Virginia Men Set for ACC Championships
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia men’s swimming team will compete for its 13th Atlantic Coast Conference championship this week in Chapel Hill, N.C. Ranked eighth in the nation, the Cavaliers are the highest-ranked school in the ACC. The event begins Wednesday and runs through Saturday at North Carolina’s Koury Natatorium. Finals of all events will be broadcast live free of charge on ACC Select and live results of each session will be available through VirginiaSports.com.
The Virginia men have won two consecutive championships and will be looking for their third straight this weekend. The Cavaliers had a streak of eight consecutive titles from 1999-2006.
“I feel we have two very formidable foes in Florida State and North Carolina,” head coach Mark Bernardino said. “It could possibly come down to the last race in the meet to determine who wins. I hope it does, because then I like our chances.”
In 2009, Virginia claimed its second straight conference championship with 832 points, a victory which included three relay wins (800 free, 400 medley, 400 free) and individual titles from Ryan Hurley in the 200 breast and Pat Reams in the 200 fly. Though Hurley and Reams have both graduated, a pair of juniors – Matt McLean and Scot Robison – will be looking to defend individual titles.
A year ago McLean was tabbed the most valuable swimmer of the meet for the second straight year after winning the 200 free, 500 free and 1650 free. Robison recorded his first career individual win in 2009 with a victory in the 100 free.
“I never believe it’s the training in the last few weeks leading up to a big meet that matters,” Bernardino said. “I’m a firm believer that it’s the training from September, October, November, December and January that matters. If you did the work in those months, the hay is in the barn and you should be ready to go. I don’t think there’s any magic in the last two weeks of training. The magic is in training for the entire season and then hopefully we’ve just provided enough rest and enough speed work that they’ll take advantage of that.”
Heading into the conference meet, Robison boasts the fastest time in the ACC in the 100 free with a ‘B’ time of 43.99, while McLean leads the league with his 200 free time of 1:36.62, also an NCAA ‘B’ mark. Fellow junior Taylor Smith also leads the conference in the 1000 free with a time of 9:01.84.
The Cavaliers have also posted the fastest times in the conference in the 200 free style relay with an NCAA ‘B’ time of 2:58.40.
During the dual meet season, Virginia posted a 9-1 record, with the team’s lone loss at home to sixth-ranked Florida in the season opener. The Cavaliers were a perfect 4-0 in dual meets against ACC schools with wins over Virginia Tech, Florida State, North Carolina and Duke.
Competition will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday with the 200 medley relay and 800 free relay.