The Akron Zips won their first championship relay in school history to start Thursday evening and would up accumulating 201 points and a 34-point lead after the first of three days at the Mid-American Conference Swimming and Diving Championships.
The Zips set a pool record by completing the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:31.53. They finished only 15 one-hundredths of a second ahead of Buffalo's team (1:31.68) and less than a half-second ahead of Bowling Green (1:31.95).
Ashley Drazkowski brought home a third-place finish for Akron in the 500-yard freestyle championship, and the Zips had two swimmers place in the top eight of the 200 individual medley.
Akron swimmers got back to their winning ways when Hannah Raspopovich swam to a pool-record 0:22.76 in the 50-yard freestyle. She completed her swim only three one-hundredths of a second before Ball State's Haley Richter (0:22.79). Taylor Hart finished fourth in the race for the Zips.
The Zips completed their evening with a fourth- and fifth-place finish in the 1-meter diving competition and then a second-place finish (3:40.65) in the 400-yard medley relay.
Other notables on the first night of competition:
Buffalo's Jessica Powers dominated the 500-yard freestyle race and won by over 2.5 seconds. Her blazing time of 4:46.37 met the "B" (at-large) qualifying standard for the NCAA championships. Miami's Stephanie Pearce finished second in the event.
The Bulls earned another MAC championship when Brittney Kuras finished the 200 IM in 1:59.20. She also met the NCAA's "B" standard for the event, and her teammate Spencer Rodriguez finished second by meeting the "B" standard with a time of 2:00.64. Miami's Aubrey Kluth and Stephanie Lemire finished third and fourth, respectively.
Danielle Hubrey of Eastern Michigan won the 1-meter diving MAC championship with a total score of 309.65. Nikki Craft (Miami) and Kristin Capcik (Ohio) each also scored over 300 and finished in the top three.
Ball State set a pool record en route to capturing the MAC title in the 400 medley relay. Their time of 3:40.06 beat out Akron by 0.59 seconds and third-place Bowling Green by 0.73 seconds.
One very strange note -- the 50-yard freestyle championship event actually had to be re-raced. A photographer dropped a lens in the pool while the original race was taking place, thus the first results were thrown out.
Akron finished the day with 201 points. Miami is second with 167, and they are followed by Eastern Michigan, who has 148. Buffalo and Bowling Green are tied for fourth (138), while Ohio is sixth (114). Ball State (101) and Toledo (85) hold the final two spots.
Racing resumes on Friday morning at 11:00 a.m. with preliminary heats in the 400-yard individual medley, 100-yard butterfly, 200-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke, 100-yard backstroke and 3-meter diving. The consolation and championship heats of those events, as well as the championship 200-yard medley relay and 800-yard freestyle relay, will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Friday evening.