March 17, 1998
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Five members of the University of Virginia men's swimming and diving team have qualified to compete at the NCAA Championship, to be held in Auburn, Ala., from Mar. 26-28. The 23r]d-ranked Cavaliers finished the dual meet season with an overall record of 8-1 and also finished in second place at the 1998 Atlantic Coast Conference championship. Four of the Virginia swimmers are making repeat appearances at the NCAA Championship, with each of them earning All-America honors last season.
Leading the Cavaliers in the distance freestyle events is sophomore Austin Ramirez (Brookfield, Wis.). Ramirez was this year's ACC champion in both the 500 and 1,650 yard freestyle, winning both events for the second consecutive season. An honorable mention All-American in both the 500 and 1,650 free last year, Ramirez will swim both of those events, in addition to the 200 yard freestyle, at the NCAA Championship.
Senior Jason Webb (Philadelphia, Pa.) will be making the fourth NCAA Championship appearance of his outstanding UVa career. Webb is the 1998 ACC Champion in the 200 yard backstroke, and also holds the school record in the event with his time of 1:43.98. Webb, who has earned All-America honors in the 200 back three times, will also swim the 100 yard backstroke and the 200 yard individual medley.
Junior Shamek Pietucha (Edmonton, Alberta) will look to score points for the Cavaliers in both the butterfly and backstroke events. Pietucha, who is the school record holder in the 200 yard butterfly with his time of 1:44.91, finished fourth in that event at last year's NCAA Championship to earn first team All-America honors. Pietucha will swim the 100 yard butterfly and the 100 yard backstroke, in addition to the 200 fly.
Sophomore Doak Finch (Southern Pines, N.C.), the 1998 ACC championship meet MVP, is the fourth returning All-American for the Cavaliers. Finch was the 1998 ACC champion in the 200 yard butterfly, 200 yard individual medley and 400 yard individual medley. A first team All-American in the 200 fly at last year's NCAA Championship, Finch will swim all three events in which he won ACC titles at the NCAA Championship.
The fifth Virginia NCAA qualifier is freshman Jamie Grimes (Olney, Md.). Grimes finished second to Ramirez at the ACC Championship in the 1,650 free, while also placing fifth in the 500 free. He is scheduled to compete in the 1,650 free at NCAAs.
In addition to their individual events, Finch, Pietucha, Ramirez and Webb are scheduled to compete in both the 400 and 800 yard freestyle relays. Finch, Pietucha and Ramirez, along with junior Mike Renshaw (Jacksonville, Fla.) finished first at the ACC Championship in the 800 free relay.