The Virginia Tech H2Okies hosted small squads from James Madison, Virginia Military Institute, Washington and Lee, UNC Wilmington and Georgia Tech this evening in the first session of the two-day Virginia Tech Invitational. Tech hopes to make this an annual e! vent, thanks to the opening of the brand new Christiansburg Aquatic Center. On the first day of competition, the H2Okies sit atop the standings, taking home 10 titles in 14 events. Tech won every event in which an H2Okie swam in the finals.
“The environment today was awesome,” said head coach Ned Skinner. “The whole team came out in force to support those swimming, and having the cameras here and the excitement of the internet live stream is something that we are excited about for the future of our program. It was a great day.”
Rachel Sepanski opened the meet with a first-place finish in the 200 freestyle, swimming a 1:51.64. Caroline Higgins and Michael Hallock both won the 100 backstroke, swimming a 56.44 and 48.61, respectively. Sarah Ault and Alex Lutterbein took third and fourth in the event. Natalie Leake then earned a third title for the women, swimming the 100 breast in 1:04.83, while Nathan Hoisington led a H2Okie sweep of the event with a time of 51.14, followed closely by Adam Skipper in second, Danny Loftus in third and Nick Tremols in fourth.
Sepanski then became the only H2Okie to earn a second title, winning the 500 free in 5:00.30, while Ben Munster took home the same title for the men (4:38.77). Morgan Allen picked up the final gold medal for the women, winning the 50 with a time of 24.15, while Adam Skipper took home the gold for the men. Michael Hallock finished second in the men’s event and Sarah Ault finished third for the women.
The competition will wrap up tomorrow with the final five events for each team. The preliminary round will begin at 10 a.m. with the finals commencing at 4 p.m.
Sophomore Leah Webber (Midlothian, Va./MathSci at Clover Hill) led the way for JMU collecting a first-place finish by winning the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 57.19 seconds. Her preliminary time of 57.16 was the fifth-fastest time in school history.
“Leah put a complete day together with two good swims today,” head coach Sam Smith said. “She was really strong in the water with a career-best time of 57.16.”
Other top finishers for Madison include senior Erika Lupacchino (Chester, Va./Thomas Dale) taking second in 100 breaststroke while freshman Shannon Dubay (South Windsor, Conn./South Windsor) took third. Lupacchino finished in a time of 1:06.09 and Dubay touched the wall at 1:07.17.
“Erika is finishing her career strong,” Smith said. “Coming in as a leader and racing with a lot of passion, speaks to what our team is about. She displayed great leadership today.”
Freshman Addy Morrison (Williamsburg, Va./Bruton) also collected a first-place finish, winning the 400 individual medley with a time of 4:35.63.
Junior Emily Vance (Moraga, Calif./Campolindo) recorded to top-five finishes, taking third in the 500 freestyle (5:11.14) and fifth in the 200 freestyle.
Sophomore Becca Senn (Nashville, Tenn./Hillsboro) was fourth in the 100-yard backstroke, tying for the ninth best time in school history at 58.31 seconds. Fellow sophomore Caroline Burns (Severna Park, Md./Severn School) was just 0.4 seconds behind her to take fifth. Sophomore Kate Kessler (Stevenson Ranch, Calif./West Ranch) took sixth.
Burns, Lupacchino and Senn finished sixth, eighth and ninth respectively in the 50 freestyle.
The VMI men?s swimming and diving team competed Saturday, taking part in the opening day of the Virginia Tech Invitational in Christiansburg, Va.
The Keydets sent swimmers into the pool in five of the events Saturday, with several finishes of note. Matt Dale had the sixth-best time in the 100-yard backstroke, clocking in at 55.74 in the finals. That was VMI?s best time in the event this season.
Dale was joined by Thomas Brown, who posted a fifth-place finish in the 100 fly. Brown?s time of 57.06 was the second-best effort in 2010-11 by a Keydet.
Also included in Saturday?s action was James Wiltshire, who was fourth in the 200 free, as well as Sam Halter, who led a contingent of VMI swimmers in the 50 free, by placing 10th (22.96). VMI captured positions 10 through 15 in that 50 free.
VMI will return to action Sunday for the final day of the Virginia Tech Invitational. Action is set to get underway at 10 a.m.