The University of Cincinnati swimming and diving teams competed in the four-day American Athletic Conference swimming and diving championships in Greensboro, North Carolina last week.
Feb. 18 was day one. The Bearcats competed in the 800 meter freestyle relay and the 200 medley relay as well as the diving competition on the men’s three-meter and women’s one-meter boards.
In the men’s 800 freestyle relay, Cincinnati finished 3rd — earning a spot on the podium. The relay was composed of sophomore Eitan Holder, who led off for UC, followed by Connor Davis, Dean Waite and Hunter Pasek, who closed in the anchor leg. Cincinnati clocked in at 6:36.51 just six seconds behind East Carolina University, who took 1st place in the event, finishing in 6:30.55.
On the three-meter diving board, Bill Magill posted a 208.50 score in the preliminary round before finishing with a mark of 107 in the finals to earn 13th place.
The men ended their day with a 4th-place finish in the 200 medley with a time of 1:32.83.
The women earned a fifth 5th place finsih in the 800 freestyle relay with a time of 7:26.64. They also took a fifth place finish in the 200 medley relay, clocking in at 1:43.52.
Freshman Lindsey Miller and teammate Amanda Coffey finished in 16th and 17th place on the one-meter board.
Day two included competition in the 500 freestyle, 200 individual medley, 50 freestyle, 200 yard freestyle relay and the men in the one-meter board.
Sophomore Jackie Keire entered this year’s championships with the top time in the 500 freestyle, and she successfully defended her title with a time of 4:42.68, setting a new meet record.
“It was a good race, our team was loud tonight and I felt it,” said Keire. “[Breaking the record] is good. It’s like I was racing myself from a year ago and I beat her.”
Sophomore Andrea Bartel finished in 6th place in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:04.30.
Swimming in her final league championship meet, Senior Helena Pikhartova touched the wall in 23.27 seconds in the 50 freestyle, giving her a 7th place finish.
In the 200 free style relay, the women’s team was composed of Keire, Pikhartova, Shelby Spitz and Lindsey Niehaus. They were able to get a 2nd place finish with a time of 1:32.66.
For the men, Holder garnered a 7th place finish in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:30.25, and Chris Bready finished just behind him in 4:30.46.
Ryan DePietro and Tyler Roehr swam in the 200 individual medley finals. DePietro placed sixth overall with a time of 1:49.14 and Roehr finished in eighth with a time of 1:50.48.
Holder, Connor Davis, Alex Hutchinson and Dean Waite placed third in the 200 free style relay with a collaborative effort time of 1:21.07. This concluded the second day of competition for the Bearcats.
On day three of the competition, the Bearcats set a total of four school records: one in the 200 free style, two in the 400 individual medley and one in the 100 backstroke.
Keire started it off by posting a time of 1:44.70 in the 200 free style. This time earned her a 1st-place finish; it also broke her own school record of 1:44.73 and is now a new conference record.
DePietro touched the wall in 3:49.08, just .28 seconds ahead of University of Connecticut’s William Franz in the 400 individual medley. His time broke a 16-year-old record of 3:49.79 that was set by Honza Vitazka in 1999.
Bartel set a school record and earned a 2nd-place finish in the women’s 400 individual medley with a time of 4:19.45. The record was previously held by Michelle MacPherson, who had a time of 4:19.77.
Niehaus nearly made it into the finals of the 100 backstroke with a preliminary time of 56.20 seconds. In the finals, she cut 1.47 seconds off her time in the finals and got a 4th-place finish with a time of 54.96 seconds.
Although she missed the podium, Niehaus broke Liz Hansson’s 2011 record of 55.19 seconds.
The Bearcats saw several highlights on the fourth day of competition, including Keire winning her third gold medal in the 100 freestyle.
The women’s 400 freestyle relay placed 3rd with a time of 3:23.29. The relay was composed of Pikhartova, Niehaus, Shelby Spitz and Keire anchored.
The men matched the performance in the final event of the meet as Holder, Davis, Hunter Pasek and Dean Waite placed 3rd with a time of 2:59.12 in the 400 freestyle.
Overall, the women finished the championships in 5th place (461), while the men finished in 4th (642.50).
The Bearcats will wait to see if any of the swimmers will qualify for the 2015 NCAA Swimming Championships.