ATLANTA – The 10th-ranked Virginia men’s swimming team continued to build on its lead Friday at the 2011 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center in Atlanta, Ga. The Cavaliers enter Saturday’s final day of competition with 544 points. North Carolina is second at 405 and Florida State third at 338.5.
The Cavaliers picked up a pair of individual wins during the third day’s finals. Scot Robison won his second straight title in the 200 free and Peter Geissinger placed first in the 100 butterfly. UVa capped the night with a come-from-behind win in the 400 medley relay.
“I feel like we had a great night tonight and we punctuated it with the definition of what a team is all about – a team that knows how to win relays and win them when they are not favored,” said Virginia coach Mark Bernardino. “They know how to swim for one another. It was a great team statement tonight. I feel like we punched a few more tickets for the NCAA meet and I’m really excited about that.”
Robison touched the wall first in the 200 free with a time of 1:32.52, a NCAA ‘A’ time. Matt McLean was second at 1:34.41, David Karasek was fourth at 1:35.80 and Taylor Smith finished sixth at 1:36.84.
The victory was the 15th ACC title in Robison’s career. It was the Cavalier senior’s fifth individual event championship. Robison added a 16th ACC medal to his cache by anchoring the winning 400 medley relay squad.
Geissinger defeated two-time defending ACC champion Tommy Wyher of North Carolina by one one-hundredth of a second to win the butterfly. Geissinger won with a time of 46.83 to earn his first ACC individual crown. Matt Murray was eighth in the race at 47.97. Geissinger swam the morning prelims in 46.65.
“I missed the turn in the morning, the first wall and I did the exact same thing tonight, so I was a little frustrated by that,” Geissinger said. “I felt great when I was swimming and I’m happy to win. I wish I had won with the best overall time, but I’ll take whatever I can.”
Geissinger was a key to the Cavaliers’ win in the 400 medley relay. He entered the water on the team’s third leg with UVa trailing North Carolina but made up the deficit and put UVa in the lead when Robison swam the final relay. UVa finished with a time of 3:09.60 while the Tar Heels finished second at 3:10.89. Matt Murray swam the opening leg of the race and Taylor Grey was second in the water. It was the first ACC titles for both swimmers.
“Peter is wonderful and he had a great day,” Bernardino said. “In some ways he is overshadowed by the Matt (McLean) and Scot (Robison) show, but he is a tremendous leader and has an incredible heart and he is at his very, very best on relays. To see him capture his first ACC title, beating the defending two-time champion, it doesn’t get any better than that.
“To see him dive in on that relay and put the team on his back and literally carry us to victory is just awesome for Peter.”
Jack Murfee and Matt Murray gave UVa a two-three finish in the 100 backstroke. Murfee finished in a personal best 47.52 and Murray clocked a time of 47.65. Matt Houser was the runner up in the 400 yard IM at 3:47.33. Bradley Phillips placed fourth in the race at 3:50.01 while Jon Daniec was seventh at 3:52.40 and Tim Hayes was eighth at 3:53.66. Grey Taylor placed seventh in the 100 breaststroke at 54.48.
“We had a lot of great individual swims tonight. Scot Robison was completely awesome in the 200 free,” Bernardino said. “The backstroke duo of Matt Murray and Jack Murfee, what more could you ask for? That was a completely unheralded freshman (Murfee) who took second in that race.
“Matt Murray has made phenomenal improvement from his first year to this year. He didn’t even score in the 100 butterfly last year. He didn’t do a double tonight, he did a triple. He swam 100 butterfly, 100 backstroke and was the leadoff on the relay and in every race he got faster. That is really unheard of and a difficult thing to do.”
The meet wraps up Saturday with 11 a.m. prelims in the 1650 free, 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast and 200 fly.
2011 ACC Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships
Feb. 23-16 | Atlanta, Ga.
After 14 Events
544 2. North Carolina
405 3. Florida State
338.5 4. Virginia Tech
327.5 5. Duke
257 6. Clemson
242 7. Georgia Tech
181 8. NC State
140 9. Maryland
118 10. Boston College
56 11. Miami 13