ACC Weekly Preview: Traditional North Carolina Rivalries Cap Off Dual Meet Season

UNC's Alvin Jiang -- Photo Courtesy: Jeffrey A. Camarti-UNC Athletics Communications

In the final week of ACC swimming and diving dual meet action, the focus will be on the Triangle Area as North Carolina meets its two historic rivals, NC State and Duke. All three campuses are less than 30 minutes apart from each other, and the Tar Heels will host the Wolfpack Friday before making the short drive up 15-501 to Duke Saturday.

The Tar Heels’ season thus far has been uneven, with a sweep of Virginia Tech in early November as the highlight. So far in 2017, UNC has wins over Penn State and Navy under its belt, but the teams were swept at Virginia last weekend. At that meet, UNC got just three wins in swimming events.

UNC senior Caroline Baldwin currently ranks No. 2 in the country in the 50 free (21.48) and No. 3 in the 100 free (47.14), and several Tar Heel freshmen have also been big point-scorers so far this year, including Caroline HauderValdas Abaliksta and Alvin Jiang.

NC State also swam Virginia last weekend, with the men winning easily and the women falling to the Cavaliers. The Wolfpack have had an edge over UNC’s teams in recent years, and even if the women’s competition turns out to be more competitive than expected, the men’s will not be.

As for the match-up with Duke, the Blue Devils beat the Tar Heels in the team standings at the Tennessee Invitational last month. Last season, Duke pulled off a historic sweep of UNC, with the men winning over the Tar Heels in a dual meet for the first time since 1939 and the women for the first time ever.

This year’s Blue Devil men’s team lost almost its entire NCAA squad from last season, including its only individual scorer, Peter Kropp, while Duke’s women look much stronger with sprinters Leah Goldman and Alyssa Marsh leading the charge.

Those two meets are the final intra-conference dual meets of the ACC season, and there’s only one other meet that pits an ACC team against a Power-Five opponent: Indiana at Louisville. Blake Pieroni and the undefeated Hoosier men should be favored over the Cardinals, and the women’s meet should be competitive with two top-eight teams from last year’s NCAA championships and a Louisville team looking to bounce back from last week’s loss to Kentucky.

Full schedule:

  • Indiana at Louisville, 2 p.m. Friday
  • NC State at North Carolina, 5 p.m. Friday
  • Boston College at MIT, 5 p.m. Friday
  • Emory at Georgia Tech, 11 a.m. Saturday
  • Florida Atlantic at Florida State, 11 a.m. Saturday
  • North Carolina at Duke, 1 p.m. Saturday
  • Boston University at Boston College, 1 p.m. Saturday
  • Pittsburgh at Western Penn. Invite
  • Notre Dame at Shamrock Invite
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Author: David Rieder

David Rieder is a staff writer for Swimming World. He has contributed to the magazine and website since 2009, and 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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