Women’s ACC Championships: NC State Wins First ACC Title Since 1980

Photo Courtesy: NC State Athletics

The North Carolina State Wolfpack wrapped up the program’s first women’s ACC championship since 1980 with an excellent effort Thursday night in Atlanta. The Wolfpack finished with 1183.5 points to take down nine-time defending conference champion Virginia, which finished second with 1100.5 points.

Louisville, buoyed by two wins from Mallory Comerford, finished third with 1027 points, and North Carolina was fourth with 980. Virginia Tech finished fifth with 739, just ahead of Duke (725.5), Notre Dame (654.5) and Florida State (625.5).

NC State senior Alexia Zevnik was named Most Valuable Swimmer after winning the 200 IM, 100 back and 200 back, while Florida State’s Molly Carlson and Pitt’s Dominic Giordano were named Most Valuable Divers.

Read below for full event-by-event coverage of the evening.

1650 free

Leah Smith, the two-time defending NCAA champion in the 1650 and a two-time Olympic medalist from this past summer in Rio, will be competing in the first heat of the mile during the afternoon session. She has not competed in a 1650 all season. She missed the Georgia Invite, which the UVA team attended, as she was headed to the Short Course World Championships.

Smith ended up dominating that early heat and recording a time of 15:31.49. While well short of the top time in the country (Katie Ledecky’s 15:03.92), she does into the No. 2 spot in the nation. That time easily eclipsed the best time from the later heats, which was a 16:05.26 recorded by Virginia Tech’s Jessica Hespeler.

NC State’s Hannah Moore actually had the lead for the majority of the heat but fell back over the last third of the race as Hespeler and then fellow NC State junior Rachel Muller went past her. Hespeler finished second, while Muller rounded out the podium in 16:06.01. Moore settled for fourth with her time of 16:09.48.

Also making the top eight were Pitt’s Amanda Richey (16:16.30), Virginia’s Cece Williams (16:18.41), NC State’s Anna Jahns (16:25.35) and Duke’s Verity Abel (16:25.91).

 1 Smith, Leah      SR UVA               9:21.54   15:31.49*A       32  
    r:+0.75  25.77        53.34 (27.57)
        1:21.23 (27.89)     1:48.96 (27.73)
        2:16.89 (27.93)     2:44.78 (27.89)
        3:12.61 (27.83)     3:40.74 (28.13)
        4:08.88 (28.14)     4:36.98 (28.10)
        5:05.07 (28.09)     5:33.29 (28.22)
        6:01.50 (28.21)     6:29.82 (28.32)
        6:58.14 (28.32)     7:26.53 (28.39)
        7:54.92 (28.39)     8:23.34 (28.42)
        8:51.92 (28.58)     9:20.33 (28.41)
        9:48.80 (28.47)    10:17.27 (28.47)
       10:45.92 (28.65)    11:14.51 (28.59)
       11:43.09 (28.58)    12:11.68 (28.59)
       12:40.34 (28.66)    13:09.04 (28.70)
       13:37.77 (28.73)    14:06.59 (28.82)
       14:35.19 (28.60)    15:03.65 (28.46)    15:31.49 (27.84)

Women’s platform diving

It was a pair of freshmen occupying the top two spots on the platform as Florida State’s Molly Carlson won with a final score of 284.05, just ahead of Clemson’s Freida Lim, who finished with a score of 276.25. UNC’s Elissa Dawson took third with a score of 272.25.

Clemson’s Danielle Reitsma scored 252.20 to finish fourth, while Virginia’s Kylie Towbin (246.65), Duke’s MaryEllen Targonski (243.50), NC State’s Madeline Kline (233.35) and Louisville’s Andrea Acquista (219.95) also made the final.

