ACC Swimming & Diving Championships: Day 2

Recapping Thursday’s Action
Entering the day in fifth place, Virginia had two individual winners and nine championship finalists to claim the meet lead on Thursday night at the 2016 ACC Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships.

The Cavaliers sit in first place with 486.5 points, followed by NC State in second with 441.5 points, Louisville in third with 395.5, and North Carolina in fourth with 334.

“We had a strong session tonight,” said Virginia’s Augie Busch. “The majority of our swims were faster in finals which is always the goal, capped off by a very solid relay performance at the end. The women are battling and fully engaged in the overall team effort which is a pleasure to watch. Tomorrow can be a great day for us and we are looking forward to more opportunities to swim fast.”

Virginia’s Leah Smith and Louisville’s Kelsi Worrell set meet records on the second day of swimming at the Greensboro Aquatic Center, while the NC State 200 freestyle relay squad lowered its own league record in the event. Virginia’s Courtney Bartholomew and Miami’s Briadam Herrera also took home individual titles on the night.

The 2016 ACC Swimming & Diving Championships resume Friday morning at 10 a.m. with preliminaries for the 400 individual medley, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 breastroke, and 100 backstroke. The finals for those events, in addition to the women’s 3-meter diving and the 400 medley relay, will get underway at 6 p.m.

200 Freestyle Relay
Thursday night’s swimming concluded with the 200 freestyle relay, an event that NC State has won for three straight years.

NC State’s Riki Bonnema grabbed the lead for the Wolfpack with a 21.92 opening split, and Ashlyn Koletic, Natalie Labonge, and Krista Duffield combined to finish in 1:27.50 to win the event for the fourth straight season.

The time for the Wolfpack set a new ACC record and stands as the second fastest time in the country this year.

“After seeing what they did in the 50 free, we knew it could be a special relay,” said NC State head coach Braden Holloway. “They take a lot pride in that relay and it means a lot to them. They like their streak and they want to keep it going, but they know it’s going to be hard every year with quality teams in our league. It’s a good moment for them.”

Virginia (1:28.45) and North Carolina (1:28.63) rounded out the podium.

Men’s 1-Meter Diving
Miami sophomore Braidam Herrera totaled 436.60 in the 1-meter diving final to sweep the springboard events for the second straight year.

North Carolina junior Jack Nyquist (407.95) and Pitt’s Dominic Giordano (378.35) finished second and third, respectively, matching the podium from the 3-meter final on Wednesday night. 

50 Freestyle
At the 2015 ACC Championships, NC State’s Riki Bonnema edged out Louisville Kelsi Worrell for the 50 freestyle title. In 2016, the pair switched spots with Worrell out-touching Bonnema for the victory.

Worrell’s time of 21.85 set a meet record and currently stands as the third fastest time in the country this year.

The Wolfpack took three of the top five spots in the event with Bonnema (21.94), Natalie Labonge (22.23) and Ashlyn Koletic (22.33) finishing in second, third, and fifth, respectively. 

200 Individual Medley
Virginia’s Courtney Bartholomew made it two straight victories for the Cavaliers on the night as she posted the fastest time in the 200 individual medley. The senior from Holland, Michigan, added to her collection of six career ACC backstroke victories with a gold in the 200 IM.

Bartholomew sat in fourth after the first leg in 25.39, moved up to third following the second leg, and grabbed the lead for good in the third.

NC State’s Alexia Zevnik (1:56.02) and Virginia’s Kaitlyn Jones (1:56.46) claimed the other two podium spots.

The Cavaliers, who qualified four swimmers for the championship final and two in the first C final, collected 118 points from the event.

500 Freestyle
Virginia’s Leah Smith started off the day with a meet record in the 500 freestyle during the preliminaries. During the finals, she ran away from the field and lowered her event best to 4:30.74.

The junior grabbed the lead with a 52.25 over her first 100 yards, and continued to stretch the lead over the remaining distance to seal the victory.

“I’m really pleased for Leah,” said Virginia head coach Augie Busch. “To have a swim that was significantly faster in the finals [than the preliminaries], that’s a big hurdle that she got over tonight.”

With the win, Smith becomes the third ACC women’s swimmer to win the event in three straight years and now has six individual ACC gold medals in her career.

Louisville freshman Mallory Comerford finished in second (4:38.01), just ahead of NC State sophomore Hannah Moore (4:38.53).

Thursday Morning Preliminaries
The second day of the 2015 Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Swimming & Diving Championship began Thursday morning with preliminaries in three events: the 500 freestyle, the 200 yard individual medley, and the 50 freestyle.

Hours after setting a new meet record in the 200 freestyle on Wednesday night, Virginia’s Leah Smith continued to rewrite the record books on Thursday morning.

The junior posted the fastest qualifying time in the 500 freestyle in 4:32.85 to lower her own meet record. Smith, who set the NCAA record (4:30.37) en route to winning the national title in the event last year, will look to set a new collegiate best tonight in the finals.

In the 200 individual medley, NC State’s Alexia Zevnik led the way in 1:57.16, followed by Virginia’s Kaitlyn Jones in 1:57.58, and Louisville’s Rachel Bradford-Feldman in 1:57.66.

In the morning’s final event, the 50 freestyle, Louisville’s Kelsi Worrell (21.93) and NC State’s Riki Bonnema (22.02) posted two of the fastest times in the country this season. Bonnema holds the meet record of 21.87, set last year, and Worrell set the ACC record with a 21.62 at the 2015 NCAA Championship. Both finished in the top eight spots last season at the national meet.

Tonight’s final round is set to begin at 6 p.m.