Fox, Clarke Win First Career ACC Titles
CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – Redshirt freshman Megan Fox and sophomore Charlotte Clarke won their first career titles Friday on day three of the 2012 Women’s ACC Championships at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center.
Through 14 events, Virginia has 558 points to lead North Carolina (401) and Florida State (302).
Fox went 4:08.01 in the championship heat of the 400 individual medley to get things started for UVa.
“I just wanted to have fun and not think about it too much,” Fox said of her race. “I wanted to swim a smart race and come home strong. When I hit the wall, I was really surprised when I looked at the board. I know everything that has gone on the past year has only made me a tougher swimmer and a tougher person and it’s great having this team behind me.”
“It was a gutsy, courageous, wire-to-wire swim,” Virginia head coach Mark Bernardino said of Fox. “She was relentless from the start until the time she put her hand on the wall. She is a special kid and we are really fortunate that we have been able to help her resurrect her career and really do some great things at her first ACC meet.”
Clarke’s win in the 100 backstroke was the final event of the evening where three Cavaliers placed among the top-5. In addition to Clarke’s victory (53.33), junior Meredith Cavalier was second in 53.41 and senior Erika Stewart had a solid showing with a fifth-place performance in 54.13. All three of those time were NCAA ‘B’ standards. Additionally, freshman Emily Dicus returned from an earlier swim in the 200 freestyle to place 14th with a time of 55.34.
“The three of us (in the final) obviously wanted to do as well as we could,” Clarke said. “We all had good races and decided beforehand it didn’t matter who got to the wall first, just that one of us did. I knew after this morning I had to stay underwater as long as I possibly could. It definitely wasn’t as fast as I would have hoped but it was a good outcome.”
“She had a tremendous last turn and that’s what won the race for her,” Bernardino said of Clarke. “She was smart underwater and she was controlled. She leveraged that great underwater kick into a victory. We racked up a lot of points in that race with good performances from Meredith and Erika as well.”
Other all-conference selections on Friday included freshman Ellen Williamson in the 100 butterfly, who was third in 53.23; and sophomore Rachel Naurath in the 200 freestyle, who was also third with a time of 1:46.34.
After Virginia claimed the first three relays of the meet, North Carolina edged the Cavaliers in .05 to win the 400 medley relay in the opening event on Friday night. The Tar Heels touched in 3:35.71 despite a solid freestyle split from junior Lauren Perdue, who anchored UVa to a time of 3:35.76. Cavalier, senior Kelly Flynn and Williamson joined Perdue on the relay.
For the second consecutive night, Williamson ended up on the podium as an all-conference selection after placing third in the 100 butterfly in a ‘B’ time of 53.23. Classmate Sarah White was eighth in 54.50, also a ‘B’ mark, and sophomore Riley Flanagan turned in a 13th-place finish with a ‘B’ time out of the consolation final in 54.46.
“It was an excellent day for Ellen in the butterfly,” Bernardino said. “She was a little tense this evening and didn’t quite have as much relaxation as she did this morning but it was still a great performance from her.”
Naurath led the way in the 200 freestyle after taking third place for All-ACC accolades. She finished in a ‘B’ mark of 1:46.34. Dicus (1:48.66) and Kelly Offutt (1:48.93), both freshmen, finished seventh and eighth, respectively. The Cavaliers a win in the consolation final as sophomore Caroline Kenney (1:47.58, ‘B’) was ninth while classmate Emily Lloyd (1:48.29) was 12th.
Junior Christine Olson (4:15.15) and sophomore Hillary Petersen (4:15.72) joined Fox in the 400 individual medley final and went on to place fifth and sixth, respectively. Freshman Shaun Casey won the consolation heat of the event to place ninth overall in 4:16.93; all four times in the event were NCAA ‘B’ cuts.
“It was a really nice day for Hillary and Christine did a nice job dropping some time from this morning. I thought it was really important that after a disappointing relay that Shaun got us back into the right mentality with her win in that heat.”
Olson came out of the 400 individual medley final and went onto finish seventh in the 100 breaststroke with a NCAA ‘B’ time of 1:02.06. Flynn was second in the consolation final for a 10th-place overall finish in 1:02.60, also a ‘B’ mark.
The fourth day of the ACC Championships continues at 11 a.m. Saturday with preliminaries in the 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly, 1650 freestyle and both men’s and women’s platform diving.
2012 ACC Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships
Feb. 15-18 | Christiansburg, Va.
After 14 Events
558 2. North Carolina
401 3. Florida State
302 4. Maryland
273 5. Virginia Tech
269 6. Miami
244 7. NC State
170.5 8. Georgia Tech
154.5 9. Duke
149 10. Clemson 90 11. Boston College