The Bowling Green State University swimming team finished third at the Mid-American Conference Championships for the second consecutive season, scoring 476 points to edge out the 467 the team scored a year ago. The team completed the third and final day of the meet Saturday at SPIRE Institute.
Akron won the meet with 574 points and Miami was second with 496, just 20 ahead of the Falcons. Bowling Green used a school-record breaking performance in the final event of the night to edge out Eastern Michigan for third place. The Eagles scored 469 points. Buffalo was fifth with 446 points and Ohio followed with 362. Toledo had 348 points and Ball State was last with 334.
On the final night of the event, Bowling Green got second place finishes by freshman Victoria Griffin in the 100 freestyle and Daniela Carrillo in the 200 breaststroke to help overcome the absence of divers. BGSU led Eastern Michigan by 47 points heading into the 3-meter diving finals but the Eagles earned 46 points to close the gap with one event remaining.
BGSU's 400 free relay team made sure the Falcons would retain third place. Griffin, Brittany Szekely, Joelle Scheps and Hannah Newman swam a school record 3:20.49 to place second and well ahead of EMU. The previous school record was more than three seconds slower at 3:23.78.
The evening began with Bowling Green in third place in the overall standings but the Falcons knew every point was important to hold that spot with diving points being awarded later in the night. The biggest test of endurance in collegiate swimming, the 1650 freestyle, was first on the schedule. Sophomore Alexandra Poitinger had a personal best 16:53.93 to finish seventh and Emily Waller set a PR with 16:56.93 to place eighth.
The Falcons needed strong results in the 100 freestyle and the 200 breaststroke and got those. Three of the top 11 finishers in the 100 freestyle were Bowling Green swimmers and Griffin broke her own school record with a time of 49.83 seconds to place second. Scheps swam a personal best 50.83 to win the consolation final and Szekely went 50.98 to place third in that heat.
In the 200 breatstroke, Carrillo also came through with a second-place finish, swimming 2:12.58 to win. Stephanie Boyle was sixth in 2:17.65 and Carmen Young set a personal best time of 2:18.76 in the consolation heat to place fourth.
In the final event before diving, sophomore Jordan Bullock posted a strong 2:01.81 in the 200 butterfly to end fifth overall.
It marks the first time the program has finished third or higher at the MAC Championships in back-to-back seasons since 1992 and 1993. In fact, the 1993 team that ended second is the last BGSU swimming team to finish higher than third at the league finals.
In all, Bowling Green broke six school records and tied another during the three days of the MAC Championships.
BGSU has announced that it will add diving for the 2015 season, a fact that will allow the Falcons a realistic attempt at winning a MAC Championship. Bowling Green's 476 points all came in swimming events as the only team in the MAC without a diving program currently. Akron led the way with 510 points from swimming but BGSU was second. Miami picked up 456 points in swimming and Buffalo had 423. Eastern Michigan was fifth in points from swimming with 396.
The Falcons will now await word on whether any team members qualify for NCAA Championships, which will take place March 20-22 in Minneapolis, Minn.