North Carolina Sweeps Dual Meet Against South Carolina

Valdas Abaliksta; Photo Courtesy: Jeffrey A. Camarti-UNC Athletics Communications

North Carolina took control early and glided to a pair of victories over South Carolina Sunday, 1184-11 in the women’s meet and 212-81 for the men.

The No. 20 ranked men opened with the fastest time of the season in the 400 medley relay, the squad of Tucker Burhans, Valdas Abaliksta, Boyd Poelke and Tomas Sungaila clocking in at 3:09.85. Sungaila led victories in the 100 and 200 freestyle in 1-2-3 UNC finishes, as did Burhans in the 100 back. Abaliksta swept the breaststroke events.

Chris Thames, who was second in the 100 back, won the 200 back in another podium sweep. Santos Villalon reigned in the 100 and 200 butterfly, and Eli Coan claimed the 50 free. The diving triumvirate of Anton Down-Jenkins, Alex Hart and Fabian Stepinski took the top three spots in both events.

On the women’s side, the 24th-ranked Tar Heels claimed all five freestyle events. Heidi Lowe was victorious in the 50 and 100. Sophie Lindner, who led off the winning 400 medley relay, claimed the 200 free. Addison Smith handed the 500 and 1,000 frees.

Grace Countie swept the 100 and 200 back. Caroline Cooper (200 fly), Lilly Higgs (200 breast) and Elle VanNote (100 fly) added victories. Aranza Vazquez-Montano and Emily Grund orchestrated 1-2 diving finishes for North Carolina, Vazquez-Montano bettering the program record score on one-meter (344.03) that she had set two days earlier against Virginia.

“I’m really proud of our team today,” North Carolina head coach Mark Gangloff said. “We showed up after having a really tough meet on Friday night, and to show up and do what we did—we won all but one event on both the men’s and women’s sides today—against a team like South Carolina is pretty special.”

Taylor Steele won the 100 breast and was second in the 200 breast for South Carolina. Janie Smith and Emma Walker finished second and third, respectively, in the 50 free, and Mari Kraus was the 200 back runner-up, as was Bella Pantano in the 100 back.

Jordan Yip and Rafael Davila each notched a second- and third-place finish for the Gamecock men.

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