Daily Egyptian

Underclassmen lead at MAC Championship

By Jack Robinson

SIU freshman swimmer Till Pallmann was selected to the All-MAC first team and the SIU swim team placed fifth overall at the Mid-American Conference swim meet.

The SIU men’s swimming and diving team competed in the March 7-9 MAC Championships to conclude its season. The meet featured six teams including SIU, Eastern Michigan University, University of Buffalo, Evansville, Missouri State, Miami University of Ohio and Ball State.

Pallmann, an international student-athlete from Zweibrucken, Germany, led the team through the weekend with three top-three finishes. His first win came in the 500-yard freestyle, when he outlasted sophomore Caleb Schuermann of Missouri State and won the race clocked at 4 minutes and 21.80 seconds. He continued his success in the 200-yard freestyle race, when he swam the fastest in Saluki history in the finals with a time of 1:36.79 to place third in the meet. Pallmann was less than half of a second from first-place swimmer from Eastern Michigan sophomore Brian Moore, who swam a 1:36.45 in the finals.

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Aside from Pallmann, two underclassman swimmers were selected to the All-MAC team. Sophomore Calvin Kolar was selected to the second team based on his third-place finish and 55.45 time in the 100-yard breaststroke. Sophomore Keagan Skelton was also selected to the second team after he placed second in the 3-meter diving competition.

Coach Rick Walker said he was pleased with how his younger swimmers performed at the MAC meet.

“For more than half our team, this was their first MAC Championship,” he said. “I loved our enthusiasm to rise to the big stage. Sometimes we make youthful mistakes, but you can’t fault the effort our young men put out there. All our major scorers were young, and they’re only going to get better.”

SIU senior Thomas Defay made his way into the record books in the 200-yard individual medley race. Defay was the first Saluki in more than 14 years who swam below 1:50 in the race. In the prelim race, he posted a personal-best 1:49.9 in the preliminary race to earn a spot in the finals as well as Saluki history. He was clocked at 1:51.62 in the finals and placed eighth to finish his Saluki career.

Eastern Michigan took the meet with 772 points over the weekend. Runner-up Missouri State was only six points behind the Eagles, and the Salukis finished fifth with 391 points. This was Eastern Michigan’s 31st MAC championship in school history.

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