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Records Fall on Day Three
Louisville and Virginia won three events apiece as five records were broken on Friday night at the 2016 ACC Women’s Swimming & Diving Championship, held at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.
Virginia’s Kaitlin Jones and Courtney Bartholomew won individual championships for the Cavaliers, while the 400 medley relay squad won a close race over the Cardinals. Bartholomew’s win in the 100 backstroke tied the Virginia program record with eight career individual titles as she became the third swimmer in ACC history to win the event four times.
The Cavaliers maintained their lead in the team race with a three-day total of 897.5 points. NC State sits in second with 807, followed by North Carolina with 733 and Louisville with 707.
“These women have a lot of fight in them and it showed tonight,” said Virginia coach Augie Busch. “They came out and made a statement from the first race. There were inspirational performances all around, most notably Courtney and our medley relay defending their ACC titles and an incredible showing on 3m by Becca [Corbett].
“Now we have to regroup and get ready for a critical session tomorrow and we couldn't be more excited about the opportunity to defend our team title.”
The Cardinals won three of the six swimming events on the night, setting three records in the process. Kelsi Worrell, Mallory Comerford, and Andee Cottrell took home the individual titles for Louisville.
“It’s a great honor,” said Louisville coach Arthur Albiero on the record-setting victories. “It always goes back to preparation. This group especially has done a phenomenal job preparing. We had a breakthrough year last year and I think what I admire the most about them is that they are hungry for more and it showed in the preparation all year.
“For us to be in the conversation and to be very fortunate to win a few races tonight is something that we don’t take for granted at all. We are very proud and very honored.”
The 2016 ACC Swimming & Diving Championships resume Saturday morning at 10 a.m. with the preliminaries in the 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly, and the men’s and women’s platform diving. The finals for those events, in addition to the final heat of the 1650 freestyle and the 400 freestyle relay begin at 6 p.m.
400 Medley Relay
Courtney Bartholomew, Laura Simon, Kaitlyn Jones, and Ellen Thomas became the third straight Virginia squad to win the 400 medley relay, finishing in a meet record 3:28.25.
Bartholomew, swimming the leadoff leg, broke the meet record in the 100 backstroke for the third time on the day with a 50.55 split to claim the early lead for the Cavaliers.
Swimming the butterfly in the third leg for the Cardinals, Kelsi Worrell chased down Jones of the Cavaliers to make it a neck-and-neck race with 100 yards to go.
Thomas and Louisville’s Mallory Comerford were in a tight race the entire way, with Thomas out-touching Comerford by .07 seconds for the victory as the Louisville team combined to finish in 3:28.32 for second place.
NC State finished in third with a time of 3:30.58.
Women’s 3-Meter Diving
Meme Sharp made Pitt program history on the 3-meter, becoming the first female to win an ACC individual title since the Panthers joined the league.
A sophomore from Noblesville, Indiana, Sharp scored 360.00 for the victory. North Carolina’s Elisa Dawson placed second with 353.40, followed by Virginia’s Rebecca Corbett in third with 351.70.
Virginia’s Courtney Bartholomew continued the record-setting night in the pool.
A senior from Holland, Michigan, Bartholomew set the meet record in the 100 backstroke for the second time on the day with a winning time of 50.74, ahead of the 51.15 she swam during the preliminaries.
With the victory, Bartholomew becomes the third women’s swimmer in ACC history to win the 100 backstroke four times and moves into a tie for third with eight career ACC individual championships, tied for the most in Virginia history.
NC State’s Alexia Zevnik finished in second with an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 51.27, just ahead of North Carolina’s Hellen Moffitt (51.62).
Andee Cottrell made it three straight victories in record-setting fashion for the Louisville Cardinals.
The junior posted a winning time of 58.26, breaking the conference and meet records set by Notre Dame’s Emma Reaney.
Virginia’s Laura Simon posted an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 58.73 for second place, and Virginia Tech’s Wernoika Paluszek finished third in 59.37.
Louisville’s Mallory Comerford, a freshman from Kalamazoo, Michigan, topped Virginia’s Leah Smith in a tight battle for the 200 freestyle gold medal.
Comerford jumped out to an early lead with a 24.21 first split. Smith kept the race close, tightening it down the stretch and pulled to within .09 seconds with one lap to go. Comerford finished strong with a 26.24 final split to win in 1:42.79, ahead of Smith’s 1:42.97.
The performance by Comerford broke the meet record set earlier this week by Smith in the 800 freestyle relay. The two times rank as the fastest in the country this year.
Virginia freshman Megan Moroney claimed third in 1:44.90.
Louisville’s Kelsi Worrell successfully defended her title in the 100 butterfly in tonight’s second event. Worrell won the race in a meet record 50.06, the fastest time in the country this year.
“I’m just really happy about how I executed that race,” said Worrell, who set the NCAA and American records in the event last year at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.
North Carolina’s Hellen Moffitt finished in an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 51.15 for second place, and NC State’s Natalie Labonge was third in 51.93.
400 Individual Medley
Kaitlyn Jones got the night off strong for the Virginia Cavaliers, winning the 400 IM in 4:06.66. After coming through the first leg in second place behind Louisville’s Rachael Bradford-Feldman, the top qualifier, Jones jumped out to a big lead on the backstroke leg.
Virginia Tech’s Klaudia Nazieblo, NC State’s Hannah Moore, and Feldman chased down Jones in the final two legs to make it a close race, but Jones was able to hold back the charge to claim the title.
Nazieblo finished in 4:07.63 for silver and Moore touched in 4:07.64 for bronze.
Day Three Underway
The third day of the 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Swimming and Men’s & Women’s Diving Championships opened Friday morning with a full slate of preliminaries at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.
In the 400 individual medley, Louisville freshman Rachael Bradford-Feldman posted the top qualifying time in 4:08.87 to start the day.
Louisville’s Kelsi Worrell and North Carolina’s Hellen Moffitt posted fast times in the 100 butterfly. Worrell, who holds the American and NCAA records (49.81) in the event, qualified first in 50.23, with Moffitt touching the wall at 50.67. The two times are the fastest in the country this year.
Louisville’s Mallory Comerford grabbed the quickest time in the 200 freestyle in 1:43.91. Virginia’s Leah Smith, who set the 200 free meet record in the leadoff spot of the 800 free relay on Wednesday night, posted the second-fastest time (1:44.61).
In the 100 breastroke, another Cardinal grabbed the fastest time for the finals. Andee Cotrell finished in 58.63, the third fastest time in the country.
The morning swimming preliminaries closed out in record-setting fashion. Virginia’s Courtney Bartholomew, who holds the fastest time in the country this year, broke her own meet record in the 100 backstroke in 51.15. North Carolina’s Moffitt touched in 51.46, the third fastest in the country this season. Bartholomew is attempting to become the third women’s swimmer in ACC history to win the 100 backstroke four times in a career.
Tonight’s session, which will include the five events in addition to the women’s 3-meter diving and the 400 medley relay, will get underway at 6 p.m.