GREENSBORO, North Carolina, February 28. THE third night of action came to a close at the ACC Men’s Championships with Virginia Tech heading into the final day of action with a slight 815.5 to 807.5 lead ahead of N.C. State for the team title.
Meanwhile, North Carolina (675), Notre Dame (652) and Florida State (646.5) made up the rest of the top five in team scoring. Virginia (636), Georgia Tech (329.5), Duke (325), Pittsburgh (282), Boston College (167) and Miami (128) completed the rest of scoring.
The North Carolina State Wolfpack were going to win their fourth relay in four tries in the 400 medley, but Florida State had other ideas. Pavel Sankovich blasted a 45.31 opening backstroke split, taking down his own ACC record of 45.86 set last year. Andreas Schiellerup touched second for the Wolfpack with a swift 45.92, but his teammates couldn’t make up the margin. Paul Murray, the winner of the 50 free on Thursday, then anchored in 41.40, more than a second faster than his best time, and the Seminoles held on for the win.
Sankovich, Jared Pike, Connor Knight, and Murray combined to swim a time of 3:04.47, almost three seconds under Virginia Tech’s conference and meet record posted a year ago. NC State, with Schiellerup, Ian Bishop, Barrett Miesfeld, and Jonathan Boffa, who anchored in 41.31, touched second in 3:04.80, also under the old meet record, while Virginia Tech’s Morgan Latimer, Brandon Fiala, Nick Tremols, and Joe Bonk grabbed third in 3:08.26. Virginia (3:08.64), Notre Dame (3:09.50), and North Carolina (3:09.65) all picked up “A” cuts in the event.
North Carolina State’s Christian McCurdy scored a big upset in the men’s 400 IM over top qualifier David Ingraham. McCurdy led the race from the first 50, and he built a lead on the breast leg big enough to hold off North Carolina’s Alex Gianino. McCurdy touched in 3:43.61, becoming the first Wolfpack swimmer to win the 400 IM since 1984, while Gianino came home second in 3:44.92. Meanwhile, Duke’s Michael Miller blasted a 24.92 on the final 50 to pass Ingraham, and he took third in 3:46.03. Ingraham, who had clocked 3:42.94 in the prelims, the top time of the day, ended up fourth in 3:46.72.
Sankovich grabbed the win in the 100 fly as he clocked an ACC record-time of 45.12. That mark broke Tommy Wyher’s time of 45.57 from 2010. Sankovich was locked in a tight race with teammate Connor Knight and NC State’s Miesfeld until he used a dominant final 25 to pull away. Miesfeld ended up taking second, touching out Knight, 45.79 to 45.83.
In their first year in the ACC, Notre Dame didn’t have to wait long to earn their first victory at the men’s swimming championships as Frank Dyer dominated the men’s 200 free. While his winning time of 1:33.20 fell shy of Scot Robison’s ACC record time of 1:32.45, the mark moved him into third in the nation this season, trailing just Louisville’s Joao De Lucca and Michigan’s Michael Wynalda. Meanwhile, NC State picked up big points in this event, as Williams (1:34.14), Bilis (1:34.19), and Boffa (1:34.90) finished second, third, and fifth, respectively.
Zach Stephens made it two event wins in a row for Notre Dame as he won the 100 breast. Stephens clocked 52.59 in the winning effort, clipping the ACC record of 52.60 that Ed Moses set back in 2000. That record had stood as the oldest in the books. Meanwhile, Virginia’s Yannick Kaeser swam a strong back half to place second in 52.91, while North Carolina State’s Ian Bishop, the leader for most of the race, settled for third in 53.01. Duke’s Peter Kropp, meanwhile, swam the top time among freshmen as he took fourth from lane eight, clocking 53.34.
Sankovich closed out an amazing night with his third event title, second individually, as he threw down an epic 23.35 final split to post an NCAA A cut time of 45.83 in the men’s 100-yard back for the win. That swim also clipped Sankovich’s ACC record of 45.86 set a year ago. NC State’s Shiellerup finished second in 46.15, while Virginia’s Jack Murfee clinched third overall in 46.30.