Event 20  Women Platform Diving
=========================================================================
         Meet: & 364.70  2/22/2014 Katrina Young, Florida St.
          ACC: % 367.20  3/16/2008 Brittany Viola, Miami
         Pool: * 360.30  11/21/2016Yu Zhou, MINN
    Name           Year School            Prelims     Finals       Points 
=========================================================================
                             === Finals ===                              
 
  1 Carlson, Molly   FR FSU                252.35     284.05         32  
  2 Lim, Freida      FR Clemson            252.50     276.25         28  
  3 Dawson, Elissa   JR UNC                237.70     272.25         27  
  4 Reitsma, Daniel  SR Clemson            242.35     252.20         26  
  5 Towbin, Kylie    SO UVA                243.15     246.65         25  
  6 Targonski, Mary  JR Duke               229.45     243.50         24  
  7 Kline, Madeline  FR NCSU               233.35     228.00         23  
  8 Acquista, Andre  SR Louisville         260.75     219.95         22  

200 back

NC State’s Alexia Zevnik posted her third win of the meet, and she recorded the fastest time in the country in the process. Zevnik finished in 1:49.61, quicker than Kathleen Baker’s 1:49.83 from December. The win was Zevnik’s third of the meet after already winning the 200 IM and 100 back, and she cemented her status as favorite for the meet’s Swimming MVP award.

UNC’s Hellen Moffitt, who won the 100 fly Wednesday, was in front at the halfway point and ended up finishing second in a quick time of 1:51.64, good for sixth nationally this season. But it was NC State that extended its lead in the team race as Elise Haan finished third in 1:52.82, and Mackenzie Glover finished sixth in 1:53.72.

Virginia Tech’s Klaudia Nazieblo finished fourth in 1:53.07, and just behind was Notre Dame’s Alice Treuth (1:53.66). Also competing in the final were Louisville’s Alina Kendzior (1:54.71) and Virginia Tech’s Fiona Donnelly (1:56.07).

=========================================================================
                            === A - Final ===                            
 
  1 Zevnik, Alexia   SR NCSU              1:51.03    1:49.61&A       32  
    r:+0.62  25.98        53.92 (27.94)
        1:21.85 (27.93)     1:49.61 (27.76)
  2 Moffitt, Hellen  SR UNC               1:53.96    1:51.64 A       28  
    r:+0.75  26.05        53.71 (27.66)
        1:22.39 (28.68)     1:51.64 (29.25)
  3 Haan, Elise      SO NCSU              1:53.47    1:52.82 IV16    27  
    r:+0.67  26.03        54.23 (28.20)
        1:23.48 (29.25)     1:52.82 (29.34)
  4 Nazieblo, Klaud  JR VT                1:53.04    1:53.07 IV16    26  
    r:+1.03  26.24        54.82 (28.58)
        1:23.86 (29.04)     1:53.07 (29.21)
  5 Treuth, Alice    SO Notre Dame        1:53.86    1:53.66 IV16    25  
    r:+0.70  26.49        54.68 (28.19)
        1:23.68 (29.00)     1:53.66 (29.98)
  6 Glover, Mackenz  FR NCSU              1:54.60    1:53.72 IV16    24  
    r:+0.62  26.89        55.42 (28.53)
        1:24.35 (28.93)     1:53.72 (29.37)
  7 Kendzior, Alina  SO Louisville        1:55.19    1:54.71 B       23  
    r:+1.72  26.51        55.48 (28.97)
        1:25.12 (29.64)     1:54.71 (29.59)
  8 Donnelly, Fiona  SR VT                1:55.17    1:56.07 B       22  
    r:+0.73  26.64        55.27 (28.63)
        1:25.20 (29.93)     1:56.07 (30.87)

100 free

Louisville’s Mallory Comerford won her second race of the meet and lowered her own ACC record in the event. As she did in the prelims, Comerford pulled away from the field on the back half and finished in 46.75, faster than the 47.00 she swam in prelims. The time moved Comerford past Olivia Smoliga (46.95) as the top swimmer in the country this season.

