North Carolina State Picks Up Three Top Seeds During Last ACC Prelims

Photo Courtesy: NC State Athletics

North Carolina State currently has a 855.5-778.5 lead over Louisville in the team race at the men’s ACC championships, and the Wolfpack’s performances in the final prelims session have the team set up to capture a third consecutive ACC team title in the finals. Wolfpack swimmers posted the top seed in three of the four events contested.

NC State finished 1-2 in the 200 back to open up the morning. Hennessey Stuart touched in 1:39.59 to lead the way into the final, and only Cal’s Ryan Murphy has better that swim so far this season. His teammate Justin Ress grabbed second with his time of 1:40.26.

Just behind Ress were two men who won have already won ACC titles at this meet: Louisville’s Grigory Tarasevich, fresh of his win in the 100 back, qualified third in 1:40.28, and fourth went to Virginia Tech’s Robert Owen as the 400 IM champion touched in 1:40.29.

Notre Dame’s Robert Whitacre was fifth in 1:40.60, and UNC’s Jorden Merrilees qualified sixth in 1:41.35. Virginia’s Joe Clark finished seventh in 1:41.86, and there was a tie for eighth between Virginia Tech’s Sean Workman and Louisville’s Aaron Greene, with both checking in at 1:42.03.

Event 17  Men 200 Yard Backstroke
==================================================================
   Conference: % 1:38.56  3/26/2016 Hennesey Stuart, NC State
     ACC Meet: & 1:39.28  2/27/2016 Grigory Tarasevich, LOU-KY
         Pool: * 1:35.73  3/26/2016 Ryan Murphy, California-PC
         NCAA: # 1:35.73  3/26/2016 Ryan Murphy, California-PC
     American: @ 1:35.73  3/26/2016 Ryan Murphy, California-PC
   U. S. Open: ! 1:35.73  3/26/2016 Ryan Murphy, California-PC
                 1:39.87  A
                 1:41.92  IV16 NCAA Invited 2016
                 1:46.39  B
    Name           Year School               Seed    Prelims              
==================================================================
                      === Preliminaries ===                       
 
  1 Stuart, Henness  JR NCSU              1:40.04    1:39.59 qA     
    r:+0.59  23.03        48.24 (25.21)
        1:13.86 (25.62)     1:39.59 (25.73)
  2 Ress, Justin     SO NCSU              1:43.04    1:40.26 qIV16  
    r:+0.80  23.93        49.46 (25.53)
        1:14.57 (25.11)     1:40.26 (25.69)
  3 Tarasevich, Gri  SR Louisville        1:40.32    1:40.28 qIV16  
    r:+0.54  24.07        49.73 (25.66)
        1:15.25 (25.52)     1:40.28 (25.03)
  4 Owen, Robert     SR VT                1:43.21    1:40.29 qIV16  
    r:+0.58  23.67        48.91 (25.24)
        1:14.61 (25.70)     1:40.29 (25.68)
  5 Whitacre, Rober  JR Notre Dame        1:43.26    1:40.60 qIV16  
    r:+0.69  23.93        49.46 (25.53)
        1:14.99 (25.53)     1:40.60 (25.61)
  6 Merrilees, Jord  SR UNC               1:43.08    1:41.35 qIV16  
    r:+0.64  23.82        49.17 (25.35)
        1:15.33 (26.16)     1:41.35 (26.02)
  7 Clark, Joseph    FR UVA               1:46.97    1:41.86 qIV16  
    r:+0.63  23.61                     
            1:15.31 ( )     1:41.86 (26.55)
  8 Workman, Sean    SO VT                1:45.95    1:42.03 qB     
    r:+0.62  24.26        50.15 (25.89)
        1:16.20 (26.05)     1:42.03 (25.83)
  8 Greene, Aaron    SR Louisville        1:43.30    1:42.03 qB     
    r:+0.74  23.99        49.54 (25.55)
        1:15.71 (26.17)     1:42.03 (26.32)

The Wolfpack again struck in the 100 free prelims, posting the top three seeds in the event and putting four men into the championship final. It was no surprise to see Ryan Held leading the way, touching in 42.33, and Held will go for his third title of the meet in the final after already winning the 50 free and 100 fly.

Held figures to challenge his own meet record of 41.69 in the final, but the ACC record of 41.18 held by former Wolfpack teammate Simonas Bilis could be harder to crack.

Held’s teammates will bracket him in the final as Soren Dahl, the winner of the 200 free, came in second at 42.89, and Joe Bonk was third in 42.92. NC State’s Scott Johnson came in seventh at 43.10.

