- Dates: Wednesday, February 27th – Saturday, March 2nd; Prelims at 11 AM, Finals 7PM (except for day one, when they’re at 6PM
- Location: Greensboro Aquatic Center, N.C. (Eastern Time Zone)
- Defending Champion: Virginia (results)
- Live Results: Available.
- Live Video (If available): theacc.com/ESPN3.com
- Championship Central
Just like at the ACC women’s championship last week, the Virginia men come in on a 5-straight title-winning streak. Unlike the women’s meet, however, number six is not so much of a lock for the Cavalier men. Last year, they got an unexpected scare from Virginia Tech at this meet, with just 32 points separating the two.
In fact, this was one of the tightest championship meets in the country last year. With 3rd-place North Carolina and 4th-place Florida State, the top four teams were separated by only 82.5 points, whereas most conference meets have bigger gaps than that just between first and second.
What will happen this season is anyone’s guess. Virginia, Virginia Tech, and UNC all had a lot of graduations; especially the Tar Heels. Florida State had a few, but nearly to the same extent.
All of the top teams have great hopes in diving; this is the first time in a while we can say that about Virginia.
Maryland and Clemson’s departure won’t have a huge impact on the overall scoring, but one could argue it will help Virginia Tech slightly more than everyone else, because Virginia Tech is very deep in events that Clemson swimmers won (like the 200 back, for example). It will also benefit the deep sprint group of Florida State.
Boston College – Andrew Stranick (sophomore breaststroker), Sean Murphy (junior breaststroker), Nick Henze (sophomore freestyler), Jimmy Boretti (senior backstroker) – BC has a very good breaststroking group this season
Duke – Nick McCrory (junior diver), Ben Hwang (senior sprinter), Hunter Knight (junior breaststroker), Evan Schwartz (senior breaststroker) – McCrory won the two NCAA platform titles before his redshirt and last year an Olympic bronze medal. If healthy, he’s nearly unbeatable.
Florida State – Jared Pike (junior breaststroker), Connor Knight (sophomore butterflier), Paul Murray (junior sprinter), Mark Weber (senior sprinter), Trice Bailey (senior sprinter) – With their new mid-year addition, there is a very good chance that the Seminoles sweep the four shorter relays.
Georgia Tech – Andrew Kosic (sophomore sprinter/backstroker), Nico van Duijn (sophomore butterflier), Matthew Vaughan (senior breaststroker), Brandon Makinson (senior diver) – this is a top-heavy team, but that top is very, very good. Expect the Jackets to have a few impressive relays.
Miami – Sam Dorman (junior diver), Zac Nees (senior diver), Tanner Wilfong (freshman diver) – Well, that’s the whole of the roster: 3 divers. They happen to be three phenomenal divers, however; probably not quite enough there to clip Boston College for 8th place, but the ‘Canes can certainly play spoiler in this meet.
North Carolina – Nic Graesser (freshman backstroker), Brett Nagle (senior distance freestyler), JT Stilley (junior freestyler), Tom Luchsinger (senior butterflier) – Injuries have hurt the Tar Heels this year; they’ve still got some very good pieces, but sprinters need to step up at this meet.
North Carolina State – Ian Bishop (junior breaststroker), Jonathan Boffa (junior freestyler), Louis Wojciechowski (freshman freestyler), Barrett Miesfeld (junior butterflier) – The freshman Wojciechowski became a big-time water polo player in high school after moving from Phoenix to California, but is settling in well as exclusively a swimmer. No surprise: he’s the younger brother of Michigan star John.
Virginia – Taylor Grey (junior breaststroker/IM’er), David Ingraham (sophomore IM’er), Tom Barrett (senior freestyler), Parker Camp (junior freestyler/backstroker) – Virginia’s diving crew is improving a lot, but they still only threw two out at this meet. Their middle-distance freestylers are still the best in the conference.
Virginia Tech – Zach McGinnis (senior backstroker/sprinter), Joe Bonk (freshman sprinter), Greg Mahon (senior butterflier/IM’er), Adam Skipper (senior breaststroker) – This team had some notable graduations, but they still might sweep the medley relays with how well Mcginnis has been swimming.
200 medley relay – Last year, Duke got a 19.2 anchor from Ben Hwang to almost run-down Virginia Tech in this 200 medley relay. This season, the Hokies should again be at the top of the pile, but it will be Florida State trying to run them down. None of the members of this Florida State relay that placed 6th at last year’s meet were seniors, but we still might see three new swimmers. Sophomore Connor Knight leads the conference in the 100 fly, Jared Pike sits second in the 100 breast, and Pawel Sankovich, the mid-season addition from overseas, gives them one of the best sprint backstrokers in the conference as well. This year, it will probably be Paul Murray or Mark Weber from Florida State trying to run down the Virginia Tech anchor: freshman Joe Bonk. Could be almost an identical scenario to what we saw last season.
100 fly – There are 6 swimmers seeded with times of between 47 and 48 seconds in this 100 fly, and the lowest seeded of those 6 is Virginia Tech’s Greg Mahon: the defending champion. Look out for NC State’s Barrett Miesfeld, who like a lot of the NC State team has been better in January and February than he was at the typical mid-season November or December. Georgia Tech’s Nico van Duijn is really settling into yards swimming after breaking the Swiss National Record in the 100 fly this summer too. Those three are my favorites in this race, with of course some deference to Connor Knight, the conference’s leader this year.
200 freestyle – This could be a make-or-break event if the team battle again comes down to Virginia Tech vs. Virginia. Last year, the latter outscored the former 53-7 in the race, including a 1-2-3 from the Cavaliers. Virginia put a similar thumping on the Hokies in the 500 free as well. Even with David Karasek’s graduation, it doesn’t look like that is going to change much this season, with Tom Barrett and Parker Camp coming in as big favorites to go 1-2. The best thing that could happen for VaTech in this race would be if their foes from NC State, where head coach Braden Holloway, can come in and break up any kind of a 3-A-final, 2-B-final, 60+ point dream scenario for Virginia.
Keep in mind that diving has already gone off at this meet; that means the Virginia Tech men have already jumped out to a big lead ahead of the whole field, including doubling-up on Virginia. Even with an improved diving crew, that’s roughly the same deficit as Virginia had last season.
Nick McCrory swept the board titles for Duke to leave them in 2nd already; 91 points is already a third of their total for the whole meet last year.
1. Virginia Tech 138
2. Duke University 91
3. Florida State University 85
4. Virginia, University of 65
5. North Carolina State Universit 39
6. University of North Carolina 22
7. University of Miami (Fl) 13
8. Georgia Institute of Technolog 11
Virginia is still the deepest team in the ACC. However, unlike the women’s side, there’s a lot of really good teams now that collectively could break-up that depth. Florida State will run the sprints, breaststroke scoring will be pretty well spread out, Florida State and Virginia Tech should share the bulk of the butterfly scoring. Virginia still should get a big scoring edge from the longer freestyles and the backstrokes, though Florida State could make a dent in the latter depth-wise. Virginia Tech and UNC, this year, will make some noise in the IM’s: especially the 400.
After watching the women’s meet, and how untapered they were (we don’t know for sure if the Virginia men will do the same), I think that the streak ends.
1. Virginia Tech
3. Florida State
4. North Carolina
5. North Carolina State
6. Georgia Tech
8. Boston College
9. Miami (Divers)