Chapel Hill, NC – The University of North Carolina returned to the top of the awards stand Saturday night as the Tar Heels captured their 13th Atlantic Coast Conference title in women’s swimming and diving at Koury Natatorium on the UNC campus. The Tar Heels, ranked 16th nationally, ended the two-year reign of Virginia, the nation’s eighth-ranked team, which finished second in the 22nd annual ACC Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships.
Coach Frank Comfort’s Tar Heels claimed their first crown since 1996 and kept alive a streak which has seen them finish either first or second in all 22 ACC meets. Carolina finished with 842.5, also the most points scored by a conference champion since UNC won the ’96 title. Virginia finished 693.5 points for a second place finish as the Heels and Wahoos finished well ahead of the rest of the field. Clemson was third with 476.5 points, followed Maryland in fourth place with 442 points, Florida State in fifth place with 395.5 points, N.C. State in sixth place with 365 points and Duke in seventh place with 132 points.
Comfort won his 23rd ACC championship as a coach with the victory. His Tar Heel teams have won 13 women’s titles and 10 men’s titles in his 23 years as head coach in Chapel Hill. Virginia freshman Cara Lane (Charlotte, N.C.) was named the Most Valuable Swimmer of the Championships after winning three individual events. Lane won the 500-yard freestyle Thursday night and she won two titles on Saturday night–the 1650-yard freestyle and the 200-yard butterfly. She was also a member of Virginia’s ACC champion 800-yard freestyle relay team on Friday night. Lane’s winning time of 16:07.71 in the 1650-yard freestyle on Saturday night was the Atlantic Coast Conference record in the event.