Swimming/Diving: ‘Cats In Second Place With One Day Left

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In the second day of MAC Championship competition in Akron on Friday, Ohio University fell short to Toledo by 11 points.

The Bobcats started the day in first place over Buffalo, but as the day progressed, Toledo stepped up and brought the heat on Ohio.

“There’s a target on my back as well as the entire team’s but I’m confident because this is my race,” Rachel Stearns said. Stearns placed second in the 100-meter Backstroke and was the top qualifier of the morning for the same event on Friday. She will compete in the finals for the 200-meter Backstroke Saturday night.

Overall, the Bobcats qualified six swimmers in the morning to compete in the evening’s finals. Other finalists included Laurin Williams and Petra Chomicz in the 400-yard Individual Medley, Amanda Cecere in the 100-yard Butterfly, Emma Michaels in the 200 yard Freestyle, and Tori Bagan in the 100-yard Breaststroke. The Bobcats also qualified the 800-yard Freestyle relay team, finishing in second place.

“We’ve got to get the job done in the morning,” head coach Greg Werner said. In order to advance to the evening’s finals events, each individual and relay team must qualify by placing in the top 16 spots. From there, they would compete in the evening’s final heats to earn the team points by placing in the top eight positions.

Four of Ohio's five divers qualified for Saturday competition, too.

“That was one of our strategies, to take five divers instead of three and hopefully that strategy pays off," Werner said. "If we had six, we would take six.”

Werner said diving is a strength of this year’s team, and that while planning for this year’s championships that was taken into consideration. Mary Rose Hillstrom set a new school record diving from the one-meter board Thursday. Saturday, freshman Morgan Srail will compete in the finals of three-meter diving for the Bobcats, while the remaining three will compete in the consolidation finals.

The team hopes to return Saturday, for the last day of competition and take back the lead and gain their second consecutive MAC Championship. Last year, the Bobcats topped the Toledo Rockets by just 39 points for their second championship in four years.

“We need to get behind each other, we need to cheer… at the end it doesn’t really matter individually; all the little races all the big races, they all go towards that MAC Championship title” Stearns said.

Ohio will continue its quest for its 12th MAC Championship Saturday, in the final day of events.