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Saluki men set new school record in 200-yard Medley Relay, finish Day 1 of MAC Swim & Dive Championship tied for third overall

Junior+Alex+Crawford+braces+before+the+start+of+the+200-yard+backstroke+race+Saturday%2C+Dec.+3%2C+2016%2C+during+the+Saluki+men%27s+team%27s+195-93+loss+to+Missouri+State+at+Edward+J.+Shea+Natatorium.+Crawford+finished+in+fourth+place+with+a+time+of+1%3A53.84.+%28Morgan+Timms+%7C+%40Morgan_Timms%29
Junior Alex Crawford braces before the start of the 200-yard backstroke race Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, during the Saluki men's team's 195-93 loss to Missouri State at Edward J. Shea Natatorium. Crawford finished in fourth place with a time of 1:53.84. (Morgan Timms | @Morgan_Timms)

Junior Alex Crawford braces before the start of the 200-yard backstroke race Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, during the Saluki men's team's 195-93 loss to Missouri State at Edward J. Shea Natatorium. Crawford finished in fourth place with a time of 1:53.84. (Morgan Timms | @Morgan_Timms)

Morgan Timms

Morgan Timms

Junior Alex Crawford braces before the start of the 200-yard backstroke race Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, during the Saluki men's team's 195-93 loss to Missouri State at Edward J. Shea Natatorium. Crawford finished in fourth place with a time of 1:53.84. (Morgan Timms | @Morgan_Timms)

By Denton "Gio" Giovenco

SIU serves as host to the 2017 Mid-American Conference Men’s Swimming & Diving Championship, which began Wednesday at Edward J. Shea Natatorium.

Seven schools compete in the 2017 MAC Championship in a total of twenty-one individual and team events.

The schools participating in these events, and battling for the overall 2017 MAC Team Championship title, include Ball State, Buffalo, Evansville, Eastern Michigan, Miami (OH), Missouri State, and host school Southern Illinois.

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Day 1 of the 2017 MAC Championship consisted of the 200-yard Medley Relay and the 800-yard Freestyle Relay.

SIU’s 200-yard Medley Relay team included junior Alex Crawford, senior Bobby Wood, junior Joao Facciotti and senior Andre Brilhante. These four Saluki swimmers recorded a time of 1:27.51 to take second place, setting a new school record in this event by besting the mark of 1:28.68 set during the 2014-2015 season.

The time of 1:27.51 also bested the standing pool record of 1:27.87, set in 2011 by Buffalo.

“For us to come out that fired up and that kind of fast — not bad at all,” said coach Rick Walker. “We had the second or third fastest backstroke, second fastest breaststroke, second fastest fly and the fastest freestyle leg of anybody in any other relay. I think they’re ready to go … they got some speed, and I’m very excited about that.”

SIU finished the night with sophomore Reilly Garman, freshman Kevin Kluge, junior Michael Wolfe, and senior Filippo Dell’Olio teaming up for the 800-yard Freestyle Relay. The Saluki swimmers would finish this event with a time of 6:39.04 to take fifth place.

“I think these guys [800-yard Freestyle Relay team] did a great job holding their own and not actually letting it get away from them,” said Walker. “Great splits, and good for them that they got that swim in, because we will be ready to go tomorrow and the days to come.”

With three more days covering nineteen events left in the MAC Championship, Walker is confident in SIU’s overall chances.

“The way we usually go through a meet like this, we keep getting stronger and stronger and stronger each day,” he said. “If we’re focusing on what we need to do, then we will give ourselves the best chance.”

SIU enters Day two of competition with 62 team points, tied for third with 2016 MAC Team Champions Eastern Michigan.

Day two of the 2017 MAC Championship will begin with preliminaries for the 500-yard Freestyle, 200-yard IM and 50-yard Freestyle at 11 a.m. Thursday. The 1-Meter Dive preliminaries start at 1 p.m, followed by the finals of all events, including the 200-yard Freestyle Relay, beginning at 7 p.m.

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