BLACKSBURG, Virginia, November 7. AFTER a pair of wins over Kentucky on Friday, the Virginia Tech H2Okie teams showed no fatigue in competing on consecutive days and came out dominant to finish the weekend undefeated, compiling three wins against ACC competition on Saturday at War Memorial Pool. The H2Okie women defeated Duke, 174-126, and Miami, 208-86, while the men posted a 180-112 victory over the Blue Devils. The victories were the first conference wins of the season for Tech, as the men posted 12 top finishes and the women added seven.
"We came out with a complete effort today," said Tech's head coach Ned Skinner. "The thing that has been most satisfying for the coaching staff is seeing so many different kids emerge. We've really worked on our consistency throughout the fall and we're showing our depth as we move forward. On any given event, we can step up and get a win or top finish from someone else, which makes our program so strong and is something we've really been pleased with."
Tech opened the day with back-to-back wins in the 200 medley relay races. The women garnered the top two spots, while the men finished first and third. The Tech men remain unbeaten this season in the medley relay, posting their fifth-consecutive top finish. The women would also end the day with a victory in the 200 free relay, touching in at 1:35.27, in their first time competing in the relay event this season. The men took a close second to Duke in the 200 free relay.
Blake Trabuchi-Downey earned his third victory of the two-day competition, taking first in the men's 1650 freestyle, posting a H2Okies' season-best time of 15:58.39. Griffin Lutterbein placed second for the men, while Erika Hajnal topped the women in the mile with a runner-up finish in 16:43.01.
Tech then swept the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke events. Kelly deMarrais led the women in the 200 free in 1:50.55 and Chip Hughes led the men in 1:42.47. In the 100 back, Steffi Drechsel placed first in 56.72, while Stephen Hawkins complemented a first-place finish on the men's side in 50.51. The H2Okies looked fresh and powerful even after competing on Friday, as the men earned the top-three spots in both events, while the women placed 1-2-3 in the 100 back.
The men also documented a tight 1-2-3 finish in the 100 freestyle, as Hawkins took first in 46.93, while Hughes and Richard Ulatowski touched in at 46.95 and 46.97, respectively. Ryne Francis took first in the 200 back for the second-straight day in 1:51.53, while teammate Tom Sheranek added a second-place finish. Drechsel and deMarrais also contributed respective second-place finishes in the 100 free and 200 back events.
The H2Okie men also added titles in the 500 freestyle, 100 butterfly and 100 and 200 breaststroke events, displaying an all-around team effort throughout the day. Griffin Lutterbein earned the fastest time in the men's 500 free with a finish in 4:42.42, beating out Trey Stewart, while Lauren Ritter paced the women with a second-place performance in the 500 free. Karl Botha (50.73) and Charlie Higgins (50.88) took first and second, respectively, in the 100 fly, and Abby Barney recorded a women's season-best time in the 100 fly in 57.09. Jonathan Huss earned his fifth-consecutive title in the men's 100 breaststroke with the top finish in 57.09, and later recorded a victory in the 200 breaststroke in 2:08.05.
Hajnal remained sharp in her events, earning a victory in the 200 butterfly for the second-consecutive day, touching in at 2:03.18, and then added a season-best finish in the 400 IM, securing the top spot in 4:20.93. Karl Botha helped Tech complete the sweep in the 200 fly, taking first in 1:52.70, while Philip LaRosa contributed a first-place finish in the men's 400 IM, clocking in at 4:03.40. Stewart and LaRosa also placed second and third, respectively, in the 200 fly.
Kaleigh Gomes and Emily Ferguson turned in speedy first and second-place performances, respectively, in the 50 sprint free, as Gomes' winning time of 23.76 marks her season-best time and touches in as the second-fastest finish for a H2Okie swimmer this season. Ulatowski added a runner-up finish in the men's 50 free, sprinting to a finish in 21.24.
The Blue Devils' Nick McCrory and Abby Johnston led the way in both diving events. Logan Shinholser guided Tech with third-place performances in both events, securing 332.32 points in the one-meter and 360.60 points in the three-meter. Likewise, Sarah Milton took third in the women's events, finishing with 279.67 points in the one-meter and 290.25 points in the three-meter.
Duke set new pool records in the women's 1650 freestyle (16:28.82) and the women's three-meter event (355.95 points).
"We've had a tough stretch of meets in a row, right from the beginning to a double-meet this weekend, and the team has handled it pretty well and gotten better because of it," said associate head coach Braden Holloway. "Now we have some fine-tuning to take care of before we go to the Volunteer Invite."
The H2Okies will have next week off from competition, as they will prepare for the Volunteer Invitational in Knoxville, Tenn., on Nov. 19-21.
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