No. 15 Cavalier Men Set for ACC Championships
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia men’s swimming team will seek its fifth consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference championship this week in Christiansburg, Va. The event, hosted Virginia Tech, begins Wednesday and runs through Saturday at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center. Event finals on Thursday, Friday and Saturday will be available for free via live webcast on theACC.com and live results of each session will be available at VirginiaSports.com.
Ranked 15th in the nation, the Cavalier men have claimed 14 ACC titles, including the last four. Last week, Virginia divers Briggy Imbriglia and JB Kolod earned 44 points on the three events combined. Diving points will be added into the event order on each day.
“We know we go in facing an uphill battle,” Virginia head coach Mark Bernardino said. “If nothing else we know what the score is prior to our arrival there and that leaves very little margin for error over the course of these seven swimming sessions. We are really going to have to be on our A game, which honestly, we have not been on all year. If ever there has been a time for this team to rise to the occasion and swim to its potential, I couldn’t think of a better time for it to happen than right now.”
In 2011, Virginia compiled 820 points to win the meet ahead of North Carolina (588) and Florida State (511.5). Just nine swimmers return from the scoring team a year ago, and six will be competing at the ACC Championships for the first time.
“We have had a very solid training season,” Bernardino continued. “We have worked through adversity and now we are ready for the final opportunity to determine who the champion will be. We’ve selected our team and quite frankly there are several surprises. Those gentlemen worked really hard and did an exceptional job of making a name for themselves and earning a spot on the roster. We have several guys who are upperclass athletes who have never had the chance to perform in this meet. We hope they are excited and ready to bring some energy that this team needs.”
Six Virginia swimmers return to the championships with individual event wins under their belts, including senior captain Peter Geissinger, who won the 100 butterfly in 2011. Five teammates join Geissinger as part of previous winning relays, including junior Tom Barrett, junior Tom Casey, sophomore Taylor Grey, senior David Karasek and junior Matt Murray.
During the dual meet season, Virginia finished with a 5-3 mark and went 3-1 vs. ACC schools. Both NC State and North Carolina finished with six conference wins; the Tar Heels are the highest ranked team in the conference at No. 13. Host Virginia Tech (No. 21) and the Wolfpack (No. 23) are also ranked.
Competition begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday with the 200 medley relay followed by the 800 freestyle relay.