2020 WOMEN’S ACC SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
- When: Wednesday, February 19th to Saturday, February 22nd | Prelims 10:00 am | Finals 6:00 pm (1650 prelims Saturday at 4:00 pm)
- Where: Greensboro Aquatic Center, Greensboro, North Carolina (Eastern Time Zone)
- Defending Champion: North Carolina State University (NC State) (1x) (results)
- Streaming: ACC Network
- Championship Central: Here
- Detailed Timeline: Here
- Psych Sheets: Here
- Live Results
For 12 consecutive years, the University of Virginia women’s swimming and diving program has placed either first or second at the ACC Championships. In fact, 10 of those 12 years the Cavaliers were champions, and their 9-year win streak was stopped just short of a tenth-consecutive victory in 2017 when NC State took the title. UVA took the trophy back in 2018, but in 2019 the Wolfpack came out on top once again.
While NC State lost a couple of major contributors last season such as Elise Haan and Tamila Holub, the Wolfpack gained Katharine Berkoff who will play a pivotal role in this year’s ACC and NCAA Championships for NC State.
Virginia, meanwhile, adds Kate Douglass, who has already broken three program records this season and is arguably the fastest and most well-rounded sprinter in the entire ACC, which will contribute immensely to UVA’s point potential as Douglass might not only win three individual events but could be the factor that puts four of UVA’s five relays on the top of the podium.
Perhaps no other team in the ACC has gone through the changes the University of North Carolina has: in 2019, former-Head Coach Rich DeSelm announced his resignation and made public his cancer diagnosis. In May, UNC hired Olympian Mark Gangloff to lead both its women’s and men’s swimming & diving programs, making this Gangloff’s first ACC Championships as Head Coach.
Louisville suffered perhaps the greatest individual loss of any team in the ACC as they no longer have star Mallory Comerford on the college team. Comerford won three individual titles at the 2019 ACC Championships and was instrumental on four separate relays, each of which placed top-2 with the 400 free relay taking home gold for Louisville. Though Louisville still boasts significant firepower and shouldn’t slide from third place, their relays–especially the 800 freestyle–are rather diminished without Comerford.
Between NC State and Virginia there really isn’t room for anybody else to be in the conversation for the team title.
200 Medley Relay
800 Free Relay
200 Individual Medley
200 Freestyle Relay
400 Individual Medley
400 Medley Relay
Women’s Platform Diving
400 Freestyle Relay
Kate Douglass (breast/fly/IM/sprint free), Alexis Wenger (sophomore, breaststroke), Abby Richter (junior, IM/fly/back), Julia Menkhaus (sophomore, fly/back/IM), Morgan Hill (senior, sprint free/fly), Paige Madden (junior, free/back), Megan Moroney (senior, back/free), Emma Seiberlich (junior, back/fly/free), Caroline Gmelich (junior, back/fly).
The University of Virginia is loaded with young talent that began impacting NCAA rankings as soon as competitions began. Freshman Kate Douglass has the top time in the NCAA in the 200 breaststroke, and the only ‘A’ time achieved so far this season in the event, with a 2:06.19 from the Tennessee Invite. Douglass also holds the 11th-fastest time in the NCAA in the 100 breast with a 59.53, just behind teammate Alexis Wenger who sits at 10th with a 59.41. Douglass is also ranked 4th in the NCAA and first in the ACC in the 100 fly (50.30) and 2nd in the nation in the 200 IM (1:52.84) and 1st in the ACC. Junior Abby Richter and sophomore Julia Menkhaus each add depth in the IMs, butterfly, and backstroke. In 2019, Richter placed 2nd in the 200 IM, shaving over a second from her prelims time in the process, and went on to place 8th in the 200 back and 10th in the 100 back. Menkhaus, who was a freshman in 2019, placed 4th in the 200 fly and was a ‘B’ finalist in both the 200 IM (13th) and 100 back (14th).
While Douglass will likely take on some combination of the 100 butterfly, 100 breastroke, 200 breaststroke, and 200 IM at the ACC Championships, she will also likely play a key role on UVA’s 200 and 400 freestyle relays. Though we are unlikely to see Douglass individually in the sprint freestyles, teammate Morgan Hill is the fastest in the conference in the 50 and 100 freestyles. Paige Madden extends Virginia’s range into the 200, 500, and mile, and strengthens the 800 freestyle relay with her individual best time of 1:43.03 in the 200 free. Madden currently holds the top times in the conference in both the 200 backstroke and the mile, so she and her coaches will have to decide from which race the team most needs the points.
