Feb. 15, 2017
ATLANTA – Senior Laura Simon (Simmern, Germany) won the 100 breaststroke title to lead the way for the No. 8 Virginia women’s swimming and diving team on Wednesday (Feb. 15) at the ACC Championship held at Georgia Tech’s McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta.
Simon, who holds the UVA school record in the 100 breast, was just off her career-best time to win the event in 58.46. This is the third individual ACC title for Simon, but the first in the 100 breast as she is a two-time champion in the 200 breast.
“Tonight was our best session so far,” head coach Augie Busch said. “The fight we showed is what we talk about and try to stand for as a program. If we show the same competitive spirit tomorrow, we will have a chance to accomplish our overall team goal. They are excited for the opportunity.”
After a solid morning where 17 individuals advanced to the finals on the third night, Virginia is sitting in second place on the team leaderboard with 750 points. NC State leads the competition with 776.5 points, while Louisville is third (674.5), North Carolina is fourth (665) and Duke (513.5) rounds out the top five.
Senior Kaitlyn Jones (Newark, Del.) battled to a second place finish to open the night in the 400 IM. She clocked in with a 4:06.80 swim, nearly three seconds ahead of the rest of the field.
Also in the 400 IM, sophomore Rachel Politi (Bexley, Ohio) finished seventh overall in (4:13.07). Politi’s time of 4:11.07 in prelims was a career-best and moves her into eighth all-time in UVA history. Sophomore Sara Stranick (Charlotte, N.C.) dropped nearly two seconds off her season best swim with a 4:17.77 to make the B Final. Stranick finished 16th overall with a time of 4:21.15.
Seniors Ellen Thomas (Guildford, United Kingdom) and Shannon Rauth (Glenmoore, Pa.) both improved on their season-best times from prelims in the B Final of the 100 fly. Thomas clocked in second in the heat to tie for 10th overall in 52.58. Rauth was 13th overall in a time of 52.87.
UVA had all six swimmers in the 200 free move on to finals, four of which swam in the A Final. Senior Leah Smith (Pittsburgh, Pa.) swam her season-best time to take second in 1:43.29 and earn her second medal of the championship.
Junior Jennifer Marrkand (Westford, Mass.) was fifth in 1:45.18. Freshman Morgan Hill (Olney, Md.) swam to a sixth place finish with a season-best and the eighth fastest time in school history, 1:45.63. Sophomore Eryn Eddy (Loveland, Colo.) posted her season-best swim with a 1:45.63 to take seventh.
Junior Laine Reed (Austin, Texas) put together another big swim, improving on her season-best from prelims for a time of 1:46.99 to place 13th. Junior Cece Williams (Tallahassee, Fla.) finished 22nd with a time of 1:48.23.
Along with Simon, sophomore Vivian Tafuto (Hummelstown, Pa.) competed in the 100 breast A Final. Tafuto just missed the podium, taking fourth with a career-best and second fastest time in UVA history, 59.79.
Freshman Mary Claire Tansill (Bristow, Va.) used a career-best swim and the seventh fastest time in school history (1:01.35) to take third in the B final and 18th overall of the 100 breast. Fellow freshman Madeleine Vonderhaar (Lakeside Park, Ky.) had to compete in a swim-off following prelims and won to make the B Final. Vonderhaar clocked in at 1:01.72 to finished 15th.
The night’s individual events concluded with the 100 back. Junior Caitlin Cooper (Atlanta, Ga.) improved on her season-best time from prelims with a 53.48 to take 16th. Reed competed in her second event of the evening, placing 21st in 54.45.
UVA finished the night with a third place finish in the 400-medley relay with a time of 3:31.42. Marrkand led off the backstroke leg with a 53.55 swim, as Simon dove in for the breaststroke leg, Jones followed with the fly and Thomas anchored with the freestyle leg.
The 2017 ACC Championship will conclude on Thursday with the 1,650 free, women’s platform diving, 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 fly, men’s platform diving and the 400 free relay. Prelims begin at 10 a.m. and finals start at 6 p.m. and will be streamed on the ACC Network Extra.
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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