Ohio had a one-point lead for sixth place over Toledo going into the final race of the Mid-American Conference Championships and, fittingly, the final race was a relay.
Toledo came into the meet with the third-best time in the 400-yard freestyle relay, while Ohio had the seventh-best. It was the MAC Championships, so anything could have happened, especially when it's best against best.
It looked like everything was going right for Ohio, with it dropping four seconds off the time in the event and Toledo being almost two seconds slower than earlier in the season.
A blistering anchor leg from Corrin Van Lanen was not enough as Toledo out-touched Ohio by .26 of a second to claim fifth in the event and sixth at the MAC Championships by one point.
The Ohio fans outnumbered all the other teams and were the loudest, but it did not reflect in the pool as the Bobcats had their lowest point total at the MAC Championships since 1984.
The seventh-place finish is the lowest in the four years the program has been under the guidance of Rachel Komisarz-Baugh.
The 400-yard individual medley was where the Bobcats picked up the most points in a single event for the meet, with 17 from Sam Glass.
Glass could not replicate the time she had earlier in the season at the US Winter Nationals but was still able to make the ‘A’ final and place eighth.
Hannah Schlegel and Katie Garrity made the ‘B’ final to pick up points for Ohio by placing 12th and 16th, respectively.
Schlegel and Garrity, along with Ana Henderson, added key points on the final day in the 1650-yard freestyle to close the deficit to Toledo.
Hearing the starting signal is crucial to having a fast start and not having to make up distance from the start. Emily Zimcosky did not hear the signal in the preliminaries of the 500-yard freestyle and could only recover to make the ‘B’ finals.
Zimcosky had the opportunity to re-swim the event, but she would have had to take that time even if it was slower, so she decided against it.
“I just decided to swim the 'B' final, and when I made that decision, I was like 'I've got to win the 'B' final. I'm not just going to swim it, I'm going to win it,” Zimcosky said.
Zimcosky, an All-MAC Second Team member, did just that and dropped four seconds off her time to win the ‘B’ final and finish ninth overall with the fourth-fastest time in Ohio history.
Zimcosky already has the school record in the 200-yard freestyle but was able to scrape three-hundredths of a second off the record in the preliminaries to qualify second. In the final, her time was slower, but she was still able to place third and improve on last year’s fifth-place finish in the event.
Emilia Lahtinen came within two-tenths of a second of breaking the Ohio record in the 200-yard breaststroke, held by current Miami head coach Hollie Bonewit, and won the ‘B’ final to place ninth.
Lahtinen also made the ‘B’ final in the 100-yard breaststroke by having the third-best time in Ohio history in the prelims. She was unable to duplicate that time in the finals coming in 14th.
There were only two top-three finishes for Ohio over the course of the meet, and Corrin Van Lanen picked up one of them with a third-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly.
Despite being within seven-hundredths of the Ohio record in the 50-yard freestyle, Van Lanen, the All-MAC First Team member was unable to improve her time, placing fifth.
Van Lanen snuck into the ‘A’ final of the 100-yard freestyle and finished fifth, one place worse than last year.
It was all consistency for Glass, as she made the ‘B’ final in both the 200-yard individual medley and the 200-yard butterfly. She finished tenth in the butterfly and 15th in the individual medley.
The relays were an indicator where Ohio would place: It came in sixth three times and seventh twice. The most dominant stroke all season for the Bobcats has been the freestyle, and it continued — two of their sixth-place finishes came from that stroke.
The season is over for the team, but there may be some individuals moving on to the NCAA Championships, depending on if there is space. ‘B’ cuts do not get an automatic invitation.