For the sixth straight year, the Virginia women are the champions of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Cavaliers built an early lead in the four-day meet and clinched the title on Saturday night at the Greensboro Aquatic Center. The championship is the 11th in program history, all of which have come under head coach Mark Bernardino.
Virginia senior Lauren Perdue, the ACC Women’s Championship Most Valuable Swimmer, won the 200 freestyle, finished second in the 50 and 100 freestyle races, and swam on the victorious 800 freestyle relay during the week. Perdue finishes her career with seven individual and 19 overall titles.
“We got off to a wonderful start on Thursday and carried that momentum into the rest of the meet,” Bernardino said. “We won a couple of events on Friday, had a bunch of top-three finishes and kept it going Saturday. We had a bunch of top-time performances at this meet and what’s pretty cool about this team is that there is only one senior (Perdue) on the scoring team.”
Duke’s Nick McCrory, the ACC Men’s Championship Most Valuable Diver, won the platform with a score of 515.20 to become the first male to sweep the three diving events. His seventh career victory, he has passed NC State’s Allyson Reid to become the winningest diver in ACC history. The junior from Chapel Hill, N.C., is the first to earn ACC Men’s Most Valuable Diver honors three times in a career.
Virginia Tech’s Kaylea Arnett was named the ACC Women’s Championship Most Valuable Diver after winning the 1-meter, placing second in the 3-meter, and finishing fifth on the platform. A sophomore, Arnett has won the award in both of her first two years of collegiate competition.
Virginia tallied 832 points to claim the championship. Virginia Tech finished in second place with 536 points, its best finish since joining the league. North Carolina (508), Florida State (497), NC State (438), and Miami (389) rounded out the top six teams. Duke came in seventh place with 246 points, and was followed by Georgia Tech (158), Boston College (98), and Clemson (12).
In the first event of the evening, Miami’s Kara McCormack won her first ACC title when she posted a score of 298.10 in the women’s platform, enough to beat NC State’s Hannah Hopkins (291.75) and Miami’s Carrie Dragland (287.85).
In the 1650 freestyle, Virginia teammates Kelly Offutt (16:08.65) and Rachel Naurath (16:12.55) claimed the top two podium spots and 37 points for the Cavaliers. North Carolina senior Jackie Rudolph finished in third with a time of 16:14.49.
Virginia freshman Courtney Bartholomew completed the backstroke sweep when she touched the wall in an automatic qualifying time of 1:53.13 in the 200 backstroke. Teammate Ellen Williamson earned her third individual podium spot of the week with the silver medal, and North Carolina’s Annie Harrison grabbed silver. The title by Bartholomew was the fourth in the last five years in the 200 backstroke by Virginia swimmers.
Florida State’s Tiffany Oliver, who won the 50 freestyle title earlier in the week, out-touched three-time defending champion Perdue in the 100 freestyle to win her second event. Oliver trailed Perdue through the first three turns, but won the last lap to finish in 48.19, ahead of Perdue’s 48.45. Fellow Seminole Kaitlyn Dressel claimed the third podium spot (49.10).
Weronika Paluszek, a freshman from Virginia Tech, won her first individual championship in the 200 breaststroke. Already having won a title as a member of the 400 medley relay squad, Paluszek bettered her bronze in the 100 breaststroke with a gold medal in the longer distance. Duke’s Christine Wixted matched her silver in the 100 with another in the 200 breast, and Florida State’s Kristine Polley won bronze.
North Carolina’s Cari Blalock won her second title of the championships with a victory in the 200 butterfly in 1:54.67. The 400 individual medley winner touched in 1:54.67 to beat teammate Meredith Hoover and Virginia Tech’s Heather Savage.
In the final race of the 2013 women’s championship, the North Carolina 400 free relay team of Danielle Siverling, Lauren Earp, Hannah Lincoln, and Ally Hardesty combined to finish in 3:15.88. Florida State and Virginia took the other two podium spots, with all three teams posting automatic qualifying marks.
The 2013 ACC Men’s Swimming Championship will be held Wednesday, Feb. 27 through Saturday, March 2 at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.