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ATLANTA – The Virginia women’s swimming team had a strong morning at the ACC Championships, putting 14 swimmers in the finals of four events and three more in the consolation finals. Preliminaries were held in the 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke and 200 butterfly Saturday at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center. The meet concludes tonight with finals for the last session slated for 7 p.m.

“We put ourselves back in the meet,” Virginia head coach Mark Bernardino said. “Obviously we haven’t won the meet. It’s never over until it’s over and we have a long way to go. There are seven events left to compete in tonight and we have to come in with the same attitude and hunger as we did this morning. It’s 0-0 and let’s see what the score is at the end of the night.”

Meredith Cavalier got UVa off to a good start with an amazing performance, clocking a time of 1:55.15 in the event as she was the very first swimmer off the blocks for Virginia this morning. She will be joined in the finals by Caroline Kenney (1:55.93), Charlotte Clarke (1:56.18) and Erika Stewart (1:56.79) in the final. Additionally, Riley Flanagan (1:57.78) and Jenny Lewis (1:58.30) earned spots in the consolation final; all six times were NCAA ‘B’ marks.

“It was an exceptional performance by Meredith Cavalier and really set the tone for what we believed we were capable of doing this morning,” Bernardino said. “She was very inspiring and let every woman on the team know that this is how you are supposed to race.”

Virginia then ended the morning session with the three fastest times – and four of the top-5 – in the 200 butterfly. Freshman Rachel Naurath led the way with a time of 1:56.78 and was followed by seniors Claire Crippen (1:58.26) and Liz Shaw (1:58.42). Flanagan also earned a spot in the final with a time of 2:00.18; all four times were NCAA ‘B’ standards.

Lauren Perdue topped the 100 freestyle field with a time of 48.28 in another strong event for Virginia, which put four swimmers in the finals. Seniors Kristen Moores (49.36) and Hannah Davis (49.68) along with freshman Emily Lloyd (49.50) will join Perdue in the final. Junior Meredith Perdue tied for eighth in the preliminaries (49.76) and will compete in the consolation final following a swim-off. All five marks were NCAA ‘B’ times.

Two Cavaliers – junior Kelly Flynn (2:14.10, ‘B’) and senior Amanda Faulkner (2:14.36, ‘B’) swam their way into the final of the 200 breaststroke. They were the only two swimmers in the event for Virginia.

“It was great to see Caroline and Amanda have good mornings,” Bernardino said. “I used a baseball analogy with them. Yesterday they struck out but today was their day to hit a home run. It was a new day and new game and they both had huge performances. Kelly Flynn has been a key part of our relays but made the finals for the first time today. Riley Flanagan had a brutal day with the 200 back and 200 fly and she responded with two great swims.”

Seniors Anne Summer Myers and Katya Bachrouche will compete in a timed final of the 1650 freestyle tonight in addition to the four other events. The 400 freestyle relay will cap the meet.

Virginia is seeking its fourth consecutive conference title, a feat never accomplished before by the women. North Carolina has a 37-point lead over the Cavaliers heading into the final session.

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