Van Renen helps Men’s Swim and Dive bring home third place trophy at MAC Championship


Brian Munoz

Freshman Sam Drew competes in a breast stroke time trial Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, at the Edward J. Shea Natatorium in the recreation center. (Brian Munoz | @BrianMMunoz)

The SIU Swim and Dive team swam their hearts out these past few days over in Oxford Ohio for the MAC Championship. The Dawgs edged out Ball State, UIC, Evansville, and Valparaiso for a third place finish with 611.5 points. Only Missouri State (2nd place 713.5) and Miami (1st place 755) had better finishes than the Dawgs.

On day one, the maroon brought home the gold in the 800 freestyle relay with a 6:29.51 time brought on by Selim Hassan, Alex Cimera, Adam Cernek, and Will Chavez. The only other event of the day, the 200 medley relay, also resulted in a Saluki win, however, after a review, one Saluki swimmer was seen to have jumped off the block earlier than the gun, resulting in a disqualification for the Dawgs.

The next morning shined bright for SIU as the day began with a new MAC Championship record setting time in the 200-yard freestyle relay by the quartet of Ruard van Renen, Alex Santiago, Donat Csuvarszki, and Nicolas Barrio Lanuza. Csuvarszki added another record setting moment, when he tied the SIU school record in the 50-meter freestyle with a 19.6 time. Santiago swam in the same race and didn’t finish far behind, with a 19.78 showing for second place.


Lee Haywood dove in the 1 meter diving competition the same day, where he finished just outside of the podium, with a fourth place showing on a 284.5 score.

On day three the Dawgs climbed up to third place after the 400 medley relay team also put up a MAC championship record for another gold medal. The team of Van Renen, Tiago Faleiros, Trey Smith, and Csuvarszki earned a 3:09.47 time to also make their place in school history with their efforts as the new record time holders in the event.

Van Renen continued his dominance in the 100-yard fly with another first place finish. The freshman finished with a 46.1 time, which also marked a personal best. Three more Salukis placed in the top six in the event, in Smith, Jack Khrypunov, and Barrio Lanua, who went back-to-back-to-back in fourth, fifth, and sixth place, finishing just moments apart from one another. Smith finished with a 48.27 time, Khrypunov finished with a 48.34 time, and Barrio Lanua finished with a 48.39 time.

The day finished with yet another Van Renen win in the 100-yard backstroke. He tallied a 45.05 time for his third gold medal of the day, Cernek and John Cameron finished in fourth and seventh places respectfully and timed within about a second of each other at 48.09 and 49.12.

Van Renen hit the backstroke again the next day, with another gold medal in the 200 yard edition of the event. He hit a 1:40.64 time for a new pool record. Csuvarszki kept it going with another win in the 100 freestyle with a 43.16 time and a first place finish, just barely missing his MAC record from last year by .03 seconds. Santiago earned a bronze in the event with a 43.69 time and Cimera came just behind him with a 44.33 time in fourth. 

Then the big finish came. Santiago, Van Renen, Cimera, and Csuvarszki combined for the 400-freestyle relay to cap off the championship strong. The four workhorses powered their way for one last gold medal, taking a 2:52.45 time in the event and beating their previous best by almost four seconds.

The Salukis will now wait for an invitation from the NCAA to compete in the National Invitational Championships in Elkhart Indiana. That meet will start on March 9th and go until the 11th, with hopes to make it to the National Championships nearly two weeks later.


Sports editor Joseph Bernard can be reached at [email protected] or on twitter @Jojobernard2001. 

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