Here's why:

WEDNESDAY - only two events, both relays, and Akron has dominated the relays in the MACs in every Championship year.  They are deep, and it shows in relays more than anywhere else.  Their season best in the 200 Individual Medley relay is a full second faster than Eastern Michigan, and their best in the 800 Freestyle relay is 13 seconds faster than Miami's.  Two wins on Day 1.

 

THURSDAY - Sadie Fazekas and Broooke Lamoreaux will score in the 500 Free, but look for Ohio or Buffalo to win, and Miami is always deep at the distances.  Sarah Watson and Ellie Nebraska could go 1-2 (or 2-1) in the 200 Individual Medley, with Buffalo's Olivia Sapio in the mix.  Watson hit the NCAA qualifying standard already.  The 50 Free should see as many as 5 Zips make the Championship final with Fazekas the favorite, but watch for Sophia Hennell to challenge.  Both have met NCAA qualifying times.  We're weak on the boards this season, but Katey Applin should make finals in the 1-meter, and then the 200 Free relay should be ours, as the quartet already met the NCAA standard.

 

FRIDAY - The 400 IM should see Sapio with gold but Zipper Jackie Pash, if healthy, might sneak past her.  Akron's Emma King and Ohio's Hannah Schlegel should duel it out for third.  We own the 100 Butterfly with Fazekas, Watson and Paulina Nogaj 3 of the fastest 4 in the field.  Same for the 200 Free, with Fazekas, Nogaj, Nebraska and Avery Movold wrapped around Miami's Camila Lins di Mello in the top 5.  EMU (Delaney Duncan with an NCAA time) will more than likely go 1-2 in the 100 Breaststroke but could be challenged by our Paula Garcia.  Fazekas and Daisy Platts of Bowling Green have already hit NCAA times in the 100 Backstroke, but it's wide open from there.  Karly Crail could make finals in the 3-meter dive, and then the Zips should take the 400 Medley relay, as we're 4 seconds faster than EMU.

 

SATURDAY - it should be already over when the pool opens Saturday, but you never know.  The 1,650 meter Free is like the marathon of track and field, it's all by itself as an event, and it takes a different type athlete to compete in it, let alone win it.  look for Ohio's Schlegel to win this one.  The 200 Back should be the highlight of the day, as Platts, Movold and Nicole Roitenberg of Buffalo all have met NCAA standard times and within .4 seconds of each other.  We could have 5 of the 8 finalists in the 100 Free with Watson and Fazekas at NCAA marks.  Andrea Fischer could surprise for Akron in the 200 Breast.  And Nogaj and Mackenzie Vargas should dominate in the 200 Back, and watch for Watson to make it a sweep.  

 

Preliminaries get underway each day at 10:30.  Diving prelims follow.  Finals are at 6:30 and there is a consolation final (qualifiers 9 through 16) and a championship final (1-8) in each event, and both score, so that's why depth plays such a huge part in the title.  Find some more space on the Ocasek wall for the sixth banner.

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WOW!  Two events, two firsts, two meet records, two MAC records, two Ocasek records.  In the 200 Medley relay Sadie Fazekas, Paula Garcia, Sarah Watson and Raven Engel won by breaking their old record and hitting the “A” standard time for the NCAA.  Then in the 800 Freestyle relay it was Avery Movold, Paulina Nogaj, Watson and Ellie Nebraska beating the MAC and meet record by over 3seconds and the Ocasek record by over 6 seconds!  Miami started the strongest but Nogaj caught them in the second leg and Watson pulled away.

 

80 points - Thursday should be fun.

