Three ACC Teams in Top 10 at NCAAs, Smith Wins National Title
ATLANTA – Three ACC programs sit in the top 10 of the standings through two days of competition at the 2016 NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship, held Wednesday through Sunday at the McAuley Aquatic Center on the campus of Georgia Tech. Virginia’s Leah Smith was victorious in the 500 freestyle to win her second straight national championship in the event.
Through seven events, five ACC teams are on the scoreboard led by Virginia in fourth with 118 points. Louisville is in seventh with 94, and NC State is ninth with 66 points to give the ACC three of the top nine teams. No. 19 North Carolina (22 points) and No. 27 Virginia Tech (6 points) also are on the board heading into Friday.
Smith successfully defended her national title in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:31.33, topping Georgia’s Brittany MacLean by almost two seconds for the top spot. It is third individual national championship for the junior, following her titles in the 500 and 1,650 freestyle last year.
In the 200 freestyle relay, the first event on Thursday night, the ACC contingent was led by Virginia (1:27.85) in sixth, followed by No. 7 NC State, No. 12 Louisville, and No. 15 North Carolina.
The Virginia trio of Courtney Bartholomew, Kaitlyn Jones, and Jen Marrkand all advanced to the consolation final in the 200 individual medley. Bartholomew led the way with a 10th place finish in 1:55.44.
During the morning preliminaries, Louisville’s Kelsi Worrell set an ACC record in the 50 freestyle in 21.57, breaking her own record set last year. In the championship final, Worrell finished fourth nationally in 21.75, while NC State’s Riki Bonnema placed 16th in 22.45.
The Thursday night competition closed on a high note for ACC teams, as five league squads finished in the top 14 spots. Louisville finished in second in 3:27.58, ahead of Virginia in third in 3:28.22, followed by No. 11 NC State, No. 12 North Carolina, and No. 14 Virginia Tech.
In the only event on Wednesday night, the Virginia 800 freestyle relay squad of Smith, Megan Moroney, Kaitlyn Jones, and Jen Marrkand finished in fourth in a time of 6:55.25, the best time in league history. Louisville finished seventh in the event, and NC State (12th) and North Carolina (13th) also scored points.