Cavaliers Take Both Relays on Opening Night of ACC Championships
CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – Virginia’s 200 medley and 800 freestyle relays were both victorious as the 2012 ACC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships opened Wednesday at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center in Christiansburg, Va.
After two events, the Cavaliers are out to an early lead with 80 points. North Carolina is second (68) followed by NC State (56).
Sophomore Charlotte Clarke, senior Kelly Flynn, junior Meredith Cavalier and junior Lauren Perdue got things started with a win in the 200 medley relay, finishing with a NCAA ‘B’ time of 1:39.03. That mark broke the pool record, which was set by the Cavaliers in January in the dual meet with Virginia Tech.
“It was critically important to get off to a great start tonight,” Virginia head coach Mark Bernardino said. “That’s a big part of the reason why we chose to use Lauren as the anchor on the 200 medley relay. Our goal was to be just a little bit faster but we got a very important win and it gave us a lot of energy and emotion.”
North Carolina led for three of the first four legs of the 800 freestyle relay until Perdue jumped in to anchor and caught UNC’s Stephanie Eisenring within the first 50 yards. She teamed up with sophomore Rachel Naurath, sophomore Caroline Kenney and freshman Emily Dicus to win the event in 7:03.56, another ‘B’ cut and pool record. It was the fifth consecutive year the Cavaliers have won the 800 freestyle relay title.
“We knew the 800 freestyle relay was going to be a stern test,” Bernardino continued. “UNC is extremely talented and has a lot of great veteran freestylers. They front-loaded their relay and jumped out to a pretty significant lead. In a funny way we back loaded our relay by putting Lauren there. She is a great anchor leg and a phenomenal come-from-behind swimmer. I felt we would more likely to have a positive outcome if she were the one doing the chasing and it turned out to be the right move this time.
Virginia’s time in the 800 freestyle relay was the second-fastest in school history, only behind the 2011 ACC record-setting mark of 7:03.00, set at the conference championships in Atlanta. Naurath and Perdue were both members of that team, along with the now graduated Liz Shaw and Kristen Moores.
“I was really proud of our relay swims tonight,” Perdue said. “It was exciting to win the 200 medley relay when last year we were fifth in that race. I was a little nervous to swim in the 800 freestyle relay because I haven’t swam the 200 much this year; I wasn’t sure my body would be able to hold up. But I felt pretty good and was able to catch up.”
“There aren’t many people who can understand the physical difficulties she has been under the last eight months,” Bernardino said of Perdue. “We don’t talk about it. She loves her team and she loves to anchor her relays.”
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 Christiansburg.
2012 ACC Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships
Feb. 15-18 | Christiansburg, Va.
After 2 Events
80 2. North Carolina
68 3. NC State
56 4. Florida State
54 5. Maryland 51 6. Virginia Tech
48 6. Georgia Tech
50 8. Duke 47 9. Miami
46 10. Clemson 38 11. Boston College