GREENSBORO, North Carolina, February 20. AFTER the first full day of the women’s ACC Championships the Virginia Cavaliers opened a big lead as they seek a seventh straight team championship. Freshman Leah Smith led the way for the Cavaliers as she won the women’s 500 free with a new conference and meet record as her team established a lead of greater than 150 points.
Smith led from the onset in the 500, and she ended up taking first by more than two seconds. Smith touched in 4:34.35, edging the ACC record of 4:34.42 that Stephanie Peacock set in December of 2012. She also knocked off Peacock’s meet record time of 4:36.48 from earlier in 2012. Smith’s time earned her the top mark in the country so far this year, as both Brittany MacLean and Missy Franklin had previously clocked 4:34.63.
UNC’s Peacock, meanwhile, grabbed second in 4:36.80. Peacock missed last year’s ACC Championships with injuries, but she won the NCAA title in the event back in 2012. She will return to the NCAA Championships this year, as she joined Smith in collecting an “A” qualifying mark. Florida State’s Madison Jacobi grabbed third in 4:37.77.
Notre Dame’s Emma Reaney picked up the second meet record of the night as she dominated the women’s 200 IM and earned the Irish their first victory at their first ACC Championships. Reaney’s time of 1:54.92 broke her own conference record of 1:55.18 from December and earned her an automatic ticket to the NCAA Championships. Virginia’s Megan Evo had set the previous meet record of 1:56.17 in 2009. Virginia’s Kaitlyn Jones took second in 1:57.18, touching out teammate Ellen Williamson, who finished in 1:57.24.
With men’s diving being contested this weekend at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in addition to all women’s events, Nick McCrory won another ACC title, scoring 531.00 points in the men’s three-meter for a new conference and meet record. He had previously scored 498.60 last year. The win marks McCrory’s eighth trip to the top of the ACC podium in addition to his trio of national championships on the ten-meter platform. Miami’s Samuel Dorman grabbed second with 496.15. Virginia’s Ryan Hawkins finishe third with 448.70.
North Carolina State won the 200 free relay but only after sophomore Riki Bonnema blasted a 21.81 anchor split. She joined Lauren Poli, Ashlyn Koletic, and Natalie Labonge to win in 1:28.71, breaking Virginia’s meet record of 1:29.21 from 2009. Florida State’s team of Tiffany Oliver, Kaitlyn Dressel, Bianca Spinazzola, and McKayla Lightbourn finished second in 1:29.25, a tenth ahead of Virginia’s Shannon Rauth, Ellen Thomas, Meredith Cavalier, and Emily Lloyd (1:29.35). Each of the top three teams earned an “A” cut.
No one picked up an “A” cut in the 50 free, but Oliver took the win in her senior season, clocking 22.02, while Bonnema edged Duke’s Lauren Weaver for runner-up honors, 22.16 to 22.19.
In diving action, Virginia Tech’s Kalyea Arnett won the women’s one-meter with 355.65 points. Miami’s Thea Vock took second with 332.60, and Florida State’s Katrina Young finished third with 332.15.