By: Jake Krier, UWEC Sports Information
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (blugolds.com) - On February 16-18, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire men's and women's swimming & diving teams are to compete in the 2017 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Swimming & Diving Championships (presented by Culver's). The three-day event will be held at Walter Schroeder Aquatic Center in Brown Deer, Wisconsin. UW-Oshkosh will serve as the host school for the 46th meeting of women's teams and 55th annual men's championship.
Each day's opening session for preliminaries will begin at 10 a.m. Thursday and Friday's second session, which features that day's finals will begin at 6:30 p.m., with Saturday's and the event's last finals session beginning at 6 p.m.
Looking back at last year's WIAC Championship event, the UW-Eau Claire teams combined for 16 new school records. The women's team was victorious in eleven events with the men accounting for first place in five. The women's swim team fell just eight points shy of preventing UW-La Crosse from winning their fifth consecutive conference title, which was the closest margin of victory since the 2002 Championship.
Leading the way for the Blugolds is the returning WIAC Championships Swimmer of the Meet from a season ago, Samantha Senczyszyn (So.-Grafton, WI). The sophomore took home first place honors in seven total events, including the 100-yard breaststroke, 200-yard breaststroke, 200-yard individual medley, and four relays.
Also returning from an impressive 2016 Championship is Senczyszyn's former high school teammate, Jessica Short (Jr.-Grafton, WI). The junior was victorious in last season's 100-yard backstroke, 200-yard backstroke, and 200-yard freestyle, 400-yard freestyle, and 400-yard medley relays. These two, among a cast of other Blugold women, will attempt to close the gap and become the first new champions since 2011, and what would be the first title for UW-Eau Claire since the 1999 season.
On the men's side, the task of dethroning perennial powerhouse and 17-time defending WIAC Champions UW-Stevens Point may be a bit of a tougher task ahead. However, the Blugolds nonetheless hope to improve upon their third place finish from a year ago.
Ben Fisher (Sr.-Roselle, IL/Lake Park) is coming off back-to-back conference titles in the 100-yard breaststroke and will look to make it a third straight this weekend. Dayton Miller (Jr.-Rochester, MN/Schaeffer Academy) will attempt to make it back-to-back in the 400-yard individual medley after winning the event last year. Finally, Ryan Young (Sr.-Lakeville, MN/North) looks to defend his 200-yard butterfly championship this weekend as well.
Follow the action all season long on Blugold Game Day.