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Notre Dame's Reaney sets American and NCAA record; 10 ACC records fall in four-day event
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Virginia put the finishing touches on another conference title, and multiple NCAA records and one American record went into the books as the Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships concluded Saturday night at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.
The Cavaliers, under the direction of first-year head coach Augie Busch, captured the program’s seventh straight ACC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship and its 12th overall. Virginia finished with a team score of 1433, which placed Busch’s squad 228 points ahead of second-place North Carolina (1205).
“I am extremely proud of the way our team competed from the first race to the last,” Busch said. “Their energy was outstanding all week, and we were able to ride the momentum that we built the first night. Tremendous credit goes to my coaching staff, which did a fantastic job of getting the team ready for this meet.”
ACC Championship Most Valuable Swimmer honors went to Notre Dame junior Emma Reaney, who set a NCAA Division I and an American record in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:04.34. Reaney won a total of three gold medals at this year’s Championship and set an ACC record in each event (1:54 in the 200 IM and 58.46 in the 100 breaststroke prior in Saturday evening’s jaw-dropping performance). Reaney broke the previous mark of 2:04.48, set by Texas A&M’s Breeja Larson on Nov. 16, 2012.
“I dropped about a second off my best time,” Reaney said. “We’ve been discussing taking it out faster, and my coach (Brian Barnes) has been telling me that if I am under a minute in the first 100, I am going to go 2:04, and that’s what happened tonight.”
Reaney, a native of Lawrence, Kansas, gazed at the leader board in genuine surprise at the race’s conclusion.
“It still hasn’t sunk in yet,” she said. “I didn’t hear or know anything (about the NCAA and American record) until my assistant coach gave me a hug and told me. It was definitely a shock to the system.”
Duke senior Nick McCrory, the ACC Men’s Championship Most Valuable Diver, won the platform with a score of 492.95 on Saturday to sweep the three diving events for the second year in a row. McCrory will end his collegiate career with a record 10 ACC Championship gold medals. The U.S. Olympian from Chapel Hill, N.C., became the first to earn ACC Men’s Most Valuable Diver honors four times in his career. McCrory also became the first student-athlete to earn three gold medals in the ACC Championship men’s platform dive.
Virginia Tech junior Kaylea Arnett was named the ACC Women’s Championship Most Valuable Diver after winning the 1-meter and 3-meter, and placing third on the platform. Arnett became the third female diver to claim three ACC Championship MVPs, joining NC State’s Agnes Gerlach (1990, 1992-93) and Florida State’s Chelsea Lerew (2001-03).
Records were set in 10 of the 18 swimming events at this week’s Championship. Florida State placed third in the women’s team scoring with 972 points, while NC State was fourth at 950. Virginia Tech followed at 914.5, and Notre Dame was sixth at 802.
Duke placed seventh at 592, followed by Pitt at 474.5 and Miami at 470.5. Georgia Tech was 10th at 311.5, and Boston College (162) and Clemson (66) completed the scoring.
The women ‘s swimming events opened on Saturday night with the 1,650 freestyle, where Virginia freshman Leah Smith, trailing by 7.7 seconds with 100 yards remaining, used a strong final kick for a winning time of 15:47.99 and her second gold medal of the Championship. Smith wound up nearly four seconds in front of silver medalist Stephanie Peacock of North Carolina (15:51.78), whose 1,000 split of 9:28.92 was an NCAA record. Florida State’s Madison Jacobi took the bronze in 16:02.92.
Virginia struck gold again in the 200 backstroke, where sophomore Courtney Bartholomew was victorious in 1:52.37. North Carolina’s Annie Harrison took the silver in 1:54.55, and the Cavaliers’ Caroline Kenney the bronze in 1:55.09.
Florida State’s Tiffany Oliver broke through with a first-place showing of 48.54 in the 100 freestyle. She was followed by North Carolina’s Lauren Earp at 48.67 and Virginia’s Emily Lloyd at 48.82.
Following Reaney’s record swim in the 200 breaststroke were silver medalist Laura Simon of Virginia at 2:07.68 and Virginia Tech’s Weronika Paluszek the bronze 2:07.81.
North Carolina took the top two places in the 200 butterfly, with Meredith Hoover leading at 1:55.01 and Cari Blalock next at 1:55.42. Florida State’s Chelsea Britt took the bronze at 1:55.51.
The swimming events concluded with the 400 freesytle relay, where one final overall ACC record fell as the North Carolina team of Lauren Earp, Hannah Lincoln, Ally Hardesty and Danielle Silverling swam a gold medal time of 3:14.39.
The men’s platform dive saw Miami’s Tanner Wilfong place second behind Duke’s McCrory and claimed the silver medal with a total score of 466.1. Virginia Tech’s Ryan Hawkins took the bronze at 451.65.
On the women’s side, Florida State’s Katrina Young set an ACC Championship meet record in the platform dive with a total score of 364.7. Miami’s Cheyenne Cousineau was second at 311.85, and Virginia Tech’s Kalyea Arnett took the bronze with a score of 311.75.
Each top-three finisher in each individual event and each member of first-play relay teams earned All-ACC honors.
One change of note in this year’s Championship was the addition of the scoring of all 24 competitors competing in a swimming final. In previous years, only the top 16 competitors received points that counted toward their team’s total.
The 2014 ACC Men’s Swimming Championship will be held Wednesday, Feb. 26 through Saturday, March 1 at the Greensboro Aquatic Center. A video livestream of the action be available via theACC.com on Thursday and Friday beginning at 7:15 p.m., and Saturday, beginning at 7 p.m. Dean Linke will call the play-by-play, with Warren Perry adding analysis.
All Championship information, including a full event schedule and live results, can be found at the official championship website, http://theacc.co/SDchamp. Fans can also get updates by following along on Twitter, @ACCSwimDive.