The final night of action in Greensboro, NC will officially crown the last of the ACC women’s champions for the season, as well as wrap up the team points battle that Virginia leads handily. The Cavs will be led by star backstroker Courtney Bartholomew, the top seed in the 200 back tonight.
In addition, FSU will look to assert sprinting dominance, holding two of the top 4 seeds including defending champ Tiffany Oliver. The 200 breast should be a wild showdown between 100 breast champ and record-breaker Emma Reaney of Notre Dame and the top seed, freshman Laura Simon of Virginia. And UNC looks for a 1-2 sweep in the 200 fly with a pair of seniors manning the inside lanes.
Tonight’s events will kick off with the 1650 free and end with platform diving and the 400 free relay.
ACC Women’s Championship Details
- Dates: Wednesday, February 19th – Saturday, February 22nd; prelims 11AM/Finals 7PM
- Location: Greensboro Aquatic Center, Greensboro, NC (Eastern Time Zone)
- Defending Champion: Virginia (6x) (results)
- Live Results: Available here
- Live Video (If available): Available here (Thurs – Sat only)
- Championship Central
The mile pitted the best distance swimmers from the top two teams in a battle of youth versus experience, with Virginia freshman Leah Smith taking on UNC senior Stephanie Peacock.
The showdown was chaotic: Smith jumped out to an early lead, but Peacock came right back to lead by the 200. The two were neck-and-neck for the next 200 yards or so before Peacock began slowly pressing her advantage, building a bigger and bigger lead. At the 1000 mark, Peacock broke her own NCAA record of 9:28.92, going 9:28.76. She led by nearly ten seconds at the 1400 mark before her splits started to taper off drastically – Peacock went from holding 28-mids to 29s, to a 30, then a 31 and finally a 33.5 on the final leg. Smith did the opposite, dropping her pace down to make up 10 seconds over 250 yards, with 7 of them coming in the final 50, to win the conference championship in 15:47.99, just off the meet record.
Peacock wound up second in 15:51.78 – the final few splits of her race are a pretty big mystery at this point, as a dropoff like that seems very atypical for a swimmer of her caliber. She potentially could have targeted the 1000 record and cruised the rest of the race, although we have no indication that was the case. In addition, the UNC Swimming and Diving twitter account said that she “fell ill” during the race; whether that means an illness, an injury or some sort of debilitating cramping is unclear at this point.
Our best wishes go out to Stephanie Peacock who fell ill during the ACC 1650-yard freestyle. Let’s hope it is a speedy recovery Steph.
— UNC Swimming/Diving (@uncswimdive) February 23, 2014
At any rate, Peacock was still able to get in 11 seconds ahead of the next competitor, Madison Jacobi of Florida State, who was 16:02.92. Virginia put four more swimmers in the top 8: that included Alison Haulsee from the early heats in 4th, Hanne Borgersen in 5th, Kelly Offutt 7th and Haley Durmer 8th. The other A finalist was Pitt’s 6th-place Kaleigh Ritter.
Update: Peacock was taken from the meet on a stretcher after her swim. UNC is unable to comment with more details due to medical confidentiality laws.
Virginia made it two straight event wins to start the day as Courtney Bartholomew went 1:52.37 to win the 200 back. She dropped a few tenths off her morning time to come within a hair of the ACC meet record, easily topping the field by two seconds.
Annie Harrison of UNC and Virginia’s Caroline Kennedy both held their spots from this morning, finishing 2nd and 3rd, respectively. Harrison was 1:54.55 while Kennedy went 1:55.09. NC State’s Hannah Freyman almost topped Kennedy, taking fourth with a 1:55.21, just a bit faster than her prelims swim.
Virginia placed three more swimmers into the A final with Kaitlyn Jones fifth, Ellen Williamson seventh and Charlotte Clarke eighth. Virginia Tech’s Holly Harper broke up that Cavalier run with a 6th place finish.
In the B final, NC State’s Alexia Zevnik held on to her 9th place spot, dropping .19 to run away from the field.
