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Feb. 18, 2006

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Virginia women’s swimming and diving team finished second to Florida State Saturday (Feb. 18) at the 2006 Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship, which was held at Maryland’s Campus Recreation Center Natatorium. The Cavaliers overcame a 40.5 point deficit entering the final day of competition and held a slim lead after 17 of 20 events, but Florida State outscored UVa 86-51 in the next two events, the 200 breaststroke and 200 butterfly, to retake the lead and capture its first ACC title. Fourth-year Brielle White (Philadelphia, Pa./Springside School) was selected as the Most Valuable Swimmer of the Championship.

Florida State won the ACC Championship with 596.5 points, while Virginia was second with 562 points. The 34.5 point winning margin by FSU is the closest ACC Championship since 1990 when UVa won the ACC title over North Carolina by 25.5 points. North Carolina placed third this year with 517 points and Virginia Tech was fourth (409). Maryland (383), Clemson (374), Miami (237), NC State (206.5), Georgia Tech (189), Duke (160), and Boston College (79) rounded out the field.

Fourth-year Rachael Burke (Bethesda, Md./Good Counsel) closed out her ACC career in fine fashion by winning the 1650 freestyle with a NCAA automatic qualifying time of 16:13.65. It marked Burke’s second ACC title in the mile. Third-year Rory Schmidt (Phoenix, Ariz./Arcadia) was 10th in the 1650 free with a time of 16:52.83 (NCAA B).

White kept the Cavaliers’ momentum going by winning her third consecutive 200 backstroke title with an ACC record and NCAA automatic qualifying time of 1:55.83. White shattered her own ACC record of 1:56.54, and it is also one of the fastest in the nation this season. The win gave White the seventh backstroke title of her career. Fourth-year Corey Berg (Hyde Park, N.Y./F.D. Roosevelt) finished fourth in the 200 back with a time of 2:01.28, while fourth-year Katie Gordon (Winter Park, Fla./Trinity Prep) took sixth place with a time of 2:01.71. Berg and Gordon bettered the NCAA B standard with their times. Third-year Erin Corgan (Marietta, Ga./Marist) was a consolation finalist and finished 12th with a time of 2:03.03.

In the 100 freestyle, second-year Jess Lewis (Allentown, Pa./Parkland) garnered All-ACC honors with a third-place finish. Lewis clocked a time of 50.72, just five hundredths of a second out of second place. UVa had two swimmers compete in the consolation final of the 200 free with third-year Katy Bland (Raleigh, N.C./Leesville) finishing 12th (51.39) and second-year Stephanie Glover (Raleigh, N.C./Athens Drive) taking 16th place (51.81).

Florida State pulled ahead of the Cavaliers by placing three swimmers in the finals of the 200 breaststroke. UVa’s lone championship finalist in the 200 breast was fourth-year Elaine Bennett (Richmond, Va./Douglas Freeman), who placed sixth with a time of 2:17.79 (NCAA B). Third-year Jenny Steiner (Lawrenceville, N.J./Lawrence) swam in the consolation final and finished 11th overall in a time of 2:19.31.

Bennett also competed in the next event, the 200 butterfly and finished eighth with a time of 2:05.06. She reached the championship final by clocking a time of 2:02.67 in the prelims. First-year Anne Dawson (Annapolis, Md./Annapolis) joined Bennett in the finals of the 200 fly and finished seventh with a time of 2:02.59. First-year Megan Evo (Beverly Hills, Mich./Groves) won the consolation final of the 200 butterfly with a time of 2:02.50.

In the final event of the 2006 ACC Women’s Championship, the Cavaliers finished second in the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 3:22.99 (NCAA B). Bland, Glover, Lewis and White swam legs on the free relay that finished second to Florida State (3:21.54).

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