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Two days in the books, and a commanding lead, brought to us by some stellar performance from our youngins and our vets.  We had two Championship finalists in the 500 Free in Emma King and Mackenzie Vargas.  Then it was Freshman Sarah Watson taking the Championship in the 200 Individual Medley, with Paulina Nogaj, Ellie Nebraska and Jackie Pash all making the Champ finals as well.  In the 50 Free it was Beast-mode Senior Sadie Fazekas, who has been so focused this meet, taking the title with a sizzling 22.20 second time, and teammates Ragen Engel, Sofia Hennell and Morgan Waggoner sweeping the other top 4 slots.  All meeting NCAA standard.  Then a surprise as Freshman Kami Goodrick took silver in the 1 meter dive.  Great story on this kid; she was a stellar high school gymnast who had to quit due to an injury but tried diving as a replacement, and after just one year of diving won the Ohio High School Championship.  And she got us 17 points tonight.  Karly Crail was a finalist as well.  And to cap off the night it was our 200 yard Freestyle relay team won gold by 2 seconds over Buffalo, and the team of Engel, Fazekas, Hennell and Waggoner blister a 1:28.554 time, good for a new meet, MAC and Ocasek record, and an A standard for NCAA in the process.  The Zips have 319 points to Easter Michigan's 221 points, and Buffalo is at 199 points.  Some good stuff....

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If you weren’t there, you don’t have a clue how exciting last night was.  Even a casual fan would have realized how special it was.  6 events and the last   5 were all record setting.  Amazing how simple swimming and track are.  The fastest wins.  In the 400 Individual Medley Olivia Sapio won for Buffalo as Zip Jackie Pash made a furious attempt to catch here, but took silver.  Then it started.  100 Butterly MEET AND MAC RECORD by Zip Frosh Sarah Watson, plus Paulina Nogaj takes silver and MorganWaggon 6th.  BAM!  200 Freestyle and Frosh Camila Lin’s de Mello of Miami sets a MEET AND OCASEK record, Sofia Hennell wins Bronze and Avery Movold and Ellie Nebraska place in Championship final. WOO HOO!  EMU’s Delaney Duncan breaks the MEET, MAC AND OCASEK record in the 100 Breaststroke.  Zip Paula Garcia takes silver, Andrea Fisher 5th.  Hold On to your swim caps!  Zip Sadie Fazekas breaks the MEET AND MAC record in the 100 Backstroke!  She’s been awesome IMHO.  Then the Zip team set a new MEET, MAC AND OCASEK record in the 400 Medley Relay!  5 records falling in a row,  and the ONAT was rocking!  Oh yeah, and as I thought, the team title isn’t even in doubt, as Akron leads EMU by almost 200 points!  With only Saturday in play.  I know everyone will be concentrating on the two B-Ball games at the JAR tonight, but your Zip swimmers are about to win their 6th title in a row.

Edited by ZipsVoice
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I watched it on ESPN+ after I got home last night.  I got all wrapped up in it!  It was fun to watch!  You could tell the crowd was having a blast.

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Saturday was just a formality, but a fun one, as the Zips won their sixth straight MAC Championships.  Mackenzie Vargas defended her title in the 200 Fly successfully, with teammates Paulina Nogaj and Jessica Bonezzi sweeping the medals.  EMU's Delaney Duncan showed why she was Swimmer of the Year with her record in the 200 Back, with Zip Paula Garcia taking silver.  Sarah Watson won the 100 Free setting up her title as Freshman Swimmer of the Year, and Morgan Waggoner, Sadie Fazekas, Ragen Engel and Ellie Nebraska made it a 1-2-3-4-5 sweep for Akron.  Avery Movold and Olivia Gardner made the Championship finals in the 200 Back.  Akron was shut out of the 1,650 Free, but no big deal.  And Karly Crail r3ocvered for a silver in the 3 meter dive, with Kami Goodrick placing 5th and was named Freshman Diver of the Year.  Akron 0ut an exclamation point o n the meet with a 2 second besting of the Meet, MAc and Ocacek records in the 400 Free Relay, as Engel, Wtson, Fazekas and Henell clocked in at 3:14.42.  Total score - 867 points to EMU's 583 in second.  Mde up for the stinker in the JAR that afternoon.  

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