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ATLANTA – The Virginia women’s swimming and diving team opened the 2011 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships with a record-setting swim in the 800 freestyle relay Wednesday at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center.

Virginia’s Rachel Naurath, Liz Shaw, Kristen Moores and Lauren Perdue teamed up to set a pool, meet and conference record in the 800 freestyle relay. The Cavaliers touched in 7:03.00, besting the previous ACC and meet record of 7:04.74 set last year by Jen Narum, Kelly Flynn, Jenna Harris and Perdue. That mark was also a NCAA ‘B’ time.

After two events, the Cavaliers stand in second place with 68 points, trailing North Carolina (74) by six points. Florida State is currently third with 62 points.

“We finished well,” Bernardino said. “It was a tremendous lead-off leg by Rachel with a career-best time and then two great splits in the middle. Lauren just showed that she is at the top of the field and brought it home like the champion that she is. Overall we felt pretty confident in that relay being strong for us. We leave the pool with good momentum and that is what matters.”

The previous Georgia Tech Aquatic Center record of 7:05.80 was set by Auburn in 2007. It was the fourth consecutive year the Cavaliers won the 800 freestyle relay title.

“It was really awesome to get to lead-off that relay,” Naurath said. “I was really focused on getting out in front of everybody. We decided we were going to get out ahead and never look back, and that’s what we did.”

“We all knew we had a job to do,” Perdue said. “Mark (Bernardino) gave us a really good speech before the race and told us we were swimming for our team. I know everyone realizes that but having it repeated is what helped us come together. There was a lot of excitement and that really pushed us.”

The 200 medley relay team of Charlotte Clarke, Flynn, Emily Lloyd and Hannah Davis placed fifth to open the meet with a NCAA ‘B’ time of 1:40.60. North Carolina (1:37.89) won the race while Maryland was second (1:38.57) and Miami third (1:38.88).

“Unfortunately on that first relay, we were in a good place at the first wall but Charlotte’s feet slipped on the push off and that was all she wrote,” Bernardino said. “The key to a good team is, can you bounce back? We have a little ground to make up, but we have 19 events to make it up in and we will chip away at it.”

Day two of the ACC Championships continues at 11 a.m. Thursday with preliminaries in the 500 freestyle, 200 individual medley, 50 freestyle, women’s 1-meter diving and men’s 3-meter diving. Both the men’s and women’s diving events are taking place this week in Atlanta.

2011 ACC Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships
Feb. 16-19 | Atlanta, Ga.
After 2 Events

1. North Carolina
74 2. VIRGINIA 68 3. Florida State 62 4. Virginia Tech 54 4. Miami 54 6. Duke 50 6. NC State 50 8. Clemson 40 9. Maryland 34 10. Boston College 30 11. Georgia Tech 18

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