Virginia Wins 2015 ACC Women's Swimming & Diving Championship

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9:40 | EIGHT IN ROW FOR THE CAVS; MVPs ANNOUNCED

Virginia held second place heading into the final day of the 2015 ACC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, but it became evident early on during Saturday night’s finals session that the Cavaliers would cruise to their eighth straight conference totals.

Nine gold medals, combined with well-placed finishes throughout the swimming events, assured second-year coach Augie Busch and his team of continuing a run that began in 2008. This year’s championship is the Cavaliers’ 13 overall.

Virginia closed out the meet at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center with 1308.5 team points. North Carolina, which entered Saturday’s competition narrowly ahead of the Cavaliers, placed second with 1255.

“It shows that we’re fighters,” Busch said. “We talked about, ‘If we go down to a better team, that’s fine, but it’s not fine if we go down and don’t fight.’ We were fighting through some tiredness … I was really, really impressed by this group. Tonight made a huge statement about the heart and pride of this team. I just couldn’t be prouder of this group of women.”

Virginia Tech held third place at 1018, while Louisville was fourth at 918. 

NC State took fifth place at 874, followed by Notre Dame at 644, Florida State at 577, Pitt at 501, Miami at 490.5, Duke at 478, Georgia Tech at 203, Boston College at 125 and Clemson at 36. 

The meet’s Most Valuable Women’s  Swimmer Award went to Louisville’s Tanja Kylliainen, who shattered ACC overall and Championship records in the 400 IM and 200 butterfly, and claimed a third gold medal in the 200 IM. The Towson, Maryland, senior clearly made the most of the chance to compete in her first and only ACC Championship, and she helped the Cardinals make a strong first impression in their debut season.

“It feels awesome because we came in here with a goal to have a presence and have a good team,” she said. “I think we’ve done just that.”

Virginia Tech senior Kaylea Arnett, who claimed gold medals in the 3-meter and platform competition, was named the Most Valuable Women’s Diver of the ACC Championship for the fourth consecutive year. She closes her career with six ACC Championship diving gold medals – three in the 1-meter, two in the 3-meters and one in platform.

Miami freshman Briadam Herrera was named the Most Valuable Men’s Diver after taking the gold medals in both the 1- and 3-meters.


9:20 | 400 FREESTYLE RELAY

NC State closed the 2015 ACC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship much the way it started – by sprinting to a relay gold medal.

The Wolfpack unit of Alexia Zevnik, Riki Bonnema, Lotta Nevalainen and Natalie Labonge swam to a time of 3:14.57 to capture the 400 freestyle relay. Virginia wrapped up its eighth straight ACC team championship with a silver medal finish of 3:15.23, and Louisville was third at 3:15.90.

Bonnema was also part of NC State’s 200 freestyle relay team, which earlier in the week posted an ACC Championship record time of 1:28.18 in winning that event for the third time.


9:00 | MEN’S PLATFORM DIVING

Pitt sophomore Dominic Giordan delivered a jaw-dropping 97.35 dive on his sixth and final attempt off the platform to claim the gold medal in ACC Men’s Diving Championship competition.

Giordan’s attempt vaulted him up the leaderboard and past Virginia senior JB Kolod, who settled for the silver medal at 405.25. Virginia Tech’s Thomas Shinholser placed third at 370.00. Kolod earned a bronze medal in each of the earlier two diving events in this year’s ACC Championship.


8:10 | WOMEN’S PLATFORM DIVING

Make that a half-dozen gold medals for Virginia Tech senior Kaylea Arnett.

Arnett came up big on her fifth and final attempt Saturday night to narrowly claim the platform dive over two-time winner Katrina Young of Florida State. Arnett finished with a cumulative score of 295.30, just ahead of Young’s final total of 295.10. Virginia Tech freshman Emma Villarreal was third at 279.95.

Arnett will conclude her career with three gold medals in the 1-meter dive and two in 3-meters, including one this year. This year marked her first ACC gold in platform diving. Young took the gold medal in the platform dive last season and in 2012.

Only two events remain on Saturday’s program schedule – the men’s platform diving and the women’s 400 freestyle. The latter event will close out the 2015 ACC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships.


