CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – On the 25th anniversary of Virginia’s first Atlantic Coast Conference swimming championship in 1987, the men’s swimming and diving team claimed its 15th conference title Saturday at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center in Christiansburg, Va.
It was the fifth consecutive league title for the Cavaliers and the 13th in the last 14 years. The championship also marked the 25th won by the Virginia swimming and diving program, all under 34th-year head coach Mark Bernardino. The UVa women won their 10th ACC crown last week.
Bernardino also matches legendary coach Don Easterling, the former NC State mentor, with 15 men’s championships.
Virginia accumulated 626.5 points throughout the four-day meet to hold off host Virginia Tech (594.5) and North Carolina (564).
“We had enough depth and enough good fortune that we were able to capture this one, somehow, some way,” Bernardino said. “Virginia Tech and the entire conference this year was tremendous. It’s great to win for our seniors and it was great experience for our young athletes. We brought nine to this meet who had never been here before. I hope they learned a little bit about what it takes to perform at this level.”
Heading into the final event of the championships, the 400 freestyle relay, Virginia maintained a 22-point lead with 594.5 points to Virginia Tech’s 572.5.
The 400 freestyle relay team of senior Peter Geissinger, junior Tom Barrett, senior David Karasek and sophomore Parker Camp teamed up for a third-place finish in 2:54.29, a NCAA ‘B’ time.
“This is the first year we haven’t had any superstars,” Geissinger said. “It was definitely a challenge but this is probably the best one. We did not swim amazing and were beating ourselves a lot of the time. All year, we stumbled and got back up. I’m proud of the team for that.”
Sophomore Bradley Phillips got the evening started with an all-conference performance in the 1650 freestyle. He finished second overall in a NCAA ‘B’ time of 15:06.95. Classmate Jan Daniec placed fourth overall in 15:19.79, another ‘B’ standard.
Junior Brady Fox also earned a spot on the podium with his second-place finish in the 200 backstroke, touching in 1:43.10. He led a trio of Cavaliers in the final as Camp (1:45.99) was sixth and junior Matt Murray (1:46.11) was seventh. All three times were NCAA ‘B’ marks.
It was after the 200 backstroke race, event 17 of 21, where Virginia jumped the Hokies for first place and stayed there, though at the time it was a margin of only 5.5 points.
Virginia was represented by three more Cavaliers in the championship final of the 200 freestyle, where Geissinger, the team’s captain, recorded UVa’s third second-place finish of the evening. He clocked a time of 43.19 in the event, while teammates Karasek (43.73) and Barrett (43.88) placed seventh and eighth, respectively. Every Cavalier time was a ‘B’ standard.
Sophomore Taylor Grey tied for fourth in the 200 breaststroke with a NCAA ‘B’ mark of 1:58.04. Junior Tom Casey (2:00.87) was 11th and classmate Nick Montes de Oca (2:02.69) was 16th out of the consolation final.
Junior Matt Houser and freshman David Ingraham represented Virginia in the 200 butterfly final, where Houser led the way with a fifth-place finish in 1:45.81. Ingraham was right behind him in sixth (1:46.82) and sophomore Nathan Hart (1:47.14) was 11th overall after competing in the consolation heat. All three marks were NCAA ‘B’ times.
In early heats of the mile, junior Nathan Vredeveld turned in a 10th-place finish in a ‘B’ time of 15:30.06, while sophomore Serge Gould just missed a scoring opportunity in 17th (15:45.97).
2012 ACC Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships
Feb. 22-25 | Christiansburg, Va.
Final Team Standings
626.5 2. Virginia Tech
594.5 3. North Carolina
564 4. Florida State
542 5. NC State
334.5 6. Georgia Tech
289 7. Duke
271.5 8. Clemson 252.5 9. Maryland
207.5 10. Boston College
78 11. Miami (diving only) 27