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Four Salukis receive individual honors as SIU claims fifth place at MAC Swim & Dive Championships

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Saluki senior Filippo Dell’Olio celebrates after realizing that he took first place in the 200-yard butterfly on day four of the 2017 Mid-American Conference Men’s Swimming & Diving Championship on Saturday, March 4, 2017, at Edward J. Shea Natatorium. Dell’Olio completed the race with a final time of 1:45.55. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

Saluki senior Filippo Dell’Olio celebrates after realizing that he took first place in the 200-yard butterfly on day four of the 2017 Mid-American Conference Men’s Swimming & Diving Championship on Saturday, March 4, 2017, at Edward J. Shea Natatorium. Dell’Olio completed the race with a final time of 1:45.55. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

Saluki senior Filippo Dell’Olio celebrates after realizing that he took first place in the 200-yard butterfly on day four of the 2017 Mid-American Conference Men’s Swimming & Diving Championship on Saturday, March 4, 2017, at Edward J. Shea Natatorium. Dell’Olio completed the race with a final time of 1:45.55. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

By Denton "Gio" Giovenco

The 2017 Men’s Mid-American Conference Swimming & Diving Championships came to a close Saturday at Edward J. Shea Natatorium, with SIU taking a fifth place finish in team overall standings.

The overall team championship was decided on the last event of the MAC Championships on Saturday night.

Two-time defending champions Eastern Michigan came into day four of competition in third place, trailing first place Missouri State by 87 team points.

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Their bid for their third championship finish in three years would rely heavily on individual performances in the 200-yard backstroke and 3-meter dive events.

Eastern Michigan made a big stride towards closing the gap between them and Missouri State by claiming 69 team points in the 200-yard backstroke to Missouri State’s 9 team points in this event. This was accomplished in part by a first-second-third finish by Eastern Michigan swimmers Tosh Kawaguchi, Cole Bateman and Matan Segal respectively.

The event that finally turned-the-tide for Eastern Michigan was the fifth of the night, the 3-meter Dive.

Eastern Michigan scored 80 team points in this event, with six dive team members claiming team points in the finals – led by diver Alexander Chan who took first place with a score of 422.75 that ties the MAC Meet record he set in 2016. Missouri State did not have a diver in the 3-meter Dive finals, taking no team points from the event.

Going into the sixth and final event of the night – and of the MAC Championships — Eastern Michigan held the lead with 685 team points to Missouri State’s 682 team points.

Eastern Michigan had to finish either directly behind or better than Missouri State in the meet’s final event, the 400-yard Freestyle Relay, to secure the overall championship.

They accomplished this with a third place finish in the event to earn 32 team points, directly behind Missouri State in second place earning 34 team points.

With the finish of the 400-yard Freestyle Relay in the books, the 2017 MAC Swim & Dive Championships came to a close with Eastern Michigan claiming their third championship in three years with a team overall score of 717 — besting Missouri State’s team overall score of 716 by only one team point.

At the close of the MAC Swim & Dive Championships, four Saluki men claimed individual honors — three from the swim team and one from the dive team.

Senior swimmers Andre Brilhante and Filippo Dell’Olio both received All-MAC 1st Team honors.

Brilhante was also named Most Outstanding Senior at the MAC Swim & Dive Championships.

Senior swimmer Bobby Wood received All-MAC 2nd Team honors, while freshman diver Kai Hoffmann-Dussome claimed Freshman Diver of the Year.

“I would say right now some of our sprints are going to be strong, our distances are going to be strong,” coach Rick Walker said Wednesday.

This proved true, with seven Saluki swimmers receiving NCAA B Cut considerations for the 2017 NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships in both sprint and distance events.

Dell’Olio received B Cut considerations in the 200-yard IM (1:47.05, third place), 400-yard IM (3:49.98, second place) and 200-yard Butterfly (1:45.55, first place) events.

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

Dell’Olio’s finish of 3:49.98 in the 400-yard IM broke the pool record of 3:51.26 set in 2013. He also set a new MAC match record of 1:45.55 in the 200-yard Butterfly, besting the previous record of 1:45.78 set in 2015.

Brilhante received B Cut considerations in the 50-yard Freestyle (20.15, second place) and the 200-yard Freestyle (1:37.40, first place) events. He also swam to a second place finish in the 100-yard Freestyle event at the MAC Swim & Dive Championships with a final time of 44.56, narrowly missing B Cut considerations in the event by 0.27 seconds.

Eastern Michigan junior Logan Burton celebrates with teammates after becoming the 2017 Mid-American Conference champions on day four of the championship on Saturday, March 4, 2017, at Edward J. Shea Natatorium. “I was really nervous after the first day, but as a group we pulled it together for the win,” Burton said. “It’s unreal. Winning three years in a row is great, greatest feeling on Earth. I’m just happy that we could do it all together.” The team narrowly defeated Missouri State with first and second place team scores of 717 and 716 respectively. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

Wood received B Cut considerations in the 100-yard Breaststroke (54.76, seventh place) and 200-yard Breaststroke (1:57.13, second place) events.

Wood’s finish of 1:57.13 in the 200-yard Breaststroke broke the pool record of 1:57.54 set in 2013.

Junior swimmer Joao Facciotti received B Cut consideration in the 100-yard Butterfly event while placing fifth with a finals time of 48.13.

Junior swimmer Michael Wolfe received B Cut consideration in the 1650-yard Freestyle event while placing fourth with a finals time of 15:27.62.

Eastern Michigan senior Alexander Chan participates in the three-meter dive on day four of the 2017 Mid-American Conference Men’s Swimming & Diving Championship on Saturday, March 4, 2017, at Edward J. Shea Natatorium. Chan placed first in the event. Eastern Michigan narrowly defeated Missouri State to become the 2017 Mid-American Conference champions with first and second place team scores of 717 and 716 respectively. (Jacob Wiegand | @jawiegandphoto)

Next on the SIU Swimming & Diving team’s schedule is the NCAA Zone C Diving Championships March 9 – 11, followed by the NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships March 22 – 25. Both events will be held at the Indiana University Natatorium in Bloomington, Indiana.

Sports writer Denton “Gio” Giovenco can be reached at dgiovenco@dailyegyptian.com or on Twitter @DentonGiovenco.

To stay up to date with all your SIU sports news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

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