NC State continued its final day surge, opening up a lead of more than 170 points over Virginia with four swimmers in the A-final. Courtney Caldwell took second in 47.89, and teammate Ky-Lee Perry was third in 47.97. Lotta Novalainen (48.62) finished seventh and teammate Natalie Labonge (48.85) eighth. To top it all off, the Wolfpack’s Krista Duffield won the B-final in 48.49.

UNC teammates Carol Baldwin (48.23) and Sarah Hitchens (48.36), while Louisville’s Casey Fanz was sixth in 48.43.

                          === A - Final ===                            
 
  1 Comerford, Mall  SO Louisville          47.00      46.75&A       32  
    r:+0.70  22.82        46.75 (23.93)
  2 Caldwell, Court  SO NCSU                47.89      47.89 IV16    28  
    r:+0.72  23.13        47.89 (24.76)
  3 Perry, Ky-lee    FR NCSU                48.47      47.97 IV16    27  
    r:+0.68  22.98        47.97 (24.99)
  4 Baldwin, Caroli  JR UNC                 47.96      48.23 IV16    26  
    r:+0.68  22.93        48.23 (25.30)
  5 Hitchens, Sarah  SR UNC                 48.36      48.36 IV16    25  
    r:+0.71  23.02        48.36 (25.34)
  6 Fanz, Casey      FR Louisville          48.71      48.43 IV16    24  
    r:+0.67  23.30        48.43 (25.13)
  7 Nevalainen, Lot  SR NCSU                48.12      48.62 IV16    23  
    r:+0.66  23.14        48.62 (25.48)
  8 Labonge, Natali  SR NCSU                48.62      48.85 B       22  
    r:+0.65  23.56        48.85 (25.29)

200 breast

Louisville’s Andrea Cottrell pulled ahead of a tight pack on the final 50 and finished first to win the Cardinals’ second straight event. Cottrell was fourth at the halfway point behind Pitt’s Lina Rathsack, Virginia’s Laura Simon and NC State’s Kayla Brumbaum, but the Louisville senior accelerated down the stretch and finished in 2:06.90, the fourth-fastest time in the country this year.

Simon, the reigning ACC champion and winner of the 100 breast Wednesday, ended up finishing second in 2:07.24, while Brunbaum finished third in 2:07.53. Rathsack settled for fourth in 2:09.06.

Well behind the lead pack, Florida State’s Christina Loh Yen Ling finished fifth in 2:!3.00, followed by Louisville’s Rachael Bradford-Feldman (2:13.09), Louisville’s Lauren James (2:!3.41) and Virginia’s Vivian Tafuto (2:14.48).

 === A - Final ===                            
 
  1 Cottrell, Andre  SR Louisville        2:08.64    2:06.90 A       32  
    r:+0.69  28.76      1:00.97 (32.21)
        1:33.76 (32.79)     2:06.90 (33.14)
  2 Simon, Laura     SR UVA               2:10.24    2:07.24 A       28  
    r:+0.69  28.75      1:00.41 (31.66)
        1:33.73 (33.32)     2:07.24 (33.51)
  3 Brumbaum, Kayla  SR NCSU              2:08.12    2:07.53 IV16    27  
    r:+0.69  28.82      1:00.96 (32.14)
        1:33.64 (32.68)     2:07.53 (33.89)
  4 Rathsack, Lina   JR PITT              2:10.43    2:09.06 IV16    26  
    r:+0.79  28.60      1:00.94 (32.34)
        1:34.53 (33.59)     2:09.06 (34.53)
  5 Loh Yen Ling, C  JR FSU               2:11.30    2:13.00 B       25  
    r:+0.70  29.78      1:03.37 (33.59)
        1:37.55 (34.18)     2:13.00 (35.45)
  6 Bradford-Feldma  SO Louisville        2:10.49    2:13.09 B       24  
    r:+0.74  29.43      1:02.88 (33.45)
        1:37.48 (34.60)     2:13.09 (35.61)
  7 James, Lauren    JR Louisville        2:10.74    2:13.41 B       23  
    r:+0.72  29.86      1:03.96 (34.10)
        1:38.53 (34.57)     2:13.41 (34.88)
  8 Tafuto, Vivian   SO UVA               2:11.45    2:14.48 B       22  
    r:+0.67  30.17      1:03.55 (33.38)
        1:38.51 (34.96)     2:14.48 (35.97)

