No. 14 Virginia Men Rally to Beat No. 9 UNC, 162-138
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The 14th-ranked Virginia men’s swimming and diving team (5-1, 1-0 ACC) came from behind to earn a 162-138 victory over No. 9 North Carolina Saturday at the Aquatic and Fitness Center. It was the first dual meet loss of the season for the Tar Heels, who dropped to 6-1 and 2-1 in ACC dual meets.
Trailing 84-66 after the first diving break, Virginia rallied to win six consecutive events to take the lead – and keep it – over rival UNC.
“That second half of the meet, we had to readjust,” Virginia head coach Mark Bernardino said. “We had to think about who we are, what we are and why we’re here. It was gut-check time. I like how we reacted to a little bit of adversity and the fight that we brought.”
The first event coming out of the first diving break was the 100 freestyle, and senior Scot Robison started the comeback with a win in a NCAA ‘B’ time of 44.28. Sophomore Tom Barrett took third in 45.02.
The Cavaliers followed with a 1-2 finish in the 200 backstroke. Sophomore Brady Fox took first-place honors (1:46.97) while classmate Matthew Murray was second (1:47.97).
Freshman Taylor Grey came up big in the 200 breaststroke, out-touching UNC’s Vinny Pryor to win the event. Grey finished in 1:59.42, another ‘B’ cut, while Pryor swam a time of 1:59.86.
Senior Matt McLean then won his second individual event of the afternoon with a victory in the 500 freestyle, touching in a NCAA ‘B’ time of 4:20.84. Freshman Jon Daniec was third in the event with a mark of 4:26.56, another ‘B’ cut.
In the final race before the second diving break, junior Peter Geissinger took first-place accolades in the 100 butterfly, going stroke-for-stroke with UNC’s Tommy Wyher. Geissinger finished in 48.79 to beat Wyher, who touched in 48.84. Robison finished in third for UVa with a mark of 49.55.
Junior diver Briggy Imbriglia then kept the streak going with a victory on the 1-meter board. He won the event in 319.95 and teammate Nathan Parker placed third (306.08).
Coming out of that break, Virginia held a 142-122 lead.
Virginia capped the comeback with a victory in the 400 freestyle relay, the final event of the day. The team of Robison, Geissinger, Barrett and McLean recorded a time of 2:57.10, a NCAA ‘B’ mark, to bring home the victory.
It marked the third consecutive season the Cavaliers have defeated North Carolina in the regular season dual meet.
Geissinger and McLean both finished the day with two individual event victories. McLean also won the 200 freestyle in a ‘B’ cut of 1:36.85, while Geissinger claimed the 50 freestyle in 20.44. Barrett was second in the event (20.51).
UNC took the first event of the meet, the 200 medley relay, in a time of 1:29.50, but the Cavalier relay squads took second and third place. The team of Jack Murfee, Tom Casey, Peter Geissinger and newcomer Tom Barrett touched in 1:29.80, a NCAA ‘B’ cut. Matt Murray, Taylor Grey, Matt Houser and Zach Kohl placed third in 1:31.33.
The Cavaliers compete in their final home meet at 11 a.m. Sunday against Duke. Virginia’s eight seniors – James Barnett, Timmy Hayes, Zach Kohl, Matt McLean, Nathan Parker, Scot Robison, Taylor Smith and John Snawerdt – will be recognized prior to the start of the meet. Diving competition will begin at 9:30 a.m.