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Feb. 14, 2006

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The University of Virginia women’s swimming and diving team is set to begin competition in the 2006 Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships. The Women’s ACC Championships take place Feb. 15-18 at Maryland’s Campus Recreation Center Natatorium in College Park, Md. Prelims begin at 11:00 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, while finals commence Wednesday through Saturday at 7:00 p.m.

Virginia, under the direction of 28th-year head coach Mark Bernardino, has won two of the last three ACC titles. The Cavaliers finished second last season after winning the 2003 and 2004 ACC titles. UVa scored 590.5 points to finish second to Maryland (655 points) last year. North Carolina (491) and Florida State (433) were third and fourth, respectively. Virginia has won the ACC Championship five times, while North Carolina has taken the ACC title 15 times in 27 tries. UVa and North Carolina have combined to win seven of the last eight ACC Championships with the Cavaliers taking the top spot four times.

Three ACC teams are currently ranked within six spots of each other in the Feb. 9 College Swim Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Top 25 Poll, which should make for an exciting and closely contested ACC Championship. Virginia leads the way at 18th in the CSCAA Poll, while Florida State is just one point behind in 19th place. North Carolina is 23rd in the poll and Virginia Tech is listed in the teams receiving votes, two spots outside the top 25. The Cavaliers finished the dual meet portion of the 2005-06 season with a 6-3 overall record and a 5-0 mark in the conference.

The Cavaliers return one individual champion from the 2005 ACC Championships. Fourth-year Brielle White (Philadelphia, Pa./Springside School) won her third consecutive ACC title in the 100 backstroke at last year’s ACC Championship and also garnered her second straight 200 backstroke title. White is seeded first in the two backstroke events this week. Other key performers for the Cavaliers include: fourth-years Katie Gordon (Winter Park, Fla./Trinity Prep), Elaine Bennett (Richmond, Va./Douglas Freeman), and Rachael Burke (Bethesda, Md./Good Counsel); third-years Katy Bland (Raleigh, N.C./Leesville) and Jenny Steiner (Lawrenceville, N.J./Lawrence); second-years Amber Bialas (Virginia Beach, Va./Tallwood), Jess Lewis (Allentown, Pa./Parkland) and Anna Steenrod (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Latin); and first-years Megan Evo (Beverly Hills, Mich./Groves) and Kristen Wallace (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington).

Results for the 2006 ACC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship will be available on the world wide web via livestats at

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