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Feb. 20, 2013


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GREENSBORO, N.C.—The No. 11 Virginia women’s swimming and diving team set a new conference record in the 800 freestyle relay and took the early lead after day one of the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships Wednesday evening (Feb. 20) at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, N.C.

“Anytime you break a conference record, you need to be excited and use that momentum to push you forward,” UVa head coach Mark Bernardino said. “That said, there are some things we can do better. We need to get out of practice mode where you swim circles in your lane and need to swim straighter. When you swim left to right, you’re adding distance to your swim and we certainly had instances of that. We’ll talk about that tonight and try and make some corrections for the rest of the meet.”

After the first day, the Cavaliers lead with 70 points, followed by Virginia Tech (66). Miami and NC State are tied for third with 64 points, while Georgia Tech (52), Duke (52), Boston College (44), Florida State (34) and North Carolina (26) round out the field.

The 800 free relay of juniors Rachel Naurath and Caroline Kenney, sophomore Ellen Williamson and senior Lauren Perdue broke the ACC and school record in a time of 7:01.56. UVa and UNC were neck and neck until Williamson’s final 50 yards when the Cavaliers pulled away. It broke UVa’s previous conference and school record of 7:03.00, set in 2011. This was the sixth consecutive year the Cavaliers have won the event.

“It was good to end the night with momentum,” Bernardino said. “I wasn’t overly pleased with our execution in the first relay and wasn’t as sharp as we needed to be. But we came back in that 800 free relay and it was real consistent swimming. Rachel gave us a really good leadoff leg, Caroline and Ellen put in very solid swims in the middle and we’re fortunate to have Lauren to put it away and secure victory.”

In the first event of the meet, the 200 medley relay team of junior Charlotte Clarke, freshman Natalie Martin, Williamson and junior Emily Lloyd placed fourth in a time of 1:38.70. That time is an NCAA ‘B’ cut and the fifth-fastest time in school history.

The action continues Thursday with the 500 free, 200 IM, 50 free, women’s 1-meter diving and men’s 3-meter diving events being contested. Prelims begin at 11 a.m., while the finals are slated for a 7 p.m. start.

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