Men's Swimming And Diving Claims Horizon League Championship
Feb. 28, 2009
BROWN DEER, Wis. - After four days of outstanding, record-breaking performances from the entire squad, the UIC men's swimming and diving team claimed the 2009 Horizon League Championship on Saturday night.
The Flames claimed victory with 703 points, over 120 points more than the team scored at the 2008 championships, where they finished fourth a year ago. Defending champs Wright State (685), Milwaukee (647), Cleveland State (612), Green Bay (583) and Valparaiso (183) rounded out the six-team field.
Going into the final event, the Flames held a 12 point lead before the start of the 400 free relay as the Raiders closed in after a trio of WSU divers made the three-meter finals.
Wright State held a slight lead going into the final leg, but Brian Anderson opened with a monster :19.93 50 free split, and pulled away for a Flames victory and the league title, winning in 2:57.04, which was a new league record and an NCAA `B' cut time.
For the turnaround between fourth in 2008 and the championship this evening, UIC head coach Paul Moniak was named Horizon League Coach of the Year for the Flames' exceptional performance in Wisconsin this weekend.
"We knew we had a solid team heading into the championship, and it's great to see hard work pay off," said Moniak after his first Horizon League title. "I'm incredibly proud of the entire team."
Earlier in the evening, UIC's freshman distance swimmers set the squad up for the win with great success in the 1650 free in the first final of the day.
Zach Van Swol (15:44.07) finished second, right ahead of Luke Martinez (15:47.38) and Alex Webster (16:04.60), who all took massive chunks of time off their previous season-bests prior to today's competition.
Brian Anderson earned another runner-up finish in the 100 free in 44.20, breaking the Flames' four-year old record set by LeRoy Stevens in 2005, followed by Will Ikeda's third-place finish in the 200 breaststroke (2:02.02).
Saturday's 18-point victory over the Raiders marks the narrowest margin of victory in league history, and also ends Wright State's two-year title reign.
Horizon League Champions