BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Birmingham-Southern kicked off 2018 Southern Athletic Association Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving Championships at the Birmingham CrossPlex on Wednesday night with impressive performances.
The women's 800-yard freestyle relay A final was the first event of the night and it was a nail-biter. The Panther relay team, consisting of sophomore Becca Erwin (Duluth, Ga./Duluth HS), freshman Mary Beth Ronne (Athens, Tenn./McMinn County HS), freshman Rachel Sullivan (Cumming, Ga./North Forsyth HS) and freshman Savannah Barber (St. Petersburg, Fla./Northside Christian HS), raced for a first-place time of 7:36.96.
The time was good enough to squeak past the Berry team that finished with a time of 7:36.97, just one one-hundredth of a second slower. In the process, the foursome set a new BSC program record, beating the old record by 11 seconds.
In the B final of the women's 800-yard free relay, BSC took first again with a time of 7:55.65.
The men's 800-yard freestyle relay followed the women's races. In the A final, BSC's Patrick Dunne (Mobile, Ala./McGill-Toolen Catholic HS), Ryan Emili (Anchorage, Alaska/South Anchorage HS), Wil Barton (Memphis, Tenn./St. George's Independent School) and Nico Medina (Hollywood, Fla./American Heritage HS) recorded a first-place time of 6:43.87, defeating second-place Centre by 14 seconds. The mark seals a spot for the group in the NCAA Championships.
The Panthers B final relay team also took first place with a time of 7:01.16.
The men's one-meter dive was the Day One finale. In the event, the Panthers placed fifth, sixth and eighth.
The Birmingham-Southern women ended the first day with 56 total points, good enough to give them a 10-point lead heading into day two. The men are currently second in the rankings with 94 points, eight points off the leader Centre.
The SAA Championships continue on Thursday with preliminary events starting at 10 a.m. at the Birmingham CrossPlex Natatorium.
Live results and video are available throughout the championships HERE.