In 2019, UVA did not have a single swimmer score in the mile. However, if Maddie Donohoe, who is currently ranked 4th in the ACC in the mile, swims the event and maintains a top-8 placing Madden may not be needed.
In 2019, Madden was one of four women from UVA to final in the 200 back, taking 4th behind teammates Megan Moroney (2nd) and Emma Seiberlich (3rd), each of whom return this season. Moroney will also be a major force on UVA’s 400 and 800 freestyle relays and could be utilized to lead off the 400 medley relay, though she was left off the 400 medley in 2019. Another possible medley lead-off Caroline Gmelich, who currently ranks 3rd in the ACC in the 100 backstroke. Gmelich has one of the fastest 50 backstrokes in the ACC and will also likely swim the 200 medley relay.
Katharine Berkoff (freshman, back/free/IM), Sophie Hansson (sophomore, breast/IM), Kay Foley (freshman, distance free), Abby Kriegler (freshman, distance free/IM), Heather Maccausland (freshman, breaststroke), Kate Moore (junior, distance free/back), Makayla Sargent (senior, distance free/IM), Ky-lee Perry (senior, sprint free), Kylee Alons (sophomore, sprint free/back/fly), Sirena Rowe (junior, sprint free/fly), Emma Muzzy (sophomore, back/IM), Julia Poole (junior, IM)
The NC State Wolfpack took down Virginia at the 2019 ACC Championships but will be hard-pressed to repeat at champions in 2019, though NC State still carries major firepower and has added freshman Katharine Berkoff, Kay Foley, Abby Kriegler, and Heather Maccausland to the mix, each of whom stands to score individually at ACCs, with Berkoff holding top-3 times in both the 100 and 200 backstrokes, plus the 8th-fastest time this season in the conference in the 500. Berkoff’s significance to NC State’s relays cannot be downplayed either as she must step in to fill the shoes of Elise Haan on the 200 and 400 medley relays, as well as the 800 free relay.
2019 ACC breaststroke record-setter Sophie Hansson will be looking to defend her titles in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes, and possibly help carry NC State to two more repeat victories in the 200 and 400 medley relays. Hansson also swam on NC State’s champion 200 freestyle relay and runner-up 400 freestyle relay in 2019, where she will play a vital role again for the Wolfpack.
Kate Moore and Makayla Sargent are both ACC veterans capable of capturing individual titles this year. Moore and Sargent finished one-two, respectively, in the 400 IM in 2019 at ACCs, and Sargent was also 3rd in the 1650 behind teammates Tamila Holub, who is absent from NC State’s roster this season, and Anna Jahns who graduated in 2019. Emma Muzzy and Moore will be a strong force in the 200 backstroke as Muzzy returns as the defending champion and Moore last year’s 5th-place finisher. Muzzy, alongside Poole and Sargent, will be a major threat in the individual medleys, events where NC State picked up major points in 2019.
Ky-lee Perry, Kylee Alons, and Sirena Rowe bring the heat in the sprints for NC State and will contribute greatly to the sprint relays. Perry, Alons, Rowe, Hansson, and Berkoff are all contenders for the 200 and 400 medley and freestyle relays, and Perry, Alons, and Rowe may all once again feature in the finals of the 50 freestyle individually.
Grace Oglesby (senior, fly/IM), Sophie Cattermole (senior, distance free/IM), Arina Openshyeva (junior, sprint free), Maria Eduarda Sumida (sophomore, distance free/IM), Mariia Astashkina (junior, breast/IM), Morgan Friesen (junior, breast/IM), Kaylee Wheeler (sophomore, breast), Casey Fanz (senior, sprint free), Alena Kraus (sophomore, free/fly).
Grace Oglesby returns as Louisville’s top 100/200 butterflyer and 200 IMer, and will again play a vital role on Louisville’s medley relays. Sophie Cattermole is Louisville’s top distance freestyler and will also contribute to the 800 free relay. Arina Openshyeva currently stands as Louisville’s top 200 freestyler who could also score top-8 in the 100 and top-16 in the 500. Like Cattermole, Openshyeva is capable of contributing a vital 1:45 split to the Cardinals’ 800 free relay and will also likely swim on the 400 free relay, which Louisville won last year. Maria Eduarda Sumida holds top-8 ACC rankings in the 500 free and 400 IM and has scoring potential in the 1650. In 2019, Sumida swam the 200 IM, 400 IM, and 200 fly, though without Comerford in the 500 she is probably more likely to swim freestyle instead of the IM on Thursday.
