By Jan Allen
The University of Virginia waited until the final individual event of the meet, the 200 butterfly, to surge into the lead and earn a 34-point cushion for the final relay. They capped off the night with a win in the 400 free relay, going 3:15.68, to win their fourth straight ACC title and ninth overall in school history at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center on Saturday night.
UVA sophomore Lauren Perdue, who earned the Most Valuable Swimmer of the Meet for the second year in a row with a unanimous vote by the coaches in the conference, went 48.14 to lead off, and senior Kristen Moores, freshman Emily Lloyd, and senior Hannah Davis kept the lead the entire race.
As soon as the relay ended, UVA head coach Mark Bernardino started unlacing his tennis shoes for the traditional swim in the pool for the champions. He admitted that tonight his favorite event was clearly the 200 butterfly, his best event during his days as a swimmer.
“We wanted to get it to the last event and be within six points,” he said. “We felt like we could win that last relay. We wanted to do everything we could to be the best we could all weekend. And what we had this weekend was eight incredible seniors who have never lost an ACC dual meet or an ACC championship meet. They were inspirational. Hopefully, the chemistry they created will be passed on.”
In the 200 butterfly, the Cavaliers went one, two, three, and five to score 67 points in the event to the University of North Carolina’s 6. Rachel Naurath, a freshman for UVA, won with a time of 1:55.88. Senior Liz Shaw was second (1:57.85), senior Claire Crippen was third (1:57.98) and freshman Riley Flanagan was fifth (1:59.93).
In the 200 breaststroke, UNC junior Layne Brodie earned the gold medal, swimming a 2:10.56. Her teammate Laura Moriarty, also a junior, was second with a 2:10.91, and UVA’s Kelly Flynn took third with a 2:11.97.
After the meet, Brodie noted that her Tar Heel team is ready for the next opportunity to race. “We move on,” she said. “We want to be Top 10 at NCAAs; that’s where we belong. Monday, we go back to work and fine tune to get ready.”
Perdue of UVA took the top spot in the 100 with an ACC meet and conference record time of 47.88. Maryland took second and third with the swims of senior Annie Fittin (48.79) and sophomore Megan Lafferty (48.92).
Carly Smith, a sophomore for the Tar Heels, won the 200 backstroke with an NCAA automatic time of 1:53.08. Meredith Cavalier of UVA was second (1:54.27), and Stephanie Sarandos, a junior from Florida State, was third (1:55.98).
Duke earned two individual event gold medals in the final session, senior Ashley Twichell in the mile and freshman Haley Ishimatsu in women’s platform diving.
“It was a great day for us,” Duke head coach Dan Colella said, just after his team finished the 400 free relay in school record setting time (3:23.62) and sealed its seventh place spot in team scoring. “What Ashley has been doing all season long was an indication that she could go sub 16 minutes. Watching her first 100 and seeing her swim her race, we knew she was on her way.”
Twichell won the mile with a time of 15:54.15, a new ACC meet, conference and pool record. Senior captain Katya Bachrouche of UVA was second (16:09.09) and UNC senior Katura Harvey was third (16:11.25). UVA scored 31 points in the event, while UNC earned 39.
Ishimatsu of Duke was the winner of the platform diving with a score of 351.65, in what Duke’s Colella called “spectacular.” Miami’s Carrie Dragland, a junior, was second with a score of 336.90, and FSU’s Katrina Young was third with 299.95.
In the men’s platform diving event, Logan Shinholser a sophomore of Virginia Tech, won with a 449.15. Senior Landon Marzullo of Florida State was second with 441.25, and Mike Neubacher, a sophomore of Florida State, was third with 422.90.
Junior Abby Johnston and sophomore Nick McCrory, both from Duke, were named ACC divers of the meet. Both won those titles for the second year in a row.
Final team scores are as follows: UVA 776, UNC 734, Florida State 417, Maryland 397, VaTech 358, Miami 349, Duke 262.50, NC State 159.50, Georgia Tech 152, Clemson 151, and Boston College 60.