For anybody who might have missed it, peel through the results of the men’s 200 free relay between Virginia and Duke from this weekend in Durham, and you might notice some unfamiliar names on the Cavaliers’ ‘E’ relay.
Carl Buergler, Colby Shinholser, Jordan Sacks, and JB Kolod combined for a 1:41.41 (averaging 25.3′s). In normal circumstances, that would be a laughable time for a major Division I program; in these circumstances chalk me up as impressed. That’s because those four are all divers. The splits included a 23.42 leadoff from Carl Buergler and a 24.54 anchor from JB Kolod. (Shinholser’s goggles fell off, and he still split a 26).
For those who have never tried putting their divers in a race (though, we’ll see it from time-to-time in intrasquad meets where points and lane-fillers are at a premium), those are pretty impressive times. Especially Buergler’s 23.42.
Kolod himself could (should) be an All-American on the boards, and his obvious athleticism will play a factor in that. I swam for two years with a swimmer/diver in high school, though at that point his swimming took off to the point where it was no longer worth burning an individual event on diving. I coach a diver who this year has begun coming to swim practice and has swum a few races for us as well (and scored a few points, at that).
For anyone who would brush this off as unimpressive, don’t underestimate the value of divers stepping up like this on the psyche of a team. That’s the sort of thing that can really build the “team-first” mentality and show unification between two groups that can sometimes be at odds.
Virginia would win the dual meet 153-140 after exhibitioning the last several races.