BLACKSBURG, Virginia, October 27. THE Virginia Tech men's and women's swimming and diving team rebounded from a hard-fought loss last weekend to nationally ranked Virginia to sweep Southeastern Conference member Kentucky by nearly identical scores, 167.5-132.5 on the women's side and 167-133 on the men's at War Memorial Pool on Saturday afternoon.
With a win in their first ever meet against the No. 18 Wildcats, the No. 25 Virginia Tech women move up to 3-1 (1-1 ACC), while the men are back at .500 with a 2-2 overall record (0-2 ACC).
"I thought it was a great day for the H2Okies," Head Coach Ned Skinner said. "It was just a lot of fun, from the senior leadership all the way to the hundreds of fans in attendance and the parents leading cheers and people contributing. Just the notion that our depth is really what made us pull away in the meet was really satisfying, knowing that we still have a few of our performers out. That's exciting."
Even without the services of All-American Sara Smith (McGaheysville, Va.) in the sprints and relays due to injury, the women put on a dominating performance, finishing 1-2-3 in six different events while winning eight total. The squad also had 10 second-place finishes.
2007 ACC Swimmer of the Year and three-time All-American Jessica Botzum
(Raleigh, N.C.) returned this week in good form after missing last week's meet against No. 19 Virginia, winning both the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke. She also helped the 200 medley relay team finish second, losing to the Kentucky team by .04 seconds.
Freshman Lauren Ritter (Fairfax, Va.) continued to show her importance to the team in the distance freestyle events, winning both the 1,650 freestyle race with a pool record time of 17:03.55 and the 500 freestyle. Allison Luttermoser (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) also put on a strong performance, winning the 400 IM and placing second in both the 100 and 200 freestyle events.
Stephanie Jones (Virginia Beach, Va.) won the 200 free and finished second in the 500 free. Jordan McHorney (Virginia Beach, Va.) and Kelly deMarrais (Bernardsville, N.J.) added victories in the 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke, respectively, while Sara Shapiro (Franklin, Tenn.) finished second in both backstroke races.
"I think Jessica Botzum coming back into the fold today, along with Stephanie Jones, Lauren Ritter and many other women helping out were really exciting to see today as we move forward," Skinner said.
On the men's side, Scott Beard (Chesterfield, Va.) and Mikey McDonald
(Annandale, Va.) once again led the H2Okies with strong meets as both won two separate individual events. Overall, Tech had 10 victories and six second-place finishes.
Beard placed first in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke. He also helped Tech win the 200 medley relay and the 200 freestyle relay with a pool record time of 1:21.32. McDonald captured both the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events.
"You have to think of Scott Beard when you think about who is the dominant
swimmer right now in the ACC and one of the dominant swimmers in the NCAA," Skinner said. "Scott had a great summer. He's leading this team by example. He's leading this team by the way he races.
"Mikey McDonald winning both boards was enormous for this program," Skinner added. "He beat NCAA-level participants and USA National finalists. One guy he beat was one of the top recruits in the country last year, so we're really excited about what Mikey's done on the boards."
Besides helping Beard, Jake Bova (Roanoke, Va.) and Ian deToll (Culpeper, Va.) win both relay events, Kaan Tayla (Ankara, Turkey) also won the 50 freestyle ahead of deToll and finished second in the 100 freestyle.
Three freshmen played a vital role in the team's success as Trey Stewart
(Luling, La.) and Carter Moore (Richmond, Va.) won the 200 butterfly and 400 IM, respectively, while Ryne Francis (Gilbertsville, Pa.) finished second in the 200 backstroke and 1,650 freestyle. Griffin Lutterbein (Manakin-Sabot, Va.) added a victory in the 1,650 freestyle with a pool record time of 16:01.94.
The H2Okies travel next weekend out to the Midwest in Columbia, Mo., for the annual Mizzou Dual Challenge, which include several strong teams from around the region and host-school Missouri.
"Beating an 18th-ranked team today is huge for the women," Skinner said.
"Missouri is nationally ranked, so matching wits with them will be fun. I think the men really got a shot in the arm today. They raced Virginia hard last week and were disappointed to have lost to Virginia and Clemson. To bounce back today and beat Kentucky, hopefully, we can go out there and keep this momentum going."
Special thanks to Virginia Tech for contributing this report.