200 fly

Virginia’s Kaitlyn Jones pulled away on the back half and won the 200 fly ACC title in her final individual swim at a conference meet. Jones touched in 1:53.21, well ahead of runner-up Klaudia Nazieblo. Nazieblo, a junior at Virginia Tech, finished second in 1:54.80, while Virginia’s Jen Marrkand touched out Louisville’s Grace Oglesby for third, 1:55.29 to 1:55.31.

UNC’s Sarah Koucheki, the top qualifier into the final, had the lead at the halfway point but faded to fifth, touching in 1:55.52. Another Tar Heel, Catherine Hulsey, touched sixth in 1:56.04, followed by Louisville’s Abbie Houck (1:56.25) and Notre Dame’s Nicole Smith (1:56.82).

Going into the 400 free relays, NC State had a commanding lead with 1119.5 points, while Virginia was second with 1048.5. Louisville (971), North Carolina (926) and Virginia Tech (705) rounded out the top five.

=== A - Final ===                            
 
  1 Jones, Kaitlyn   SR UVA               1:54.74    1:53.21 A       32  
    r:+0.64  25.66        54.79 (29.13)
        1:23.87 (29.08)     1:53.21 (29.34)
  2 Nazieblo, Klaud  JR VT                1:54.68    1:54.80 IV16    28  
    r:+0.76  26.02        55.13 (29.11)
        1:24.63 (29.50)     1:54.80 (30.17)
  3 Marrkand, Jenni  JR UVA               1:55.10    1:55.29 IV16    27  
    r:+0.65  25.88        55.03 (29.15)
        1:24.58 (29.55)     1:55.29 (30.71)
  4 Oglesby, Grace   FR Louisville        1:55.24    1:55.31 IV16    26  
    r:+0.68  25.89        55.01 (29.12)
        1:24.69 (29.68)     1:55.31 (30.62)
  5 Koucheki, Sarah  SR UNC               1:54.27    1:55.52 IV16    25  
    r:+0.71  25.38        54.38 (29.00)
        1:24.58 (30.20)     1:55.52 (30.94)
  6 Hulsey, Catheri  SR UNC               1:57.15    1:56.04 IV16    24  
    r:+0.78  26.43        55.88 (29.45)
        1:25.67 (29.79)     1:56.04 (30.37)
  7 Houck, Abigail   SR Louisville        1:56.82    1:56.25 IV16    23  
    r:+0.77  27.20        55.73 (28.53)
        1:25.15 (29.42)     1:56.25 (31.10)
  8 Smith, Nicole    SO Notre Dame        1:57.35    1:56.82 IV16    22  
    r:+0.77  25.58        55.28 (29.70)
        1:25.41 (30.13)     1:56.82 (31.41)

Men’s platform diving

Miami freshman David Dinsmore posted an incredible performance in the platform final, finishing with a score of 517.65, a new pool record. Well back in second was Florida State’s Dylan Grisell with a score of 391.95, and Pitt’s Dominic Giordano got on the podium with a third-place score of 377.50.

Virginia’s Bryce Shelton (369.16), Virginia Tech’s Thomas Shinholser (339.45), Florida State’s Aidan Faminoff (336.90), NC State’s James Brady (327.65) and Virginia Tech’s Mauro Castro-Silva (312.85) also finished in the championship final.

With the men’s diving events complete and the men’s swimming events going off beginning Feb. 27 back in Atlanta, Virginia Tech leads with 194 points. Florida State (153), UNC (136), Duke (113) and Miami (108) round out the top five.

