Prelims: Day 3 at Men's ACCs
Chapel Hill, N.C. – The Virginia men’s swimming team put itself in position to add to its first-place point total following preliminary round of events Friday at the 2010 ACC Championships in Chapel Hill, N.C. The Cavaliers advanced 12 individuals into five event finals that take place starting at 7 p.m. tonight at Koury Natatorium.
Virginia enters Friday’s event finals in first place with 266 points followed by North Carolina (221) and Florida State (189). The event finals will be webcast on ACCSelect.com.
“I thought we got off to a disappointing start in the 400 IM,” said Virginia coach Mark Bernardino. “Then we slipped up a little bit in the butterfly and from that point forward I think it grabbed our attention and we rallied back really strong in the 200 freestyle. We fought our way to getting two freshmen into the finals of the breastroke heat and the backstrokers really came up huge. We were able to salvage the morning and go into this evening with an opportunity to hopefully find some breathing space in terms of the team competition race.”
To start off the day, Matt Houser and Darren Ankosko advanced to the finals in the 400 IM. Houser posted the third-best overall prelim time of 3:49.91 while Ankosko won his heat in 3:50.98. Both times were NCAA ‘B’ marks.
In the 100 butterfly, Eric Olesen was the only UVa competitor to move on to the finals with an NCAA ‘B’ time of 47.25, the second-best qualifying mark. Peter Geissinger just missed a trip to the finals, placing ninth after the morning swim at 48.12, which was the best time in his heat and also an NCAA ‘B’ mark.
Virginia was impressive in the 200 freestyle, clocking the top three times during qualifying. Scot Robison led that trio at 1:33.34, an NCAA ‘A’ time. Matt McLean was second at 1:35.38 and John Azar was third at 1:35.74. Joining them in the finals will be Taylor Smith who was sixth overall at 1:37.23. McLean, Azar and Smith’s results were all NCAA ‘B’ times.
Tom Casey and Simon Norstedt posted qualifying times in the 100 breastroke. Casey’s 54.22 seeded him third in the finals while Norstedt finished at 54.90 for the seventh-best time. Both were NCAA ‘B’ times.
The Cavaliers finished the morning prelims on a strong note by qualifying a trio in the 100 backstroke. Olesen made his second final on the day by finishing with the second-fastest time at 47.20. Daniel Johnson was fourth at 47.93 and Matt Murray was sixth at 48.37. All three times were NCAA ‘B’ marks.
“Matt and Darren did their jobs for us in the 400 IM,” Bernardino said. “Daniel Johnson’s swim and Eric Olesen, two veteran seniors, were huge. Matt Murray was wonderful breaking into that top eight as a freshman. Scot Robison, Matt McLean, John Azar and Taylor Smith all did wonderful jobs in the 200 free. Eric Olesen doing double duty in the butterfly and backstroke and then Casey and Norstedt doing such a good job in the breastroke. Those were good efforts. Now we just need some people who did not reach the finals tonight to improve on their performances.”
The eighth-ranked Cavaliers are attempting to win their third straight ACC title and 11th in 12 years. Virginia has already won four events at the championship.
“I think today alerted everybody else that, just because we’ve won this thing in the past, nobody is going to hand it to us,” Bernardino said. “They are going to make us earn it every stroke of the way. We came back with a lot of intensity in those last three events today and hopefully we have our focus now.”