Feb. 21, 2013
GREENSBORO, N.C.—Podium sweeps in the 500-yard freestyle and 200 IM helped the Virginia women’s swimming and diving team extend its lead on day two of the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships Thursday evening (Feb. 21) at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, N.C.
The No. 11 Cavaliers lead with 309 points, ahead of Florida State (177), NC State (166) and Virginia Tech (166). Miami (159) is fifth, followed by North Carolina (113), Duke (107), Georgia Tech (79), Boston College (62) and Clemson (8).
“We had a special day,” UVa head coach Mark Bernardino said. “What was really great about tonight was that we had some surprises. Between Kelly Offutt in the 500, Alison Haulsee coming from fifth to finish third (in the 500), our 200 IMers and many more, there were some really great performances. The team understands that the meet is not over and that the score is zero-zero and every event is zero-zero. They know they cannot take their foot off the gas pedal and we’re racing with a lot of aggressive energy, emotion and confidence. It’s really fun to see.”
Sophomore Kelly Offutt became the first Cavalier to win the 500 free ACC title since 2004, winning in a time of 4:39.05. Junior Rachel Naurath and sophomore Alison Haulsee completed the sweep, finishing second and third in 4:41.66 and 4:41.81, respectively.
“It’s really exciting,” Offutt said. “Going out, I felt strong and just kept going with it. I feel our whole distance group won tonight because we’ve all been working hard and there were so many of us in that final.”\
Freshman Hanne Borgersen placed fifth in 4:43.76 and junior Hillary Petersen was eighth in 4:49.37. Haulsee's time was the sixth-best mark on UVa's all-time list, while Borgersen's time is 10th. Junior Caroline Kenney finished first in the consolation final in a time of 4:46.35 to place ninth overall.
Sophomore Ellen Williamson lead the Cavaliers to a 1-2-3-4 finish in the 200 IM, posting the second-fastest time in UVa history in 1:57.00. Classmate Shaun Casey was second in 1:57.56, the fourth-fastest mark on the UVa all-time list, while fellow sophomore Sarah White was third in 1:58.03. Freshmen Haley Durmer (1:58.16) and Courtney Bartholomew (1:58.51) touched fourth and sixth, respectively.
“It’s exciting, but it made it so much better that I had three of my teammates right after me and five of us in the final,” Williamson said. “I think we’ve been successful because we push each other in practice every day and it was sweet sweeping the podium two events in a row.”
“Those two races were incredible,” Bernardino said. “This team wants to be recognized as a big part of what we’ve been building the last six years and I think they made a great statement this evening.”
In the 200 free relay that started the night session, the team of Perdue, Naurath, Lloyd and sophomore Emily Dicus placed third in 1:29.82, the fourth-fastest mark in school history.
“We have not brought a female diver to the conference meet in five or six years,” Bernardino said, “and we brought a freshman that scored in the top eight. That’s a real positive step forward for our diving program and we look forward to watching Becca progress over the next four years.”
In the first event of the men’s championship, 1-meter diving, sophomore JB Kolod placed fourth with a score of 356.10, while freshman Carl Buergler passed four divers on his last dive to finish 12th with a total of 307.55. The men’s diving portion of the ACC Championships is being held this weekend, while the swimming portion takes place Feb. 27-March 2 in Greensboro.
"As a coach, I'm not sure you should ever be satisfied, but after today's performances, I'm extremeky happy and proud," diving coach Rich MacDonald said. "We have some things that we can do better the rest of the meet, but today was a great day to build off of. The men's final was a true battle and JB stood up and held his own. It was great to see that out of a sophmore."
The action continues Friday (Feb. 22) with the 400 medley relay, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back, men’s 3-meter and women’s 1-meter diving events being competed.
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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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