Five Races to Watch at the ACC Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships

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Emma Muzzy and NC State are chasing a third ACC Championship in four years Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Last year’s ACC Championships turned into the Mallory Comerford show, the Louisville senior becoming the only swimmer to win three individual events. It wasn’t enough for Louisville to halt NC State’s run to a second title in three years, with the meet turning into a three-horse race between NC State, Virginia and Louisville.

Without Comerford’s scoring this year, it could come down to just UVA and NC State for the title, with UVA seeded first in four relays. (Note that psych sheets are before scratches.)

PSYCH SHEETS

Full Schedule

2019 results

Here are five races to watch.

50 freestyle, Thursday

All eight A finalists from the 2019 ACC Championships are back, plus a handful of impact freshmen. Morgan Hill of Virginia won last year by .01 over Ky-Lee Perry of NC State in 21.68 seconds. Her teammate Kylee Alons was also under 22 seconds.

This time around, Hill is the second seed. Duke’s Alyssa Marsh, who was fifth last year, is third, with Perry fourth and Grace Countie (fourth last year) is fifth. Alons is the eighth seed, with Louisville’s Jillian Visscher (sixth last year) 10th and Sirena Rowe (seventh last year) 11th. Only Louisville’s Avery Braunecker, who finished eighth in 2019, is far back as the 43rd seed. That’s before you factor in Kate Douglass, the only A-cut holder, as the top seed (pending which three of the seven events she picks) and four 22-mid freshmen seeded 12th to 15th.

100 butterfly, Friday

A year ago, Hill edged Louisville’s Grace Oglesby to the title by .01. Oglesby got her win in the 200 fly, but with Douglass hovering over the field (again with an A Cut of 50.30) and Marsh as the second seed at 51.05, there could be an interloper in the quest for a rematch. Oglesby is the third seed with Hill fourth.

400 individual medley, Friday

NC State’s signature event in last year’s ACC championships might have been the 400 IM, in which the Wolfpack gobbled up the top four spots (and added two B finalists and three C finalists for good measure). Kate Moore won the race in 4:05.25, with Makayla Sargent, Emma Muzzy and Julia Poole following. All four are back, with Muzzy as the top seed followed by Moore and Sargent with Poole fifth. Poole is also seeded third in Friday’s 200 free, which might be the divide-and-conquer move. But it’s hard to overestimate the psychological impact of such a huge points sweep.

100 backstroke, Friday

NC State won 10 of the 18 swimming events last year. Louisville won five (three by Comerford, plus a relay and Oglesby’s win) and Virginia won three. Can someone from one of the other nine schools in the conference sneak in and grab a gold? One of the best chances might come from UNC’s Countie in the 100 back, where she’s the top seed. She’s got NC State freshman Katharine Berkoff and UVA’s Caroline Gmelich on her heels, ahead of them by less than three-tenths of a second.

200 backstroke, Saturday

If, as expected, the ACC Championships team race comes down to Virginia and NC State, then all eyes will naturally be on the culminating 400 free relay, in which Virginia carries the top seed with UNC and NC State within a second. But the preliminary battleground will be the 200 back, where of the top 10 seeds, only seventh-seeded Sophie Lindner (UNC) hails from a school other than UVA or NC State. Virginia will field the top seed in Paige Madden, along with Emma Seiberlich (fifth) and Megan Moroney (10th). The other six spots in the top 10 belong to NC State, with Muzzy, Berkoff and Moore in two through five and Alons sixth. Those are big points on offer.

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