CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina, November 17. THE North Carolina women's swimming and diving team finished no lower than second place in all seven events in the final day of the Janis Hape Dowd Nike Cup Invitational at Koury Natatorium. The Tar Heels won the competition with an overall total of 1057 points.
Virginia Tech's women finished second with 934.5 points. Clemson took third with 655 points, Kentucky took fourth with 537, East Carolina took fifth with 309, Syracuse took sixth with 215 and Yale took seventh with 99.5.
On the men's side, Virginia Tech won the invitational with 964.5 points. Clemson came in second with 806.5 points. North Carolina finished third with 716 points. Kentucky was fourth with 649, Yale was fifth with 340, Syracuse was sixth with 222 and East Carolina was seventh with 138.
North Carolina's Whitney Sprague was the highlight of freestyle throughout the invitational. After a record-breaking performance in the 500-yard freestyle Thursday, Sprague took first in the 200-yard freestyle Friday and was also on the winning team for the 800-yard freestyle relay. Saturday was no different as Sprague swam her way into the record books for a second night, this time in the 1000-yard and 1650-yard freestyle.
The North Carolina women made their statement early, led by Whitney Sprague. Sprague shattered UNC and Atlantic Coast Conference records with her time of 15:51.02. The time is an "A" qualifier for the 2008 NCAA Championships. She broke the school record in both the 1000-yard and 1650-yard, records she already held. Sprague also broke the ACC record for the 1000-yard, set in 2001, and the ACC record for the 1650-yard, set in 2003, both set by Cara Lane of Virginia.
Coming in behind Sprague were her fellow Tar Heels Katura Harvey, who finished second with a time of 16:36.57, and Lindsay McIlvain who finished third with a time of 16:41.32. Ashley Miller finished fifth with a personal best time of 16:46.96. Harvey, McIlvain and Miller all had "B" qualifying times that were also their season-best. Virginia Tech's Lauren Ritter finished fourth, also posting a "B" qualifying time of 16:45.57.
The Tar Heel men kept the winning streak alive with Josef Kinderwater taking first in the 1650-yard freestyle, with a personal best "B" qualifying time of 15:09.19. Virginia Tech's Griffin Lutterbein took second with a "B" qualifying time of 15:26.62, and Clemson's David Gordon took third with a time of 15:37.10. North Carolina's Philip Owen took fourth, also posting a season-best time of 15:48.02.
Clemson's Michelle Parkhurst finished first in the women's 200-yard backstroke, posting a "B" qualifying time of 1:57.99. The Tar Heels' Ashley Howard took second with a season-best "B" qualifying time of 1:58.35. Virginia Tech's Kelly deMarrais and Allison Luttermoser took third and fourth respectively. North Carolina's Taylor McFarlane took fifth with a season-best "B" qualifying time of 2:00.52, and Megan Steeves finished ninth with a time of 2:04.87.
The Tar Heels' took three of the top six spots in the men's 200 yard backstroke. Jeff James finished first with a season-best time of 1:46.92. Keith Laabs took third with a time of 1:47.44, and Josh Hafkin took sixth with a time of 1:48.72, both are their best of the season. Kentucky's Shane Eliason took second with a time of 1:46.98, and Clemson's Tom Recko took fourth with a time of 1:49.02.
North Carolina's women claimed four of the top six finishes in the 100-yard freestyle. Kelsey Morrissy took first with a personal best "B" qualifying time of 49.61. The time moves Morrissy to fourth all-time at North Carolina in the event. Eliza Butts finished third with a "B" qualifying time of 50.57. Rebecca Kane took fifth with a "B" qualifying time of 50.41, and Megan Steeves came in behind her in sixth with a time of 51.00. Clemson's Rachel Regone took second, posting a "B" qualifying time of 50.18, and Virginia Tech's Sara Smith took fourth with a time of 50.92.
In the men's 100-yard freestyle, Yale's Alex Righi finished first, setting a Nike Cup record with a time of 43.31, also a "B" qualifying time. Virginia Tech claimed the second and third spots with Kaan Tayla, who posted a "B" qualifying time of 44.10, and Scott Beard, with a time of 44.82. Kentucky's Alex Forbes took fourth with a time of 45.02.
Virginia Tech's Jessica Botzum took first in the women's 200-yard breaststroke with an "A" qualifying time of 2:14.06. North Carolina's Alison Clemens posted a "B" qualifying time of 2:15.93, finishing second. Kentucky's Lindsay Myhre took third with a time of 2:18.25, and Yale's Susan Kim took fourth with a time of 2:19.16. UNC's Kathryn Marsh took ninth.
In the men's 200-yard breaststroke, Kuba Kotynia of Syracuse took first with a time of 2:00.63. North Carolina's Vinny Pryor took second with a time of 2:02.16. Scott Harkins finished third posting a time of 2:02.89, and Andy Bergren took fourth, finishing with a time of 2:04.42.
Kentucky's Megan Pulskamp finished first with a "B" qualifying time of 2:00.42 in the women's 200-yard butterfly. North Carolina's Lindsey Marck took second, posting a "B" qualifying time of 2:02.52. Yale's Ileana Lucos took third with a time of 2:02.62, and Megan Newell of Virginia Tech took fourth with a time of 2:07.02.
Virginia Tech's Trey Stewart took first in the men's 200-yard butterfly with a time of 1:48.31. Kentucky claimed second and third with Grant Nelson coming in at 1:48.44 and Joe Retrum at 1:48.84. David Gordon of Clemson finished fourth. North Carolina's Jason McLaughlin finished fifth with a time of 1:50.09, followed by fellow Tar Heel Robert Grimmett-Norris in sixth with a time of 1:50.26.
In the women's three meter diving, East Carolina's Christie Icenhower took first with a score of 336.65. North Carolina's Laura Filip finished second with a score of 297.20. Dani Kazilionis of Clemson finished third with a score of 268.50. Fellow Tiger Stephanie Fura took fourth with a score of 266.95. UNC's Erica Matheis finished sixth with a score of 246.65, and fellow Tar Heel Erica Schiffler took seventh with a score of 244.75.
The Tar Heels' Ryan Funderburk took first in men's three meter diving with a score of 413.25. Virginia Tech's Mikey McDonald took second with a score of 367.15. David Giambra of Clemson finished third with a score of 341.20. Yale's Jeffrey Lichtenste finished fourth with a score of 340.20. UNC's Alex Kenley finished sixth with a score of 332.75
In the final women's event of the invitational, the North Carolina team finished first in the 400-yard freestyle relay. The Tar Heels posted a season-best "B" qualifying time of 3:20.42. Swimming for North Carolina were Kelsey Morrissy, Eliza Butts, Rebecca Kane and Megan Steeves. Clemson took second with a "B" qualifying time of 3:23.83. Kentucky finished third with a time of 3:25.98, and Virginia Tech finished fourth posting a time of 3:26.65.
Virginia Tech's team took the top spot in the men's 400-yard freestyle relay with a "B" qualifying time of 2:58.27. Kentucky finished second with a "B" time of 2:58.89. Coming in third was Clemson with a time of 3:00.75. North Carolina finished fifth with a season-best time of 3:02.85. Swimming for the Tar Heels were Robby Swendiman, Zach Swartz, Tommy Wyher and Jeff James.
The Tar Heels return to team action in January hosting Clemson and Rutgers in Koury Natatorium.
Special thanks to UNC for contributing this report.