Virginia Wins Two Titles on Final Day of ACCs
Feb. 16, 2017
ATLANTA – Senior Leah Smith (Pittsburgh, Pa.) won her fourth-straight 1,650 free title and senior Kaitlyn Jones (Newark, Del.) defended her 200 fly crown on the final night of the 2017 ACC Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships held at Georgia Tech’s McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta.
The No. 8 Virginia women’s swimming and diving team finished the meet in second place with 1,100.5 points. NC State won with 1,183.5 points to end the Cavaliers’ nine-year streak of winning the team championship that dated back to 2008. Louisville was third (1027), North Carolina fourth (980) and Virginia Tech fifth (739).
The Cavaliers finished the meet with four individual ACC titles, the 800 free relay win and 13 top-three finishes overall.
“I am proud of our women for how they performed this week,” head coach Augie Busch said. “We went into today thinking we had a shot to defend our title, but in the end NC State proved to be very formidable and congratulations to them. We fought hard and in the process were able to qualify several more people for NCAAs next month. Being at our very best in March is the main focus of our program and we look forward to getting back to work to ensure that happens.”
Smith completed the distance sweep for the fourth-straight year, taking the 1,650 free gold on Thursday. With the win, Smith became the fourth swimmer in ACC history to win multiple events four times after winning her fourth consecutive 500 free championship earlier in the week. Smith concluded her ACC Championship career with nine individual titles, which ties for the second-most in ACC history and ties Courtney Bartholomew for the most in UVA history, and has 13 total.
The night began early with Smith competing in the first heat due to not swimming the event in the regular season. Smith set a new pool record with an automatic NCAA qualifying time of 15:31.49 and had to wait for three heats before being crowned champion.
Jones won her second-straight 200 fly title and third individual ACC Championship overall with a time of 1:53.21. Jones waited to make her move heading into the back half of the swim, and out-touched the field by over a second for the win.
In the final heat of the 1,650 free, junior Cece Williams (Tallahassee, Fla.) had a huge swim, cutting nearly 13 seconds off her season-best time with a NCAA B time of 16:18.41 to finish sixth overall.
Following the mile was the women’s platform event where sophomore Kylie Towbin (New Canaan, Conn.) made the final to appear in all three diving finals of the ACCs. Towbin totaled 246.65 to finish sixth overall. Also scoring on the women’s platform, Freshman Sydney Dusel (Naperville, Ill.) finished 14th with a score of 211.45.
UVA had four swimmers in the 100 free B Final. Sophomore Eryn Eddy (Loveland, Colo.) clocked in with a 48.71 to lead the pack at 11th overall. Senior Ellen Thomas (Guildford, United Kingdom) was 12th in 48.86, junior Caitlin Cooper (Atlanta, Ga.) took 13th in 48.94 and senior Shannon Rauth (Glenmoore, Pa.) was 15th with a 48.96. All four swimmers improved on season-best times from their prelim swims.
Freshman Morgan Hill (Olney, Md.) finished 22nd overall with a 49.66 in the C Final.
Senior Laura Simon (Simmern, Germany) looked to defend her two-straight titles in the 200 breast. Simon led for most of the race, but was just out-touched at the wall by Louisville’s Andrea Cottrell, finishing second in a time of 2:07.24.
Sophomore Vivian Tafuto (Hummelstown, Pa.) used a career-best and third fastest swim in UVA history (2:11.45) to make the final spot in the A Final. Tafuto came in eighth place with a 2:14.48.
Freshman Mary Claire Tansill (Bristow, Va.) continued to swim well in her first ACC Championship, using a season-best time of 2:11.57, the fifth fastest in school history, to make the B Final. Tansill was 10th overall in 2:12.02. Freshman Madeleine Vonderhaar (Lakeside Park, Ky.) was 20th overall in 2:14.45.
Junior Jennifer Marrkand (Westford, Mass.) had a solid swim in the 200 fly A Final to make her second podium appearance of the meet with a third place finish in 1:55.29. Sophomore Rachel Politi (Bexley, Ohio) was 14th in the 200 fly with a 1:58.82 in the B Final.
Freshman Bryce Shelton (Vienna, Va.) made his first ACC final, advancing on the platform. Shelton had a career-best performance on the event with a total of 369.15 to finish fourth overall.
Closing the meet was the 400 free relay. UVA’s group of Eddy, Cooper, Rauth and Thomas finished fourth in a time of 3:15.38.
Also competing on the platform for the women, sophomore Kirsten Parkinson (Stamford, Conn.) was 34th with a 172.70 and junior Corey Johnson (Ambler, Pa.) was 36th with a 161.20. Freshman Samson Miller (Fairfax, Va.) finished the men’s platform with a 191.95 in 27th.
Next up, the Virginia men’s swimmers will compete at the ACC Championships to be held at Georgia Tech’s McAuley Aquatic Center, Feb. 27 – March 2.
The meet also signified the women’s swimming and diving matchup between Virginia and Virginia Tech in the Commonwealth Clash, sponsored by Virginia529, the official college savings plan of the University of Virginia Athletics. By way of its team victory, UVA earned one point in the Virginia 529 Commonwealth Clash, the point rivalry series between UVA and Virginia Tech. The school that finishes higher in the meet will receive a point in the competition. Virginia Tech leads the 2016-17 Commonwealth Clash, 5-4.5. Learn more about Virginia529 and this competition at thecommonwealthclash.com.