The seven swimmers besides Held in the A-final were separated by just 0.24. Louisville’s Mattias Lindenbauer finished fourth in 42.95, followed by Notre Dame teammates Tabahn Afrik (42.96) and Daniel Speers (43.09). Virginia’s John Whiteside was eighth in 43.11, while Louisville’s Trevor Carroll, the runner-up in the 200 free, was locked out of the championship final with his ninth-place time of 43.15.

Event 18  Men 100 Yard Freestyle
==================================================================
   Conference: % 41.18  2/27/2016 Simonas Bilis, NCSU-NC
     ACC Meet: & 41.69  2/27/2016 Ryan Held, NCSU-NC
         Pool: * 40.46  3/26/2016 Caeleb Dressel, Florida-FL
         NCAA: # 40.46  3/26/2016 Caeleb Dressel, Florida-FL
     American: @ 40.46  3/26/2016 Caeleb Dressel, Florida-FL
   U. S. Open: ! 40.46  3/26/2016 Caeleb Dressel, Florida-FL
                 42.25  A
                 43.05  IV16 NCAA Invited 2016
                 44.29  B
    Name           Year School               Seed    Prelims              
==================================================================
                      === Preliminaries ===                       
 
  1 Held, Ryan       JR NCSU                42.40      42.33 qIV16  
    r:+0.66  20.00        42.33 (22.33)
  2 Dahl, Soren      SR NCSU                43.69      42.89 qIV16  
    r:+0.76  20.32        42.89 (22.57)
  3 Bonk, Joseph     SR NCSU                44.34      42.92 qIV16  
    r:+0.66  20.47        42.92 (22.45)
  4 Lindenbauer, Ma  SR Louisville          44.12      42.95 qIV16  
    r:+0.63  20.56        42.95 (22.39)
  5 Afrik, Tabahn    SO Notre Dame          43.04      42.96 qIV16  
    r:+0.59  20.42        42.96 (22.54)
  6 Speers, Daniel   SO Notre Dame          43.97      43.09 qB     
    r:+0.64  20.49        43.09 (22.60)
  7 Johnson, Scott   SR NCSU                44.02      43.10 qB     
    r:+0.70  20.77        43.10 (22.33)
  8 Whiteside, John  FR UVA                 43.46      43.11 qB     
    r:+0.70  20.55        43.11 (22.56)

After coming from behind to touch-out Duke’s Peter Kropp and win the 100 breast title, Virginia Tech’s Brandon Fiala will look to add a second-straight conference title in the 200 breast after qualifying first in 1:53.36. Fiala owns the meet record in 1:52.87, just off the conference record of 1:52.68 held by Louisville grad Thomas Dahlia.

Fiala could get a challenge in the final from Georgia Tech’s Moises Loschi, who qualified second in 1:53.47, and from Notre Dame’s Trent Jackson, the third seed in 1:53.68. Louisville’s Carlos Claverie is again looming in lane six after qualifying fourth in 1:54.33.

Kropp earned a spot in the final with his time of 1:54.54, just ahead of North Carolina’s Michael McBryan (1:54.86). Also getting into the A-final were Virginia Tech’s Zachary Switzer (1:55.40) and UNC’s Craig Emslie (1:55.43).

Event 19  Men 200 Yard Breaststroke
==================================================================
   Conference: % 1:52.68  3/28/2015 Thomas Dahlia, Louisville
     ACC Meet: & 1:52.87  2/27/2016 Brandon Fiala, VT-VA
         Pool: * 1:48.12  3/26/2016 Will Licon, Texas-ST
         NCAA: # 1:48.12  3/26/2016 Will Licon, Texas-ST
     American: @ 1:48.12  3/26/2016 Will Licon, Texas-ST
   U. S. Open: ! 1:48.12  3/26/2016 Will Licon, Texas-ST
                 1:52.99  A
                 1:55.31  IV16 NCAA Invited 2016
                 1:59.79  B
    Name           Year School               Seed    Prelims              
==================================================================
                      === Preliminaries ===                       
 
