2019 Women’s ACC Championships Fan Guide: Can UVA Do It Again?

by Spencer Penland 6

February 15th, 2019 ACC, College, News, Previews & Recaps

2019 ACC WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIPS

The women’s ACC Championships is set to kick off next Wednesday, February 20th, at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.

Virginia returned to the top of the ACC last year after a thrilling team performance all the way through the meet. This year, things are incredibly tight at the top, without a clear favorite postioned to take the meet. That being said, we are surely in for a really exciting few days of swimming and diving. This year we’ll see ACC stars such as Mallory Comerford, Elise Haan, Sophie Cattermole, and Eryn Eddy compete at their last conference championships.

After graduating a large class of seniors last year, the ACC has plenty of freshman talent that will be huge when it comes to the team battle. The ACC has become possibly the fastest breaststroke conference in the NCAA, thanks in large part to this freshmen class.

SCHEDULE

Wednesday:

  • 200 Medley Relay
  • Women’s 1-meter diving
  • 800 Free Relay
  • Men’s 3-meter diving

Thursday:

  • 500 Free
  • 200 IM
  • 50 Free
  • Men’s 1-meter diving
  • 200 Free Relay

Friday:

  • 400 IM
  • 100 Fly
  • 200 Free
  • 100 Breast
  • 100 Back
  • Women’s 3-meter diving
  • 400 Medley Relay

Saturday:

  • 1650 Free
  • Women’s platform diving
  • 200 Back
  • 100 Free
  • 200 Breast
  • 200 Fly
  • Men’s platform diving
  • 400 Free Relay

STARS

Boston CollegeVictoria Lin (Junior butterflyer), Taylor Covington (Junior breaststroker) – BC has many events where a bunch of their swimmers are all packed together on the preliminary psych sheet. If a swimer or two can break out in each event, they’ll start accumulating points quickly.

DukeEasop Lee (freshman IM’er/freestyler), Melissa Pish (freshman middle-distance freestyler), Alyssa Marsh (junior sprint freestyler/flyer/backstroker), Maddie Hess (senior sprint freestyler/backstroker), Kylie Jordan (junior IM’er/flyer) – The Blue Devils have performed exceptionally coming out of Winter Break, even setting a few school records earlier in February. Veterans Hess, Marsh, and Jordan are set for some competitive A finals in the sprint stroke events. The freshmen duo of Pish and Lee are seeded right outside the top 8 in the 500, while Pish is seeded 6th in the 200 free, and Lee 9th in the 400 IM. Duke also has a solid diving squad and are competitive in all 5 relays, especially in the 2 sprint free relays, where they are seeded 3rd in both.

Florida StateLaura Jensen (freshman freestyler), Ida Hulkko freshman breaststroker), Nina Kucheran (freshman breaststroker), Molly Carlson (junior diver) – The Seminoles have an impressive breaststroke group, possibly the best in the conference, between freshmen Hulkko and Kucheran (both seeded in the top 6 in the 100), and senior Natalie Purnell (seeded just outside the top 8). Good diving and relays leave FSU in a good place heading into ACCs.

Georgia TechFlorina Ilie (senior breaststroker), Morgan Johnson (freshman distance freestyler), Haibing Wang (senior sprint freestyler), Emily Ilgenfritz (junior distance freestyler) – Ilie is a consistent threat in breast events, and Wang is set up nicely for sprint points. Ilgenfrtiz gained a new freshman to make a solid distance duo for GT.

LouisvilleMallory Comerford (senior freestyler/flyer), Sophie Cattermole (senior distance freestyler), Alina Kendzior (seniornior backstroker/IMer), Arina Openysheva (senior sprint freestyler), Mariia Astashkina (sophomore breaststroker), Grace Oglesby (junior flyer/IM’er) – With likely one of the best senior classes in the NCAA, let alone the ACC, this team is set to be spearheaded by veterans. Comerford is virtually a shoo-in for whatever events she ends up swimming, while Cattermole, Astashkina, and Oglesby are in the hunt for titles as well. Louisville has great relays up and down, and has the benefit of not having graduated many points from last year’s 2nd place finish.

MiamiManon Viguier (junior middle-distance freestyler), Maria Argolis Fernandez (freshman IM’er) – Viguier is leading the sprint group again this year, and comes into this meet with competitive 50 and 100 times. Fernandez is looking like a threat for scoring in both IM races.

North CarolinaGrace Countie (freshman sprint freestyler/backstroker), Caroline Hauder (sophomore breaststroker), Brook Bauer (junior sprint freestyler), Maddie Smith (sophomore sprint freestyler) – Countie has provided excellent speed to a very quick UNC sprint group, and is a set for a high finish in the 100 back. They are set to be some of the top competitors in the free relays too.

NC StateKy-lee Perry (junior sprint freestyler), Kylee Alons (freshman backstroker/butterflier), Sophie Hansson (freshman breaststroker), Julia Poole (sophomore IM’er), Elise Haan (senior backstroker) – In the hunt for the team title yet again, NC State has a lethal group of freshmen to help the cause. Ky-Lee Perry has been fierce in-season this year, and should bring in huge sprint points for the Wolfpack. Haan will be joined in the backstroke vents by freshman Alons, where we could easily see both of them in the 200 back A final. Alons is also a threat in the 200 fly, where she is seeded 2nd. Hansson is part of this NCAA freshmen class’ unreal breaststroke talent, and could take a breast title or two of her own. Julia Poole is looking to nab a couple Im titles of her own. Emma Muzzy is also the fastest 200 backstroker in the ACC this season.

