March 23, 1999
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Five members of the University of Virginia men’s swimming and diving team are scheduled to compete this week (March 25-27) in the NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships in Indianapolis, Ind. The Cavaliers are coming off their first Atlantic Coast Conference Championship since 1990.
Virginia, ranked 15th in the nation, hopes to improve on last year’s 17th place finish at the NCAA Championships. The 17th-place finish is UVa’s highest in an NCAA Meet.
The Cavaliers established one ACC record, one ACC Meet record and four school records in winning the 1999 ACC Championship February 25-27 at the University of Maryland. UVa head coach Mark Bernardino was named the ACC Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year for the sixth time in his 21-year career at Virginia.
Bernardino toughened Virginia’s 1998-99 regular-season schedule and the Cavaliers responded with an overall record of 7-3 and a 4-2 record in the ACC.
“We’re looking forward to going to Indianapolis and having a tremendous meet,” Bernardino said. “We’ve set some team goals. We’d like to finish in the top 15 at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships.
“We’ve steadily moved up in the last three years, from 23rd, to 19th, to 17th. We feel it’s time this program established itself as one of the top 15 teams at the NCAA Championship Meet. I think we have the athletes participating who can put enough points on the board for us to reach that goal.”
Among the top performers for the Cavaliers are senior Shamek Pietucha (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), juniors Doak Finch (Southern Pines, N.C.) and Austin Ramirez (Brookfield, Wisc.), and freshman Ed Moses (Burke, Va.). Between them, the four swimmers won seven individual championships at the 1999 ACC Meet.
Pietucha won both the 100-butterfly (47.59 seconds) and the 100-backstroke (48.67 seconds) at the ACC Championships. He is expected to compete in those events, the 200-butterfly and on relay teams at the NCAA Meet. Pietucha earned All-America honors with a third-place finish in the 200-butterfly (1:44.28), and honorable mention All-America honors by finishing ninth in the 100-butterfly and 15th in the 100-backstroke at last year’s NCAA Meet. His third place finish in the 200-butterfly is the highest finish ever for a UVa male swimmer at an NCAA Meet.
Pietucha is ranked sixth in the 200-yard butterfly (1:45.26) and 15th in the 100-yard butterfly (47.59) entering this week’s NCAA Meet. He won both the 100-meter (53.49) and the 200-meter (1:59.08) butterfly in personal best times at the Canadian National Championships last weekend. His times in both events are the second fastest ever by a Canadian.
Finch won both the 200-individual medley (1:48.74) and the 400-individual medley (3:51.22) at the ACC Championships. He is expected to compete in those events, the 200-butterfly and on relay teams at the NCAA Meet. Finch earned All-America honors with a seventh place finish in the 200-butterfly and an eighth place finish in the 400-individual medley at last year’s NCAA Meet.
He is ranked 10th in the 200-butterfly (1:45.83) and 17th in the 400-individual medley (3:51.22) entering the 1999 NCAA Meet.
Ramirez won both the 500-freestyle (4:21.33) and the 1650-freestyle (15:10.15) at the ACC Championships. He is expected to compete in those events, the 200-freestyle and on relay teams at the NCAA Meet. Ramirez earned All-America honors with a fourth place finish in the 1650-freestyle and a seventh place finish in the 500-freestyle at last year’s NCAA Meet.
He is ranked ninth in both the 500-freestyle (4:21.33) and the 1650-freestyle (15:10.15) entering this week’s NCAA Meet.
Pietucha, Finch and Ramirez were also members of Virginia’s 800-freestyle relay team that finished 14th at last year’s NCAA Meet.
Moses won the 200-breaststroke at the ACC Meet in a meet, conference and school-record time of 1:57.37. He also established a school record with a time of 53.55 seconds while finishing second in the 100-breaststroke at the ACC Championships.
Moses is expected to compete in those events and on relays at the NCAA Meet. He enters the NCAA Meet ranked second in both the 100-breaststroke (53.55) and the 200-breaststroke (1:57.37).
The fifth swimmer representing Virginia at the NCAA Meet is sophomore Jamie Grimes (Olney, Md.). He is expected to compete in both the 500-freestyle and the 1650 freestyle at the NCAA Championships. Grimes finished second in the 1650-freestyle (15:12.38) and fifth in the 500-freestyle (4:27.55) at the ACC Championships.
He is ranked 12th in the 1650-freestyle entering this week’s NCAA Meet.
The Cavaliers also established school records in the 200-medley relay (1:29.63) and the 400-medley relay (3:15.09) at the ACC Meet. Virginia is scheduled to compete in those relays and the 800-freestyle relay at the 1999 NCAA Meet.
“I feel in Ed Moses and Shamek Pietucha we have two gentlemen who are true contenders for NCAA titles,” Bernardino said. “Ed is the second seed in both breaststroke events. He’s a freshman who has shown tremendous improvement over the course of his first six months at UVa and I believe he’s going to be a real threat to maybe win one or two titles in the breaststroke events.
“Shamek has been a real stalwart for our team for four years. He finished third in the 200-butterfly at last year’s NCAA Meet and I feel he has a great shot at capturing an NCAA Championship this year in that event.”