North Carolina’s Whitney Sprague highlighted the first evening of swimming at the Janis Hape Dowd Nike Cup Swimming and Diving Championships as she broke the school record in the 500-yard freestyle and
swam the third fastest time in ACC history. The meet at Koury Natatorium features seven men’s and women’s teams and will continue on Friday and Saturday.
After the first day, North Carolina’s women lead with 337.5, with Virginia Tech second at 321.5, Clemson third at 236, Kentucky fourth at 159, ECU fifth at 112, Syracuse sixth with 54 and Yale seventh with 12.
On the men’s side, Virginia Tech leads with 342, Clemson is second with 261, North Carolina third with 232, Kentucky fourth with 178, Yale fifth with 108, ECU seventh with 65 and Syracuse eighth with 52.
Clemson won the opening event of the night, the women’s 200-yard freestyle
relay, with a Nike Cup record time of 1:31.16. The Tigers’ relay consisted
of Rachel Regone, Lauren Sindall, Alex Allen and Michelle Parkhurst.
Carolina’s top relay of Megan Steeves, Rebecca Kane, Eliza Butts and Kelsey
Morrissy was the runner-up in the event with a clocking of 1:32.61.
In the men’s 200-yard freestyle relay, Virginia Tech took home the top prize
with a time of 1:19.98. The Hokies’ relay included Scott Beard, Jake Bova,
Ian deToll and Kaan Tayla. Carolina had a pair of relays finish in the top
eight with fifth and eighth place results. The fifth place relay was
composed of Zach Swartz, Tommy Wyher, Jeff James and Josh Hafkin and it was
clocked in 1:23.60.
In the women’s 500-yard freestyle, Tar Heel junior Whitney Sprague scorched
the field with a University of North Carolina school record and Nike Cup
record time of 4:41.09, breaking the record of 4:43.11 set by Kentucky’s
Kelly Heath in 1994 by 2.10 seconds. Sprague’s time was an “A” qualifying
time for the 2008 NCAA Championships and it broke her previous career best
clocking of 4:43.94. Sprague’s time in the 500 was the third fastest in
Atlantic Coast Conference history behind Clemson’s Mitzi Kremer at 4:39.18
in 1989 and Virginia’s Cara Lane at 4:39.61 in 2001.
Carolina freshman Katura Harvey had a time of 4:48.57 to finish second, an
NCAA “B” qualifying time. Harvey’s time was .11 of a second faster than her
previous career best.
In the men’s 500-yard freestyle, Kentucky freshman Tyler Reed took top
honors with an NCAA “B” qualifying time of 4:25.57. Carolina freshman Joe
Kinderwater was the runner-up with a time of 4:27.67. UNC senior Philip Owen
was sixth overall in the event at 4:31.14, giving UNC two swimmers in the
In the women’s 200-yard individual medley Jessica Botzum of Virginia Tech
won the title in an NCAA “B” qualifying time of 2:02.38. UNC’s Allison
Clemens was second, also in a “B” time of 2:03.80. Aubrette Biegel of
Carolina was fourth in 2:05.81 after going a career best 2:05.43 in the
In the men’s 200-yard individual medley, Clemson senior Attila Ruszka was
the champion at 1:50.51. Jeff James of the Tar Heels finished third in the
event. UNC freshman Vinny Pryor finished seventh in a career best time of
1:51.72. Pryor’s high school career best was 1:53.66.
All four swimmers in the super final of the women’s 50-yard freestyle went
under the NCAA “B” consideration time with Clemson’s Rachel Regone winning
in a time of 22.68. Carolina’s Kelsey Morrissy was third in 23.08 after
going her career best of 22.96 in the preliminaries of the event.
Yale’s Alex Righi was the winner of the 50-yard freestyle for men in a time
of 20.16 in a tightly bunched field.
Virginia Tech’s Mikey McDonald won the men’s one-meter diving with a score
of 356.95. Carolina senior Ryan Funderburk was second with 340.55 points and
junior Alex Kenley took seventh. Three more Tar Heels scored in the
Carolina’s Erika Matheis was the top scorer in the women’s one-meter diving
with a score of 272.85 as she led a group of four Tar Heels in the final
eight. Senior Laura Filip was third with Erica Schiffler sixth and Mandy
Virginia Tech took home the top place in the 400-yard medley relay with a
time of 3:42.28, breaking the Nike Cup record of 3:43.20 set by Michigan in
2002. The Hokies’ relay included Jordan McHorney, Jessica Botzum, Megan
Newell and Sara Smith. UNC was second with an NCAA “B” qualifying time of
The Hokies also took top honors in the 400-yard medley relay with a time of
3:18.35 ahead of No. 2 Kentucky and No. 3 UNC. The winning Virginia Tech
relay included Scott Beard, Scott Harkins, Ian deToll and Kaan Tayla.
Prelims tomorrow are at 10 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m. at Koury Natatorium.