ATLANTA – The 10th-ranked Virginia men’s swimming and diving team opened the 2011 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships with a win and third-place showing to share the early lead with Clemson Wednesday at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center. The Cavaliers and Tigers both scored 72 points while North Carolina is third at 68 points. The Cavaliers are seeking their fourth consecutive ACC title.
UVa’s 800-yard freestyle relay team scored the team’s first victory in the meet with a winning NCAA ‘A’ time of 6:16.75. The team of Matt McLean, Taylor Smith, David Karasek and Scot Robison bettered second place North Carolina (6:24.07) by nearly eight seconds. It was the second fastest time in UVa history.
“We have such an outstanding 800 free relay,” said Virginia coach Mark Bernardino. “We have a lot of confidence in that relay and a lot of confidence in every individual in that relay. With the bookends of McLean and Robison that’s one of the better relays in the country. With one leading off and the other anchoring us, they’re pretty hard to beat.”
It marked at least the second time all four members of the relay have won the ACC title in the event. Karasek swam in the event in 2009, Smith in 2010 and Robison and McLean have led the Cavaliers to victories in the event for four straight years.
“We got a tremendous best out of David Karasek in the third leg and for me that was the most impressive swim of anybody on that relay tonight,” Bernardino said. “I was thrilled with what David did. Taylor Smith has always been rock solid on that relay and he was again tonight. We’re off, we’re moving and hopefully we’ll carry some of the momentum and energy from this relay into the first race tomorrow, which is very important for us.”
Virginia’s 200-yard medley relay team opened the meet with a third place finish. Jack Murfee, Taylor Grey, Peter Geissinger and Tom Barrett combined for a NCAA ‘B’ time of 1:27.48 to place behind Clemson (1:26.34) and North Carolina (126.50).
Day two of the ACC Championships continues at 11 a.m. Thursday with preliminaries in the 500 freestyle, 200 individual medley and 50 freestyle. The evening events will feature finals in those races and the 200 free relay.
2011 ACC Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships
Feb. 23-16 | Atlanta, Ga.
After 2 Events
72 1. Clemson
72 3. North Carolina
68 4. Florida State 56 5. Virginia Tech
54 6. NC State 50 7. Georgia Tech
50 8. Duke
46 9. Maryland
40 10. Boston College