2019 ACC Men’s Co-MVP Caio Pumputis Talks Record-Breaking Meet (Video)

2019 ACC MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIPS

  • When: Wednesday, February 27th to Saturday, March 2nd
  • Where: Greensboro Aquatics Center, Greensboro, NC
  • Champion: NC State Wolfpack
  • Live Results: here
  • Championship Central

Georgia Tech Sophomore Caio Pumputis, originally from Brazil, had a breakthrough meet at the 2019 ACC Men’s Swimming and Diving Championship. Pumputis won both the 200 breaststroke (1:51.56) and 200 IM (1:41.28), and placed 2nd in the 100 breaststroke (52.07). Pumputis set a new ACC Conference Record in the 200 breaststroke and came in below the anticipated NCAA invite times in all three events.

At the conclusion of the meet Saturday, Pumputis was awarded Co-MVP honors, alongside NC State’s Coleman Stewart, who also won two individual titles (100 and 200 backstroke), and placed 2nd in his third individual event (100 fly). This marks only second time in ACC history that Co-MVPs have been named for the Men’s Championship.

Reported by Robert Gibbs.

200 BREAST – FINALS

  • Meet Record – Brandon Fiala, Virginia Tech, 1:52.39 – 2017
  • ACC Record – Brandon Fiala, Virginia Tech, 1:52.39 – 2017
  • Estimated NCAA Invite Time – 1:54.28
  1. Caio Pumputis (Georgia Tech) – 1:51.46
  2. Evgenii Somov (Louisville) – 1:53.20
  3. Josh Bottleberghe (Notre Dame) – 1:53.90

Georgia Tech’s Caio Pumputis and Louisville’s Evgenii Somov found themselves taking the top two spots in this event for the 2nd year in a row, but this time the finishes were reversed, as Pumputis stormed out hard and never let up. He touched first in 1:51.46, lowering the meet and ACC record by almost a second.

Note: Pumputis had already set the conference record earlier in the season when swam a 1:52.38 at the Georgia Tech Invite. Apparently that change did not make its way into the ACC’s system. 

Notre Dame’s Josh Bottleberghe was in 6th at the 150 mark, but he brought it home in 29.22, the fastest final split in the field, to take 3rd in 1:53.90.

Virginia got a 4/6/7 finish from Keefer BarnumMatthew Otto, and Casey Storch, which now puts them 1.5 points ahead of Louisville with two events to go. Notably, Otto had just competed in the final heat of the 1650 just over an hour before.

100 BREAST

  • Meet Record – Peter Kropp, Duke, 51.46 – 2017
  • ACC Record – Brandon Fiala, Virginia Tech, 51.30
  • Estimated NCAA Invite Time – 52.62
  1. Evgenii Somov (Louisville) – 51.90
  2. Caio Pumputis (Georgia Tech) – 52.07
  3. Keefer Barnum (Virginia) – 52.64

Louisville sophomore Evgenii Somov successfully defended his title in this event. Somov split 24.30 going out, tying him with UNC’s Sterling Smith. Georgia Tech’s Caio Pumputis was only 0.03s behind both men. Smith faded, but Somov and Pumputis battled almost stroke-for-stroke the whole way, with Somov once against just out splitting Pumputis on the back half, 27.60 to 27.74, giving Somov the victory, 51.90 to 52.07.

It was an incredibly tight battle for 3rd place, with just 0.28s separating 3rd-7th. Virginia’s Keefer Barnum got his hand on the wall first, a tenth of a second ahead of NC State’s Daniel Graber.

200 IM FINALS

  • Meet Record – Andreas Vazaois, NC State, 2018 – 1:41.25
  • ACC Record – Andreas Vazaois, NC State, 2018 – 1:39.98
  • Estimated NCAA Invite Time – 1:43.88
  1. Caio Pumputis (Georgia Tech) – 1:41.28
  2. Andreas Vazaois (NC State) – 1:41.30
  3. Norbert Szabo (Virginia Tech) – 1:43.17

UVA’s Bryce Keblish took it out fast and led after the fly leg, but NC State’s Andreas Vazaois, the two-time ACC defending champion, quickly caught and passed Keblish by the halfway point. Vazaois continued to build his lead during the breaststroke leg, as he was the only man in the field to split under 29.0, but Pumputis did just enough to stay with him.

The two men flipped nearly together at the final wall, and at first it looked like Vazaois would hang on, but Pumputis looked determined to hang tough, put his head down for the last few strokes, and with a final lunge, touched out Vazaois by 0.02s. Both men were just hundredths of a second off of Vazaois’s meet record from last year.

Virginia Tech’s Norbert Szabo was actually in 2nd place after backstroke, he was the only man besides the two eventual winners to go under 30 on the breast leg, and had built enough of a lead over the rest of the field by that point that he was able to secure 3rd, touching in 1:43.17.

Final Team Scores:

1. North Carolina State University 1396.5
2. Louisville, University of 1135.5
3. Virginia, University of 1108
4. VA Tech 820.5
5. Florida State University 819
6. Notre Dame, University of 687
7. Duke University 624
8. Georgia Institute of Technology 550
9. Pittsburgh, University of 508
10. North Carolina, University of, 388.5
11. University of Miami (Florida) 161
12. Boston College

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Real
2 years ago

How do they decide MVP? I think Kanoa from Florida State deserved it.

2 Cents
Reply to  Real
2 years ago

Mostly by points scored, and if there is no clear winner then relays and record breaking swims are usually considered. Kanoa was 17th in the 50, grated his time was fast in that heat, but you can’t give it to someone who won 2 events and finished 17th in the other. There were a handful of other who scored more than that. Only reason Casey wasn’t the winner was because the other 2 (who did win) broke records and also had 2 1st and a 2nd.

Anonymous
2 years ago

Outstanding athlete. Any idea if he will swim the 4IM or 100 Breast at NCAAs? Unusual that he can do both, not many swimmers have that kind of rage!

2 Cents
Reply to  Anonymous
2 years ago

Haha, I feel too many have that amount of rage or more. Range, ehh probably less, as I would argue 400IM and 100 breast are very close to each other as far as most good 400IMers are very good in the breast events. How about doing the 1650 in the final heat and then being in the 200 Breast final? That shows a bit more distance range, or holding the NCAA record in the 100 Free, Fly and 200IM, while being 3rd fastest ever in 100 Breast shows range in stroke ability.

In short, why choose? Do both. Show the range, because we do know he has it.

PS, I was not discrediting his range, just saying that… Read more »

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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