CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina, January 31. THE University of North Carolina Tar Heels dug deep and pulled out several key victories Friday night en route to a sweep of ACC and in-state rival North Carolina State. The Tar Heels honored their seniors with a 154-144 win on the men’s side and 167-5-126.5 win in the women’s meet.
North Carolina Press Release
North Carolina’s men edged NC State 154-144 and the Tar Heel women posted a 167.5-126.5 win over the Wolfpack in swimming and diving action Friday night at Koury Natatorium.
“It’s what you want to see out of young people that you are in charge of directing and teaching and trying to nurture their lives in the short window we have,” DeSelm commented while answering a question about the number of come-from-behind victories Carolina had in races on Friday night, particularly in the 500-yard and 1000-yard freestyles. “To see them execute and dig deep and come up with a little bit more for their teammates is a great thing for everybody.”
It was Senior Night for the Tar Heels and Carolina’s four-year swimmers delivered in a big way to allow UNC to post a pair of victories. After trailing for much of the first half of the meet, senior Alex Gianino posted wins in the 200-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard individual medley to help rally the Tar Heel men past the Wolfpack. Senior J.T. Stilley also posted a key win in the 500-yard freestyle for the Tar Heels and freshman Jack Nyquist swept the diving events to help his older classmates come out on top in their final head-to-head matchup with NCSU.
“Alex Gianino just keeps giving to the team,” said DeSelm. “He’s grown a lot in his career here. I’m really proud of him. He has had a lot of clutch wins in his career here and he had two of them tonight after the first diving break. Those two wins were huge. They got us the meet. J.T. Stilley’s win the 500 was awesome for him. J.T. dug deep and found a way to get his hand on the wall first.”
On the women’s side, senior Stephanie Peacock posted a pair of individual wins (500 freestyle and 1000 freestyle) and seniors Meredith Hoover (200 fly). Katie Rechsteiner (200 breast) and Cari Blalock (200 IM) also won events for the Tar Heels. Sophomore Erin Purdy garnered a pair of wins in diving to help the Tar Heel overcome the Wolfpack. Carolina’s depth on the women’s side was a key in being able to pull away from NC State during the second half of the meet.
The 16th-ranked UNC men improved to 6-2 overall and 2-1 in the ACC with their 10-point win over the 21st-ranked Wolfpack, which is now 5-4 overall and 3-2 in the ACC.
The ninth-ranked Carolina women improved to 8-2 overall and 2-1 in the ACC while the #21 NC State women are 6-4 overall and 4-2 in the ACC.
Both teams will have quick turnarounds before their next meet’s with UNC swimming at Duke at 11 a.m. Saturday and NC State playing host to Virginia Saturday at 3 p.m.
The two teams split 16 events on the men’s side while the UNC women won nine of 16 events. Carolina swept both dual meets despite not winning any of the four relays. The Tar Heel men also had to overcome a pair of 1-2-3-4 finishes by NC State in the 50 and 100-yard freestyles in the middle of the meet. But successive wins by junior Patrick Myers in the 200-yard backstroke, senior Alex Gianino in the 200-yard breaststroke and senior J.T. Stilley in the 500-yard freestyle righted the ship and allowed the Tar Heels to take the lead for good.