7:30 | 200 BUTTERFLY

The final individual swimming event of the 2015 ACC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship gave Louisville senior Tanja Kylliainen one more chance to flash her record-setting, All-America form.

Kylliainen used a strong push to overtake Florida State sophomore Chelsea Britt and wiped out the previous ACC overall and Championship record in the 200 butterfly with a winning time of 1:53.19. Britt, who earlier this season set the previous ACC overall record of 1:53.68, took the silver medal on Saturday night with a time of 1:54.08. Virginia Tech’s Klaudia Nazieblo claimed the bronze at 1:55.16.

The winning effort not only assured Kylliainen of her third gold medal in her lone ACC Championship appearance, it stands as the third-fastest time in the nation this season.

The Towson, Maryland, native took it all in stride.

“I set really high standards for myself,” she said “Sometimes I live up to them, and sometimes it doesn’t work out like that.”

There was little that didn’t work out for Kylliainen this week in Atlanta.


7:20 | 200 BREASTSTROKE

The 200 breaststroke featured perhaps the most notable upset of the 2015 ACC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, as Virginia sophomore Laura Simon outlasted American record-holder Emma Reaney of Notre Dame. The result proved a bonus for the seven-time defending champion Cavaliers, who already held a sizeable lead in teams scoring entering the event.

Simon raced to a Georgia Tech Aquatic Center time of 2:07.40, edging Reaney’s time of 2:07.69 – which was also faster than the previous pool mark. Louisville’s Andre Cottrell took third place with a time of 2:08.48.

Most of in attendance on Saturday night didn’t foresee that end result coming. Did Simon?

“Actually, no,” she admitted. “My friend said you should beat her and I was like ‘No, no, no, no’. I just wanted to set a good time and rack up some points for the team.”

The result proved a bonus for the seven-time defending champion Cavaliers, who already held a decent lead in teams scoring entering the event.

“It’s so close,” Simon said. “I feel like every point counts, and it’s great sneaking into the first place.”



7:00 | 100 YARD FREESTYLE

Kelsi Worrell continues to top herself.

Just a few hours after  setting an ACC overall and meet record in the 100 free qualifying with a time of  47.86, the Louisville junior eclipsed both of those marks with an eye-opening time 47.71 in Saturday night’s finals. Florida State senior Kaitlyn Dressel was third at 48.30, and NC State junior Riki Bonnema took the bronze at 48.73.

“Every time I just want to have fun,” the Mt. Holly, New Jersey, junior said. “I have one year left, and I’m just starting to realize how fast it goes by.”   

Worrell’s performance also came 24 hours after she posted the fourth-fastest time in NCAA history with a gold medal showing of 50.17 in the 100 butterfly. Worrell dedicated that race to her mother, whose birthday was today.

“I said that I swam for her yesterday and she told me it brought tears to her eyes,” Worrell said. “I’m glad I can give her another present and I know she’s watching online, or through my dad, who’s here Facetiming her. She’s here in spirit for sure.”


6:50 | 200 BACKSTROKE

Virginia junior Courtney Bartholomew entered the 2015 ACC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships holding virtually every league record in the 200 backstroke.

She still does --- and in even more impressive fashion.

Bartholomew repeated as champion with a time of 1:49.87 that stands as an ACC overall, ACC Championship and Georgia Tech Aquatic Center record. NC State’s Alexia Zevnik placed second at 1:52.98, and North Carolina’s Hellen Moffitt took the bronze medal at 1:53.88.

Bartholomew swept the backstroke events in this year’s meet after earlier delivering a record-shattering performance in Friday night’s 100. She also swam a record-setting leadoff split in Virginia’s winning 400 medley relay effort on Friday evening.

She feels the best, however, may be yet to come.

“To come into this meet untapered and unshaved to swim my best time is huge,” Bartholomew said. “That just shows that in a month (at the NCAA Championships), I should be right where I want to be.”

 


6:30 | 1650 FREESTYLE


Seven-time defending champion Virginia entered Saturday’s final round of the 2015 ACC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships trailing North Carolina by 22.5 points in the team scoring. Led by sophomore Leah Smith and junior Hanne Borgersen, the Cavaliers wasted little time making short order of that deficit.

