While the Salukis placed third in the Mid-American Conference Championships, coach Rick Walker brought home the honor of 2012 conference Swimming Coach of the Year.
The SIU men’s swimming and diving teams traveled Wednesday to Oxford, Ohio for the 2012 Mid-American Conference Championships. The championships were held Thursday through Saturday, and SIU won four events, which placed it third of seven teams.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Walker said. “The university should be proud of them, and they should be proud of themselves.”
Walker, in his 25th year with the Saluki swimming and diving program, earned his 12th Coach of the Year honor Saturday.
Sophomore Juan Arbelaez started things off hot for the Salukis in day one preliminaries, becoming the first swimmer in SIU history to break 20 seconds in the 50-yard freestyle.
The Salukis finished Friday in second place and 20 points behind eventual champions Eastern Michigan.
Despite Friday’s finals being canceled due to incliment weather, the MAC Championships, hosted by Miami University, saw the Salukis back in action Saturday morning.
“Friday night definitely hurt us,” Walker said. “In 25 years, I’ve never had a meet get canceled.”
In day two’s preliminaries, brothers Justin and Shaun Wolfe qualified for the finals in the 100-yard butterfly.
Justin Wolfe’s time of 47.29 broke both a 21-year-old SIU school record and a 13-year-old MAC Championship record.
SIU sent 11 swimmers into the Saturday finals, but eventually fell to first- and second-place finishers Eastern Michigan and University at Buffalo.
Missouri State, Miami, Ball State and Evansville all trailed the Salukis in final team scores.