Notre DameCarly Quast (sophomore backstroker/sprint freestyler), Alice Treuth (senior backstroker), Nikki Smith (senior IM/flyer), Abbie Dolan (junior freestyler), Meaghan O’Donnell (senior breaststroker/IM’er), Lindsay Stone (sophomore distance freestyler)– The Fighting Irish have had a great season thus far, and if they ride that wave into ACCs, they will outperform last year easily. Stone has been on fire in the distance events, and could very well take the title in the mile. Dolan is primarily a threat in the 200 free, where she is looking at a possible top 3 finish. ND has put together some really good relays so far this season, and could really surprise some people.

Pitt – Valerie Daigneault (junior backstroker), Sarah Giamber (junior distance freestyler) – Pitt has some freshmen that could really make an impact this year. Giamber is right on the edge of scoring big points, and Daigneault is set up to appear in a few A finals.

VirginiaEryn Eddy (senior sprinter), Erin Earley (sophomore backstroker/IM’er/middle-distance freestyler), Megan Moroney (junior sprint freestyler/backstroker), Morgan Hill (junior sprint freestyler), Mary Christensen (freshman breaststroker) – Despite some heavy losses from graduation, UVA’s sprint core is still very strong. They might not score quite the ridiculous amount of freestyle points that they did last year, but they will make up for it through some new stroke speed. Christensen is a top 3 threat in both breaststrokes.

Virginia Tech –  Joelle Vereb (sophomore sprinter), Reka Gyorgy (junior IM’er) – Gyorgy will be huge for the team in the IMs, and could make the A final in the 200 back. Vereb is providing some good speed to the VT sprint group.

 

Showdowns

200 IM

Grace Oglesby, Julia Poole, and Caroline Hauder are among the top competitors in what should be a very interesting race to watch. It will likely take a 1:55 at the slowest to win this year, and there are 19 swimmers under 2:00 on the initial psych sheet.

50 FREE

Lots of ACC sprint talent graduated last year, but the sprint core in the 50 is still very fast. If Comerford swims, she’ll be challenged by Ky-Lee Perry, who is the only other ACC swimmer to have broken 22 seconds this season. It takes 22.38 to round out the top 8 seeds, marking what should be a tight battle.

100 BREAST

It might literally be more a fight to just make the A final in the 100 breast than it ultimately will be to win. There is so much breaststroke talent at this meet, and this year, much of it is made up of freshman. Sophie Hansson is looking like the favorite heading into the meet, but Ida Hulkko and Mariia Astashkina are also sub-minute 100 breaststrokers so far this season.

200 BACK

Emma Muzzy, an NC State freshman, looks to be the favorite going in, but there’s a group 4 swimmers behind her who are all 1:53 on the psych sheet. Paige Madden, who is seeded 2nd, won the event last year in 1:51.81, and there is an excellent chance it will take an even faster win to claim the title this year. Elise Haan will be looking to nab the title in this, her season season, after coming in 2nd last year.

400 free relay

The last event of the meet is always an exciting one, where we would expect UVA, Louisville, and NC State to be battling it out. Duke has also inserted itself into the conversation, however, nailing down a 3rd place seed going into the meet.

SELECTIONS

There are real arguments to be made for putting any of the top 3 teams (Louisville, Virginia, NC State) in any order. Of course, UVA made its run for the title last year, and if the taper holds like it did last year, they could easily win the meet again. NC State has an unreal freshmen class, and if they perform close to where they are on the psych sheet, they have a real shot as well. Ultimately, I have decided to put Louisville as #1, simply for the reason that they only lost 41 of their 1149.5 points from last year, by far the least of any team. Keep in mind, though, going into this meet it is essentially a toss-up.

I expect Notre Dame and Duke to be in a tight battle for that 4th place finish. Both teams have enough depth that points should be flowing in up and down their rosters, and that’s what sets them apart from the rest of the field below them. From there on, I see a good battle for 6th between UNC, Virginia Tech, and Florida State, each of whom have spots on their rosters where they are very strong.

I’m providing my selections first, and then the official Swimulator projections below that (you can view the full ACC Swimulator projections here):

  1. Louisville
  2. Virginia
  3. NC State
  4. Notre Dame
  5. Duke
  6. Florida State
  7. North Carolina
  8. Virginia Tech
  9. Pitt
  10. Georgia Tech
  11. Miami
  12. Boston College

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Swimmerj

I would be terrified to anchor any relay with Comerford chasing me, all my love to my lady Cards❤️

Pack Mack

Comerford is great but that’s why you have trained since September. It’s fun to compete with the best. If you are terrified you have already lost. Losing mentality. Far better to enjoy the experience and take the opportunity to do your best. Either way there will be a good story to your kids.

Mike

I disagree that the ACC is the best breaststroke conference in the country. Do you remember what happened in the breaststroke during the ACC vs BIG challenge?? BIG went Lily King first, Lindsey Kozelsky second, and Jing En Phee third. BIG also has Miranda Tucker. Maybe in the future the ACC will be the best in the breaststroke conference, but certainly not now.

SaintJoseph

In two letters NO

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