Smith posted a Georgia Tech Aquatic Center record time of 15:52 in the 1650 freestyle, claiming her third gold medal after earlier first-place showings in the 500 and 200 freestyle races. Borgersen claimed the silver medal at 16:10.84, followed by Pitt junior Kaleigh Ritter in third at 16:14.38.

Virginia senior Alison Haulsee piled on with a fifth-place showing. The race ended with the Cavaliers holding 962.5 points and first place in the standings by 83.5 points over UNC (879).

“It feels really good,” Smith said. “We knew we had to jump out of the gates and I wanted to do everything possible to put my team in a good place for the fight tonight.”

If the Cavaliers indeed go on to claim another ACC title, much credit will belong to Smith and her versatility.

“I really like that I can dip down to the 200 because it’s a really fun event,” Smith said. “I’d say the 500 or the mile is my best event. It’s pretty hard to compete in all three, and I’ve had trouble balancing that, but I think I’m finally getting into a groove where I can do all three.”


5:45 | PLATFORM PRELIMS

Florida State’s Tyler Roberge led the preliminary field for the platform dive at the 2015 ACC Men’s Diving Championship on Saturday afternoon at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center. Roberge finished with a total of 387.55. He will be joined in tonight’s final by fellow top-eight qualifiers Dominic Giordano of Pitt (357.35), JB Kolod of Virginia (356.75), Thomas Shinholser of Virginia Tech (349.95) and his Hokies teammate Logan Stevens (344.35), Florida State’s Dylan Grisell (330.00) and the Virginia Tech duo of Kyle Butts (327.50) and Mauro Silva (326.60).

Earlier on Saturday, Miami’s Cheyenne Cousineau led the women’s platform qualifiers with a cumulative scored of 293.05. She was followed by Virginia Tech’s Kayla Arnett (277.30), Miami teammate Wallace Layland (265.50), Duke’s Maryellen Targonski (255.90), Virginia Tech’s Kelli Stockton (250.45), NC State’s Rachel Mumma (248.20), Virginia Tech’s Emma Villarreal (243.75) and Florida State’s Katrina Young (239.45). Young is the defending champion in the event and will seek her third title in four years during this evening’s finals.


COUNTDOWN TO THE FINALS 

North Carolina holds a narrow lead over Virginia as the 2015 Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships head into their final day at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center.

Following this morning’s prelims in swimming events, and men’s and women’s platform diving this afternoon,  tonight’s 6 p.m. finals in seven women’s events will determine the 2015 ACC champion. Virginia is seeking its eight straight ACC championship and 13th overall. North Carolina seeks its first ACC championship since 2007 but owns a conference-leading 16 team titles.

A consistent effort throughout the first 14 events of the meet left the Tar Heels with 862 team points at the conclusion of the third day of competition on Friday. Virginia holds second place with 839.5 points, while Virginia Tech is third at 664.5. Louisville is in fourth at 641.

NC State is fifth at 589, followed by Notre Dame at 449, Florida State at 408,  Miami at 365, Pitt at 330, Duke at 325, Georgia Tech at 137, Boston College at 92 and Clemson at 4.

Women’s final events scheduled for this evening include the 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly,  platform diving, 1650, and 400 relay. The ACC men’s platform diving finals are also scheduled tonight.

North Carolina has yet to claim an individual gold medal in this year’s competition, but the Tar Heels’ depth has paid off big. UNC boasts nine swimmers among the meet’s top 30 scorers, led by Danielle Siverling’s 56-point showing.

Double-gold medal winners Tanja Kylliainen of Louisville and Leah Smith of Virginia lead the individual scoring with 64 points apiece, while Louisville’s Kelsi Worrell is third with 60 points, followed by Virginia’s Courtney Bartholomew with 59.

Bartholomew, who has already pieced together a record-setting season and ACC Championship, served notice during Saturday morning’s 200 backstroke preliminaries that she may not be finished yet. The Cavalier junior’s time of 1:50.99 set a new mark for the ACC Championship and the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center.

Not to be outdone, Louisville’s Worrell stepped up with an ACC overall and meet record in the 100 free qualifying with a blazing time of 47.86.