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CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – The No. 11 Virginia women’s swimming team continued competition Saturday at the 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships with preliminaries in the 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke and 200 butterfly. Timed finals of the 1650 freestyle are also scheduled throughout the day.

The Cavaliers placed five swimmers in the final in the first event of the morning, the 200 backstroke, led by sophomore Charlotte Clarke’s top time of 1:55.04. Virginia had the four fastest times of the preliminaries as sophomore Caroline Kenney (1:55.16), freshman Ellen Williamson (1:55.47) and junior Meredith Cavalier (1:55.48) all followed. Senior Erika Stewart also made the championship heat with a mark of 1:57.08. Additionally, sophomore Riley Flanagan will participate in the consolation final after her swim of 1:58.56; every UVa time was a NCAA ‘B’ cut.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better beginning to our day than having five backstrokers step up and place themselves in the final,” Virginia head coach Mark Bernardino said. “Literally each and every one of them had a really good swim and I believe the chance for improvement for all five of those girls is significant.”

Junior Lauren Perdue returned after not swimming an individual event on Friday to earn the top seed in the 100 freestyle. She finished with a ‘B’ time of 48.30 and will be joined by sophomore Emily Lloyd (49.67, ‘B’) in the championship final. Freshman Emily Dicus swam her way into the consolation final after touching in 51.13.

“I thought Emily Lloyd did a nice job; she was beautiful for 75 yards and had to scramble a little bit at the finish but she got the job done,” Bernardino said. “Lauren swam beautifully but didn’t turn as well as we know she can. Hopefully tonight she will hit the walls with a little more momentum and speed.”

Junior Christine Olson also posted a ‘B’ mark with the fastest time of the session in the 200 breaststroke, a 2:11.87. Senior Kelly Flynn also made the championship final in a ‘B’ time of 2:14.99.

“We got two in the final of the breaststroke which is what we hoped,” Bernardino said. “I am very happy with Christine’s swim. She looked very controlled and relaxed. I think she will get a little more hyped tonight; she is a great come-from-behind swimmer and found herself in the lead from the get-go.”

Three more Cavaliers earned berths in the final of the 200 butterfly – all freshmen. Alison Haulsee’s ‘B’ time of 1:56.54 was the second-best of the morning. She was followed by Sarah White (1:57.16, ‘B’) and Megan Fox (1:57.61, ‘B’). Flanagan returned from her swim in the 200 backstroke to finish ninth and earn a spot in the consolation final with a time of 1:59.52. She will be joined by freshman Shaun Casey (2:00.93) who also will swim in the B final.

“We had excellent swims for all three of our girls in the final,” Bernardino said. “They swam the race with the right amount of aggression. Megan had a lot of dynamic energy at the end of the race. We are going to work on Sarah’s last 25 to get her hands out in front a little bit faster. To go 1:56 and not hit a single turn like Alison did is outstanding. She has the chance to do something pretty special tonight.”

Finals begin at 7 p.m. and will be available via a live webcast. The 400 freestyle relay will also be contested this evening. Virginia is seeking its 10th women’s championship, including its fifth consecutive.

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