 === Finals ===                              
 
  1 Dinsmore, David  FR Miami              447.15     517.65*        32  
  2 Grisell, Dylan   SR FSU                328.05     391.95         28  
  3 Giordano, Domin  SR PITT               348.65     377.50         27  
  4 Shelton, Bryce   FR UVA                325.85     369.15         26  
  5 Shinholser, Tho  JR VT                 332.15     339.45         25  
  6 Faminoff, Aidan  FR FSU                325.20     336.90         24  
  7 Brady, James     FR NCSU               325.35     327.65         23  
  8 Castro-Silva, M  JR VT                 334.40     312.85         22  

400 free relay

North Carolina State dominated the final relays to cap off the Wolfpack’s first ACC team championship since 1982. Alexia Zevnik led off in 47.38 (which would have placed second in the individual 100 free), and she was followed by Ky-Lee Perry (47.36), Krista Duffield (47.99) and Courtney Caldwell (47.58) on the way to a final time of 3:10.31, a new ACC record and the fastest time in the country.

The only time the Wolfpack faced any challenge was on the second leg, when Mallory Comerford split 46.68 to get the Louisville Cardinals into second place, which they held onto. Comerford combined with Jillian VisscherNastja Govejsek and Casey Fanz to finish in 3:12.12. North Carolina’s team of Carol BaldwinSarah HitchensBrooke Bauer and Hellen Moffit finished third in 3:13.49.

Virginia finished fourth in the final relay in 3:15.38, while Notre Dame took fifth in 3:16.60. Duke (3:16.60), Florida State (3:17.35) and Georgia Tech (3:18.41) rounded out the top eight.

