By Tim Glon
AKRON — The Ohio Northern men finished second at the 2017 Ohio Athletic Conference Swimming & Diving Championships on Thursday-Saturday at the University of Akron's Ocasek Natatorium.
The Polar Bears finished in second place out of seven teams with 704 points in the 20 events, snapping their impressive streak of 12 consecutive conference championships.
Ohio Northern had many outstanding individual performances with eight swimmers earning All-Conference accolades.
Senior John Raker (Labanon/Lakota West) won the 200 fly title to lead ONU.
After runner-up finishes in 2014 and 2016, Raker won his first OAC title in the event by nearly a second in 1:54.26.
Raker was also third in the 400 I.M. in 4:12.28 to earn All-OAC honors.
The top three finishers in each individual event and the top two relay teams earn All-Conference honors.
Individually, Chen was second in the 100 free (:46.51) and 200 free (1;42.25) and Pfeifer was second in the 50 free (:21.08) and was third in the 100 free (:46.58).
It marked the fifth consecutive year and the ninth time in the last 12 years that Ohio Northern won the race.
Chen, Pfeifer, He and freshman Nolan Huey (Fort Collins, Colo./Fossil Ridge) won the 800 free relay in 6:58.36.
Chen was also on ONU's All-Conference 200 free and 400 medley relay teams that finished second in 1:23.41 and 3:23.86, respectively.
Pfeifer was on the 200 free and 200 medley relay teams. The 200 medley relay team was second in 1:33.96.
In all, ONU was first or second in all five relays.
Huey set a school record and was All-OAC in four events.
His school record in the 100 back was a :51.59 clocking in the opening leg of ONU's All-OAC 400 medley relay team.
He also earned All-OAC honors in the 400 I.M. with a second place finish in 4:09.25 and in the 1650 free, finishing third in 16:46.68.
Pete He was All-Conference on four relay teams.
He was on the OAC champion 400 and 800 free relay teams and was on the All-OAC 200 and 400 medley relay teams.
Simpson was on the OAC champion 400 free rely team and was All-OAC on the 200 free and 200 medley relays.
Sophomore Anthony Ferrell (Canton/Glen Oak) was All-OAC on the 200 and 400 medley relays.
Junior Thomas Golba (Kettering/Archbishop Alter) was on the 200 free relay team that earned All-OAC honors with a second place finish.
"We began the journey of the season knowing it was a different day in the OAC," ONU head coach Peggy Ewald said. "We had some great moments and a few surprises. But the 'wins' are not always shown in the score. We have won in more ways than can be count and deduced to numbers. We have reset the mission of this team and the foundation that built the traditions of excellence. The future is promising.
"We were going in with no divers on the men's side. A first out of our past 12 seasons. Those two events left a gap we weren't able to close. We battled to the end and held our ground in the swimming events. I am proud of this group of young men and how they stepped up to the challenge. They became the best version of ONU men's swimming could be this season....it's been a great journey winning 12 straight titles. The runner up position will give us a new challenge to rise back to the top."
John Carroll won the team crown with 806 points, Mount Union was third with 637 and Wilmington was fourth with 369.