No. 11 Virginia Women Top 15th-Ranked Tar Heels, 170-130
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The 11th-ranked Virginia women’s swimming and diving team earned a 170-130 victory at No. 15 North Carolina Saturday at Koury Natatorium in an Atlantic Coast Conference dual meet.
The Cavaliers remained unbeaten in dual meets on the year with a 6-0 mark, including a 3-0 record against ACC schools. North Carolina, meanwhile, suffered its first loss to an ACC opponent this season (4-1) and fell to 5-2 overall.
Junior Lauren Perdue claimed two individual event wins for the Cavaliers to lead the way. She won the 50 freestyle (22.97) and 100 freestyle (50.22), both of which were NCAA ‘B’ cuts. Sophomore Charlotte Clarke joined Perdue as a double event winner, taking both the 100 backstroke (54.53, ‘B’) and 200 backstroke (1:59.78) titles.
“The women were tough as nails out there today,” Virginia head coach Mark Bernardino said. “The entire team got a huge lift with the return of Lauren Perdue and her courage and physical toughness to fight through. Her performances were just outstanding. It’s fun to have her back in the lineup and see her race. Winning and competing hard is part of her DNA and she displayed that today.”
Other event winners included Caroline Kenney in the 200 freestyle (1:48.37, ‘B’); Alison Haulsee in the 200 butterfly (1:58.67, ‘B’); Christine Olson in the 200 breaststroke (2:16.83); Rachel Naurath in the 100 butterfly (54.22) and Ellen Williamson in the 200 individual medley (2:02.10).
The Cavaliers capped the meet in dominating fashion with a 1-2 finish in the 400 freestyle relay. Meredith Perdue, Emily Dicus, Kenney and Lauren Perdue teamed up to win the event in 3:23.53 while Meredith Cavalier, Naurath, Kelly Flynn and Emily Lloyd placed second in 3:24.34. Both times were NCAA ‘B’ standards.
Virginia was able to bounce back from a disqualification in the first event of the meet, the 200 medley relay. Two Cavalier squads were disqualified but Virginia’s third relay comprised of Williamson, Erika Stewart, Sarah White and Lloyd took second in 1:44.66.
Naurath then led the Cavaliers in the 1000 freestyle with a second-place finish in 9:47.41, followed by Kenney’s win in the 200 freestyle. Clarke took the 100 backstroke title and was followed by Williamson in third (55.41) and Stewart in fourth (55.55).
“Talk about a rocky start,” Bernardino continued, “we immediately tried to gain control of the meet and had the DQ and went into the next event, lost that, and found ourselves down significantly after two events. But they didn’t panic. They rallied and stayed strong to jump back into it with two nice victories by Caroline Kenney and Charlotte Clarke.”
Flynn was second in the 100 breaststroke in 1:04.51 and Olson finished in a three-way tie for third in 1:04.54. Megan Fox put up a ‘B’ cut in the 200 butterfly, finishing third behind Haulsee.
Perdue and Cavalier went 1-2 in the 50 freestyle before the first diving break to give Virginia an early 69-62 lead. Cavalier clocked a time of 23.56 in the event.
Perdue came right back after the break to tally a first-place finish in the 100 freestyle and was followed by Naurath in second (50.27) and Dicus in fourth (51.61.).
Virginia then swept the 200 backstroke, led by Clarke’s win. Stewart (1:59.78) and Cavalier (2:00.99) were second and third, respectively.
Flynn finished second to Olson in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:17.64. Kenney (4:50.53, second) and Haulsee (4:51.60, third) both tallied NCAA ‘B’ standards in the 500 freestyle.
“Our fourth year girls – Kelly Flynn, Meredith Perdue and Erika Stewart – all raced well,” Bernardino said. “Rachel Naurath had a tough double and her win in the butterfly was just huge. The real turning point came when Christine Olson locked up with (UNC’s) Laura Moriarty and was able to get a hand on the wall first. And then Kelly Flynn, just biding her time, came back to finish second in that race. It was definiting point in the meet.”
The Cavaliers increased their lead to 136-109 heading into the second diving break. In the final individual event of the day, Williamson came out on top in the 200 individual medley field, followed by Stewart (2:03.23) and White (2:03.43) in third and fourth, respectively.
On the boards, freshman Laura Gartrell qualified for the NCAA Zone Championships with a second-place performance on the 1-meter. She tallied a score of 273.53.
Virginia is back in action next Saturday (Jan. 28) when the Cavaliers host Pittsburgh in the first home meet of the season at the Aquatic and Fitness Center.