1 NCSU                          3:13.35    3:10.31&A       64  
     1) Zevnik, Alexia SR             2) r:0.16 Perry, Ky-lee FR      
     3) r:0.24 Duffield, Krista JR    4) r:0.42 Caldwell, Courtney SO 
    r:+0.70  23.05        47.38 (47.38)
        1:09.53 (22.15)     1:34.74 (47.36)
        1:57.25 (22.51)     2:22.73 (47.99)
        2:45.33 (22.60)     3:10.31 (47.58)
  2 Louisville                    3:14.23    3:12.12 A       56  
     1) Visscher, Jillian FR          2) r:0.32 Comerford, Mallory SO 
     3) r:1.57 Govejsek, Nastja FR    4) r:0.34 Fanz, Casey FR        
    r:+0.65  23.19        48.41 (48.41)
        1:10.93 (22.52)     1:35.09 (46.68)
        1:58.48 (23.39)     2:24.40 (49.31)
        2:46.99 (22.59)     3:12.12 (47.72)
  3 UNC                           3:16.81    3:13.49 A       54  
     1) Baldwin, Caroline JR          2) r:0.45 Hitchens, Sarah SR    
     3) r:0.06 Bauer, Brooke FR       4) r:0.24 Moffitt, Hellen SR    
    r:+0.69  23.09        48.28 (48.28)
        1:11.07 (22.79)     1:36.42 (48.14)
        1:59.32 (22.90)     2:25.46 (49.04)
        2:48.46 (23.00)     3:13.49 (48.03)
  4 UVA                           3:15.66    3:15.38 A       52  
     1) Eddy, Eryn SO                 2) r:0.16 Cooper, Caitlin JR    
     3) r:0.30 Rauth, Shannon SR      4) r:0.21 Thomas, Ellen SR      
    r:+0.73  23.28        48.71 (48.71)
        1:11.78 (23.07)     1:37.65 (48.94)
        2:01.10 (23.45)     2:26.69 (49.04)
        2:49.88 (23.19)     3:15.38 (48.69)
  5 Notre Dame                    3:18.26    3:16.13 B       50  
     1) Dolan, Abigail FR             2) r:0.16 Mulquin, Catherine SR 
     3) r:0.24 Smith, Mary FR         4) r:0.17 Revilak, Tayde SO     
    r:+0.72  23.09        48.70 (48.70)
        1:11.95 (23.25)     1:38.21 (49.51)
        2:00.89 (22.68)     2:27.28 (49.07)
        2:49.97 (22.69)     3:16.13 (48.85)
  6 Duke                          3:16.69    3:16.60 B       48  
     1) Marsh, Alyssa FR              2) r:0.21 Goldman, Leah JR      
     3) r:0.16 Hess, Madeline SO      4) r:0.32 Aitchison, Alexndra SO
    r:+0.67  23.78        50.07 (50.07)
        1:13.39 (23.32)     1:38.51 (48.44)
        2:01.63 (23.12)     2:27.74 (49.23)
        2:50.72 (22.98)     3:16.60 (48.86)
  7 FSU                           3:20.88    3:17.35         46  
     1) Ware, Lydia SR                2) r:0.26 Turek, Michelle SO    
     3) r:0.29 Blank, Nicole FR       4) r:0.22 Lovemore, Tayla JR    
    r:+0.62  23.83        49.37 (49.37)
        1:13.40 (24.03)     1:39.47 (50.10)
        2:02.86 (23.39)     2:28.54 (49.07)
        2:51.60 (23.06)     3:17.35 (48.81)
  8 GT                            3:20.03    3:18.41         44  
     1) Wang, Iris SO                 2) r:0.28 Ruiu, Chiara SR       
     3) r:0.17 Debruyn, Kira JR       4) r:0.24 Kitchens, Kaitlin JR  
    r:+0.69  23.45        48.67 (48.67)
        1:07.99 (19.32)     1:38.69 (50.02)
        2:02.60 (23.91)     2:28.84 (50.15)
        2:52.10 (23.26)     3:18.41 (49.57)
  9 Miami                         3:22.04    3:18.69         40  
     1) Suarez, Julie JR              2) r:0.24 Viguier, Manon FR     
     3) r:0.28 Oikonomou, Iliana FR   4) r:0.24 Algee, Angela SR      
    r:+0.63  23.70        49.48 (49.48)
                            1:39.30 (49.82)
        2:02.98 (23.68)     2:29.13 (49.83)
        2:53.02 (23.89)     3:18.69 (49.56)
 10 VT                            3:19.31    3:19.70         34  
     1) Grabski, Adriana JR           2) r:0.11 Hespeler, Jessica SR  
     3) r:0.44 Donnelly, Fiona SR     4) r:0.52 Nazieblo, Klaudia JR  
    r:+0.73  23.65        49.66 (49.66)
        1:13.28 (23.62)     1:39.43 (49.77)
        2:03.39 (23.96)     2:29.82 (50.39)
        2:53.93 (24.11)     3:19.70 (49.88)
 11 PITT                          3:22.00    3:20.21         32  
     1) Murphy, Emily JR              2) r:0.51 Rathsack, Lina JR     
     3) r:1.58 Brown, Rachel SO       4) r:0.35 Daigneault, Valerie FR
    r:+0.63  23.90        50.03 (50.03)
        1:13.86 (23.83)     1:40.22 (50.19)
        2:04.26 (24.04)     2:30.70 (50.48)
        2:54.55 (23.85)     3:20.21 (49.51)
 12 BC                            3:29.95    3:30.29         30  
     1) Freeman, Erika SO             2) r:0.27 Quinn, Lauren FR      
     3) r:0.35 Kunkel, Grace SR       4) r:0.12 Dobson, Julie SO      
    r:+0.76  25.22        52.21 (52.21)
        1:17.66 (25.45)     1:45.20 (52.99)
        2:10.17 (24.97)     2:37.68 (52.48)
        3:02.32 (24.64)     3:30.29 (52.61)

Results

1 Comment

1 comment

  1. Jake Des Roches

    You should cover Leah Rogers. She’s awesome too.

Author: David Rieder

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David Rieder is the host of Swimming World TV and a staff writer. A contributor to Swimming World since 2009, he has covered NCAA Championships, U.S. Nationals, Olympic Trials and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. He is a native of Charleston, S.C., and a 2016 graduate of Duke University.

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