Men's Swimming Ready for ACC Championship

The University of Virginia Aquatic and Fitness Center hosts.

Feb. 24, 1998

UVA PLAYS HOST TO ACC CHAMPIONSHIP: The University of Virginia Aquatic and Fitness Center, located in the Carl Smith Center, will serve as the site for the 1998 Atlantic Coast Conference swimming and diving championships. The women's championship was held last weekend, from Feb. 18-21, with the men's championship taking place this weekend from Feb. 25-28. This year marks the first time since 1986 and only the fifth time overall the ACC men's championship has been held in Charlottesville. This is also the first-ever ACC men's championship at the Aquatic and Fitness Center.

RAMIREZ LOOKS TO CONTINUE OUTSTANDING SEASON: Sophomore Austin Ramirez will look to defend his ACC titles in both the 500 yard freestyle and 1,650 yard freestyle during this week's meet. Ramirez, who enters the championship with the ACC's fastest time in the 1,650 free (15:30.88), also brings a good deal of international experience into the meet. In January, Ramirez represented the United States at the FINA World Swimming Championship in Perth, Australia. He placed 15th in the five kilometer open water swim with a time of 56:51.4, while helping the U.S. to the team gold medal. Ramirez had previously competed at the 1997 World University Games, where he placed fourth in the 800 meter freestyle.

WEBB LOOKS TO WIN FIRST ACC INDIVIDUAL TITLE: Senior Jason Webb has had an outstanding career at UVa, earning All-America honors in the 200 yard backstroke in each of his previous three seasons. The one thing that has eluded Webb during his time as a Cavalier has been an ACC title in an individual event. But following the graduation of Florida State's Rob Braknis, who won four ACC titles in the 100 back and two in the 200 back, that could change. Webb enters the 1998 ACC Championship with the conference's fastest time in the 200 back (1:45.76) and the second-fastest time in the 100 back (49.64).

THE 1997 ACC CHAMPIONSHIP: In last year's ACC meet, held at the University of North Carolina, the Tar Heels claimed the ACC title for the fifth consecutive season, finishing with a total of 784.5 points. Florida State came in second with a total of 660.5, followed by North Carolina State with 620. The Cavaliers earned a fourth place finish, totaling 504 points in the meet. Rounding out the field in last year's meet, Clemson placed fifth (345), Maryland was sixth (257), Duke finished seventh (158) and Georgia Tech came in eighth (147).

PIETUCHA LOOKING TO ADD TO LIST OF TITLES: Junior Shamek Pietucha has won a number of honors over the last year and will attempt to win his first ACC event title this weekend. In December, Pietucha won the U.S. Open titles in both the 100 meter butterfly (54.22) and the 200 meter butterfly (1:59.85). He also won a pair of medals at the 1997 World University Games, placing second in the 100 fly and third in the 200 fly, and finished fourth at the 1997 World Short Course Championship in the 200 fly. As Pietucha looks to win an ACC title this weekend he faces a difficult task, as he will likely go up against the defending champions in both the 100 fly (Tucker Shade of North Carolina) and the 200 fly (Stephen Parry of Florida State).

CAVALIERS ENTER ACCS WITH STRONG DUAL MEET RECORD: Virginia has an overall record of 8-1 on the season with a 4-1 mark against Atlantic Coast Conference foes. This is the Cavaliers' best performance in the dual meet season since 1992-93, when they finished with an overall mark of 10-0 and a 6-0 record in the ACC. Virginia has also posted a winning record for the first time since 1994-95, when it finished with an 8-5 mark, and a winning record in ACC action for the first time since 1992-93.

UVA IN THE ACC CHAMPIONSHIP: In the 44-year history of the ACC championship the Cavaliers have won two team titles, capturing first place in both 1987 and 1990. Virginia has finished as the runner-up at ACCs five times, with each of those performances coming in the last 10 years. Along with N.C. State in 1992, UVa is the only school in the ACC other than North Carolina to win an conference title since 1986.

UVA'S ACC CHAMPIONS: Two current Cavaliers have won ACC individual titles entering this season. Sophomore Austin Ramirez is a defending ACC Champion in two events, as he captured both the 500 yard freestyle and 1,650 yard freestyle titles last season. Sophomore Doak Finch is also a defending ACC Champion, as he won the 400 yard individual medley last year. Senior Jason Webb has also won an ACC title as part of a relay team. Webb swam the backstroke leg of the Cavaliers' 200 yard medley relay team in 1994.

FOUR TIME WINNERS: As they both won ACC titles as freshmen last season, both Austin Ramirez and Doak Finch can take a step toward joining an elite group of ACC swimmers if they can repeat as champions in their respective events. In ACC history, a swimmer has won four conference titles in the same event only 12 times. On four of those occasions, the swimmer was from UVa: Andy Wren in the 100 yard butterfly (1980-81-82-83) and 200 yard butterfly (1980-81-82-83), Bill Smyth in the 400 yard individual medley (1990-91-93-94) and Adam Boch in the 100 yard butterfly (1992-93-94-95). Wren is the only swimmer in ACC history to win four straight titles in more than one event.