UVa Off to Record-Setting Start at ACC Championships
COLLEGE PARK, Md. The Virginia women’s swimming and diving team commenced the 2009 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships Wednesday in record-setting fashion, smashing the conference, school and meet record in the first two events of the meet, the 200 medley and 800 freestyle relays. The championships, which run through Saturday, are being held at Maryland’s Eppley Recreation Natatorium.
With two events in the books, Virginia leads the way with 80 points followed by North Carolina (66), Florida State (60) and Virginia Tech (60).
The team of Mei Christensen, Katherine McDonnell, Liz Shaw and Kristen Wallace completed the 200 medley relay in 1:37.50 an NCAA automatic qualifying standard. The conference and meet record of 1:38.59 was previously held by Florida State (set in 2006) while the school record was set a year ago when Christensen, McDonnell, Stephanie Glover and Hannah Davis clocked a time of 1:40.19 at the conference meet.
“It’s the kind of start we hoped for especially in the first event,” Virginia head coach Mark Bernardino said. “To start off and make an NCAA A cut in the 200 medley relay and take the pressure off right out of the chute, you couldn’t have asked for a better start.”
Six schools tallied NCAA B times in the 200 medley relay. Virginia Tech (Jordan McHorney, Jessica Earl, Megan Newell and Sara Smith) finished second with a time of 1:38.56 while North Carolina (Kim Davis, Layne Brodie, Sarah Tanner and Aliza Butts) finished third in 1:38.99.
“We were so fired up and so ready; we wanted to get these suits on and show people what we could do,” Wallace said. “I don’t think we expected to go that fast. Last year we got beat in the medley so it was great to come back and get some revenge.”
Megan Evo, Shaw, Wallace and Jenna Harris teamed up to take first-place honors in the 800 freestyle relay, again setting a conference, school and meet record. Virginia finished with an NCAA B time of 7:05.72, breaking the ACC and school record set by UVa’s Stephanie Glover, Evo, Harris and Jessica Lewis at the 2008 NCAA Championships.
Evo’s split of 1:45.27 was also good enough for a Virginia school record in the 200 freestyle.
UNC (Megan Steeves, Rebecca Kane, Butts, Katura Harvey) placed second in the 800 free relay with a mark of 7:08.07 while Florida State (Jocelyn Phillips, Georgia Holderness, Stephanie Sarandos, Holly Mills) was third in 7:10.42.
“The 800 free relay did a respectable job,” Bernardino continued. “Megan Evo’s leadoff leg was just beautiful. Now we have to maintain our equilibrium, get a good night’s rest and tomorrow morning is a really important for us. The 500 free and 200 individual medley are two of our strongest events on paper. We have to come out and live up to what we are supposed to do in those races.”
Day two of the ACC Championships continues Thursday with preliminaries scheduled for 11 a.m. ACC Select will provide live video streaming of the championships starting Thursday at 5:15 p.m. There is no charge to watch the webcasts. ACC Select coverage will continue Friday at 5:15 p.m. and Saturday at 7 p.m.
Live results from the championships are available by clicking here.