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Feb. 26, 2011
ATLANTA, Ga. - Virginia sealed its fourth-straight Atlantic Coast Conference Men's Swimming & Diving Championship, racing to a record-setting mark in the men's 400-yard freestyle relay Saturday on the final day of competition at the 2011 ACC Men's Swimming Championship at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center in Atlanta. The championship is the 12th in the last 13 years for the Cavaliers and 14th overall. All of the titles have come under head coach Mark Bernardino. Virginia becomes the first school since North Carolina in 1996 to have both its men's and women's teams sweep the championship for four consecutive years.
Cavaliers' senior Matt McLean collected his third ACC Meet Most Valuable Swimmer accolade in four years. He took top honors with `A' cuts in both the 500- and 1650-yard freestyle events, while also swimming the lead leg on the Cavaliers' victorious 800-yard freestyle relay and anchoring the winning 400-yard freestyle relay. Both times automatically qualify the squads for the 2011 NCAA Championship.
All 10 teams maintained their standings from day three. The Cavaliers accumulated 820 points through four days of competition to take first. North Carolina finished second with 588 followed by Florida State in third with 511.5. Virginia Tech took fourth with 508.5, while Duke was fifth with 353 and Clemson was sixth with 331. In seventh was Georgia Tech with 247, followed by NC State with 197 and Maryland with 181. Boston College (70) and Miami (13) - which only competes in diving - rounded out the field.
McLean kicked off the final day of competition with a victory in the men's 1650-yard freestyle. He automatically qualified for the 2011 NCAA Championship with an `A' time of 14:42.73 to record his second title of the meet. Additionally, this marks his second win in the 1650 free in three years. North Carolina senior Joe Kinderwater placed second with a 14:57.30. The Cavaliers earned their second podium spot as senior Taylor Smith finished third with a 15:03.97. Virginia swimmers claimed five of the top eight finishes. Kinderwater and Smith were among the 11 who met the `B' standard.
Clemson junior Chris Dart took top honors in the men's 200-yard backstroke with a time of 1:43.77. North Carolina senior Tommy Wyher finished in second place with a 1:44.35. Maryland junior Andrew Relihan rounded out the podium with a 1:44.60. All three posted `B' times.
Junior Steve Cebertowicz claimed North Carolina's first win of the night as he recorded a 42.51 in the men's 100-yard freestyle. Virginia senior Scot Robison, the two-time defending champion in the event, placed second with a 42.71. Florida State senior Robby Hayes finished third at 43.38. All three were among the 14 who met the `B' mark.
Florida State senior Rob Holderness successfully defended his title in the men's 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:55.34 to earn his second victory of the meet. Virginia freshman Taylor Grey took second with a 1:56.61, followed by Georgia Tech freshman Anton Lagerqvist in third with a 1:56.74. The top 11 finishers recorded `B' times.
A trio of sophomores ascended the podium in the men's 200-yard butterfly. North Carolina's Tom Luchsinger posted the top time of 1:43.81. Virginia's Matt Houser finished second with a 1:44.68, while Virginia Tech's Greg Mahon took third with a 1:45.31. Each met the `B' standard.
In the final event of the meet, the men's 400-yard freestyle relay, Virginia tallied its fourth consecutive title in the event. Seniors Scot Robison and Matt McLean, junior Peter Geissinger and sophomore Tom Barrett paced the Cavaliers to an `A' cut of 2:51.26. The time bested both the conference and championship record, which were set in 2009. North Carolina came in second at 2:52.62, while Duke was third at 2:54.41.
A total of six "A" cuts - including two relays - were met by ACC student-athletes, guaranteeing them a bid to the 2011 NCAA Championship. McLean qualified in both the 500- and 1650-yard freestyle events, while also participating in the two `A' relays. His teammate, Scot Robison, and North Carolina's Tyler Harris also punched their ticket.
The top three finishers in each event and the winning relay team collected All-ACC accolades with their victories.
Fans can follow all the 2011 ACC Swimming & Diving Championships action at the official championship website, http://www.theacc.com/championships/11-swimming-diving-championship.html.