  1 Fiala, Brandon   SR VT                1:57.28    1:53.36 qIV16  
    r:+0.62  25.07        53.65 (28.58)
        1:22.99 (29.34)     1:53.36 (30.37)
  2 Loschi, Moises   JR GT                1:53.88    1:53.47 qIV16  
    r:+0.62  25.90        54.93 (29.03)
        1:23.95 (29.02)     1:53.47 (29.52)
  3 Jackson, Trent   SR Notre Dame        1:56.91    1:53.68 qIV16  
    r:+0.73  25.79        54.65 (28.86)
        1:23.68 (29.03)     1:53.68 (30.00)
  4 Claverie, Carlo  JR Louisville        1:53.32    1:54.33 qIV16  
    r:+0.71  25.39        54.27 (28.88)
        1:23.92 (29.65)     1:54.33 (30.41)
  5 Kropp, Peter     SR Duke              1:59.10    1:54.54 qIV16  
    r:+0.62  25.17        54.08 (28.91)
        1:23.81 (29.73)     1:54.54 (30.73)
  6 McBryan, Michae  JR UNC               1:57.89    1:54.86 qIV16  
    r:+0.66  26.12        55.27 (29.15)
        1:24.57 (29.30)     1:54.86 (30.29)
  7 Switzer, Zachar  SR VT                2:02.06    1:55.40 qB     
    r:+0.66  25.84        55.02 (29.18)
        1:25.04 (30.02)     1:55.40 (30.36)
  8 Emslie, Craig    JR UNC               1:57.98    1:55.43 qB     
    r:+0.71  25.71        55.14 (29.43)
        1:25.01 (29.87)     1:55.43 (30.42)

In the final preliminary event of the meet, NC State’s Andreas Vazaios set himself up for a run at a second ACC title after lowering the conference record in the 200 IM. He posted a time of 1:41.93 to lead the way in the heats of the 200 fly to move himself into the top 10 in the country this season. Former Wolfpack star Christian McCurdy holds both the conference (1:41.06) and meet records (1:41.42) in the event from last season.

Louisville’s Zach Harting qualified second in the event in 1:43.15, and Georgia Tech’s Ben Southern finished third in 1:43.35. Also getting under the 1:44-barrier were Notre Dame’s Kevin Bradley (1:43.81), Virginia’s Zach Fong (1:43.90) and Louisville’s Josh Quallen (1:43.96).

Georgia Tech’s Tim Slanschek (1:44.00) and Virginia’s Frederick Schubert (1:44.35) also got into the top heat.

Event 20  Men 200 Yard Butterfly
==================================================================
   Conference: % 1:41.06  3/26/2016 Christian McCurdy, NCSU-NC
     ACC Meet: & 1:41.42  2/27/2016 Christian McCurdy, NCSU-NC
         Pool: * 1:37.97  3/26/2016 Joseph Schooling, Texas-ST
         NCAA: # 1:37.97  3/26/2016 Joseph Schooling, Texas-ST
     American: @ 1:38.06  3/26/2016 Jack Conger, Texas-ST
   U. S. Open: ! 1:37.97  3/26/2016 Joseph Schooling, Texas-ST
                 1:41.86  A
                 1:43.65  IV16 NCAA Invited 2016
                 1:47.99  B
    Name           Year School               Seed    Prelims              
==================================================================
                      === Preliminaries ===                       
 
  1 Vazaios, Andrea  JR NCSU              1:43.46    1:41.93 qIV16  
    r:+0.71  23.15        48.57 (25.42)
        1:14.83 (26.26)     1:41.93 (27.10)
  2 Harting, Zach    SO Louisville        1:44.47    1:43.15 qIV16  
    r:+0.68  23.35        49.75 (26.40)
        1:16.14 (26.39)     1:43.15 (27.01)
  3 Southern, Benja  SR GT                1:44.97    1:43.35 qIV16  
    r:+0.66  23.53        49.48 (25.95)
        1:16.17 (26.69)     1:43.35 (27.18)
  4 Bradley, Kevin   SR Notre Dame        1:48.02    1:43.81 qB     
    r:+0.70  23.40        49.96 (26.56)
        1:16.31 (26.35)     1:43.81 (27.50)
  5 Fong, Zachary    SO UVA               1:43.64    1:43.90 qB     
    r:+0.68  23.52        49.73 (26.21)
        1:16.27 (26.54)     1:43.90 (27.63)
  6 Quallen, Joshua  SR Louisville        1:45.33    1:43.96 qB     
    r:+0.71  22.98        49.16 (26.18)
        1:15.76 (26.60)     1:43.96 (28.20)
  7 Slanschek, Tim   FR GT                1:44.74    1:44.00 qB     
    r:+0.73  22.96        49.10 (26.14)
        1:15.88 (26.78)     1:44.00 (28.12)
  8 Schubert, Frede  FR UVA               1:44.74    1:44.35 qB     
    r:+0.71  23.55        49.85 (26.30)
        1:16.87 (27.02)     1:44.35 (27.48)

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Author: David Rieder

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David Rieder is the host of Swimming World TV and a staff writer for Swimming World. A contributor to the magazine and website since 2009, he has covered the NCAA Championships, U.S. Nationals, Olympic Trials as well as the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and the 2017 World Championships in Budapest. He is a native of Charleston, S.C., and a 2016 graduate of Duke University.

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