Tiffany Oliver successfully defended her conference 100 free title, going 48.54 to come back on UNC’s Lauren Earp. Oliver finished in 25.05, fastest of the field, to close the gap on Earp, who took second with a 48.67.
This was an incredibly tight heat all the way down: Emily Lloyd of Virginia went 48.82 for third, with a small break before UNC’s Hannah Lincoln topped a pair of NC State freshmen with a 49.13. Natalie Labonge and Lotta Nevalainen were the Wolfpack members, going 49.28 and 49.33, respectively.
FSU’s other sprinter, Kaitlyn Dressel, ended up 7th, just ahead of UNC’s Danielle Silverling.
There had been speculation much of the day about the NCAA 200 breast record going down, as record-holder Breeja Larson came dangerously close to it in SEC prelims this morning. But forgotten in that speculation was Notre Dame junior Emma Reaney, who got right down near the record herself back in December. She cruised prelims, taking the second seed, but at finals, Reaney showed why she’s a swimmer who shouldn’t be lost in the shuffle.
The Irish junior went 2:04.34 to shatter Larson’s American, U.S. Open and NCAA record, crushing a tough field by 3 seconds. Now the fastest breaststroker in American history, Reaney will now look forward to an NCAA battle with Larson herself in a tantalizing race that should already have swimming fans drooling.
Top seed Laura Simon went 2:07.68 for Virginia, a best-time for the freshman and also an NCAA A cut. Virginia Tech’s Weronika Paluszek was just a blink behind, going 2:07.81 for an A cut of her own.
Duke’s Christine Wixted led the second wave of swimmers, going 2:12.64 for fourth. UNC’s Katherine Rechsteiner, FSU’s Morgan Stephenson, UNC’s Abby Fisher and Duke’s Emily Barber rounded out the rest of the field.
Sitting solidly second in the meet standings, the University of North Carolina had a big-time moment of dominance in the 200 fly, going 1-2 with a pair of seniors. Meredith Hoover went 1:55.01 to pick up the win, byoued by her fast first 100. Her teammate Cari Blalock swam an opposite strategy, back-halfing her race to come from behind and touch out Florida State’s Chelsea Britt for second place 1:55.42 to 1:55.51.
Notre Dame’s Bridget Casey finished fourth before another UNC duo came in: this time it was sophomore Emma Nunn and freshman Sarah Koucheki, the youngsters who will be asked to fill Hoover’s and Blalock’s shoes in the event next season.
Virginia grabbed the final two spots in the heat, with Shaun Casey seventh and Alison Haulsee eighth.
Florida State’s Katrina Young triumphed on the platform, scoring 364.70 points to leave the rest of the field behind.
The battle for second was outstanding, with Miami’s Cheyenne Cousineau nipping Kalyea Arnett of Virginia Tech by just .1 points for the runner-up position.
Miami’s Kara McCormack took fourth, topping her own Virginia Tech foe Kelli Stockton by just over four points.
400 Freestyle Relay
North Carolina rivals dueled for the final conference title of the night, with UNC eventually overcoming NC State 3:14.39 to 3:14.96. The teams were actually tied at the 100 mark, with leadoff swimmers Lauren Earp and Natalie Labonge both going exactly 48.93.
But the Tar Heels were just more consistent, with Hannah Lincoln splitting 48.22, Allyn Hardesty 48.77 and Danielle Silverling 48.47.
Lotta Nevalainen had the fastest split for NC State, going 48.34 on the third leg.
FSU came in third in 3:15.76, getting an early lead on Tiffany Oliver‘s 48.75 leadoff leg.Virginia wound up fourth in closing out their 7th straight team championship.
Virginia ran away with things in the team points, rolling to their seventh consecutive ACC title. North Carolina was a solid second, with FSU just topping NC State to take third.
1. Virginia 1433
2. North Carolina 1205
3. Florida State 972
4. NC State 950
5. Virginia Tech 914
6. Notre Dame 802
7. Duke 592
8. Pittsburgh 474
9. Miami (FL) 470
10. Georgia Tech 311
11. Boston College 162
12. Clemson 66