Mariia Astashkina and Morgan Friesen are Louisville’s top breaststroke talent, each with potential to score top-8 in the 100 and 200 just as they did in 2019. Kaylee Wheeler got the nod for the 400 medley relay breaststroke leg in 2019 as a freshman, but currently sits a couple tenths behind Astashkina and Friesen in the 100 breast this season. As a Louisville’s third returning ‘A’ finalist in the 100 breaststroke Wheeler, Astashkina, and Friesen represent potential major points on Friday night for the Cardinals.
Casey Fanz might have the most pure speed on Louisville’s team this season and will be a huge part of their sprint freestyle relays, which could also be supplemented by Alena Kraus, who in addition to high rankings this season in both the 50 and 100 freestyles is Louisville’s second-fastest 200 butterflyer behind Oglesby. Individually, Kraus boasts a higher scoring potential in the 100 fly than the 100 free, so instead of taking on a 100 free/200 fly double on Saturday will likely opt for either the 50 or 500 on Thursday (she did the 500 in 2019), then the 100 fly Friday and the 200 fly Saturday.
Emma Cole (sprint free/fly), Grace Countie (sophomore, sprint free/back), Caroline Hauder (junior, breast/IM/free), Heidi Lowe (sophomore, sprint free), Lilly Higgs (sophomore breast/IM), Brooke Perrotta (junior, fly/IM), Bryanna Cameron (senior, IM/distance free), Emily Grund (sophomore, diver).
North Carolina returns with a formidable sprint group and three women ranked top-8 in the ACC in the 100 freestyle, led by Emma Cole. Cole, together with Grace Countie, Caroline Hauder, and Heidi Lowe can together combine for a strong 400 freestyle relay, while Countie, Lilly Higgs, Cole, and Hauder may also be able to surpass UNC’s 2019 7th-place finish in the 200 medley relay.
Brooke Perrotta competed in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes and the 200 IM at the 2019 ACC Championships yet has shown astounding growth as a butterflyer in 2019-2020. Perrotta is UNC’s 2nd-fastest swimmer in both the 100 and 200 butterfly this so far this season. Bryanna Cameron (senior, IM/distance free) represents another opportunity for UNC to score in the 200 fly as well as in the 400 IM and 500 freestyle.
On the boards and platform, diver Emily Grund represents a potential windfall of points for UNC. In 2019, Grund placed 2nd on the platform and 4th on the 1-meter board.
Alyssa Marsh (senior, sprint fly/free/back), Melissa Pish (sophomore, freestyle), Easop Lee (sophomore, free/IM/back/fly), Kylie Jordan (senior, fly/IM), Emma Shuppert (freshman, backstroke), Halle Morris (junior, breaststroke), Kayle Park (freshman, breaststroke).
Alyssa Marsh returns as Duke’s top sprint flyer and freestyler with top-3 scoring potential in each the 50 free, 100 free, and 100 fly, and will play an integral role on Duke’s relays. Melissa Pish is Duke’s second-fastest 100 freestyler with a range that extends into the 200 and 500, events that are crowded by NC State and Virginia. Easop Lee joins Pish in the 200/500 range and is also Duke’s top 200 butterflyer so far this season, as well as a ‘C’ finalist from the 400 IM in 2019. Kylie Jordan is another butterfly specialist with nearly the speed to match Marsh in the 100 and the potential to score top-8 in both the 200 fly and 200. Emma Shuppert enters ACCs with the second-fastest 100 backstroke on the team behind Marsh and will give Duke’s coaches the option of swimming her on the lead-off leg of the 400 medley relay allowing Marsh to swim fly (Marsh swam backstroke on the 400 medley relay in 2019). If that comes to pass and either Halle Morris or Kayle Park is able to split 59-anything on Duke’s medley relay, the Blue Devils could be in for a rise in the final standings of the relay.
Nina Kucheran (sophomore, breast/IM), Madeline McDonald (sophomore, backstroke), Madeline Cohen (junior, backstroke), Aryanna Ferndandes (sophomore, fly/IM), Emma Terebo (junior, sprint free/back), Sydney Vanovermeiren (freshman, IM/breast), Tania Quaglieri (freshman, sprint free/back).
Florida State returns with a well-rounded contingent of sprint and middle-distance stroke specialists with Nina Kucheran, Madeline McDonald, Madeline Cohen, Aryanna Ferndandes, and Emma Terebo. Kucheran placed 2nd in the 200 and 5th in the 100 breaststrokes at the 2019 ACC Championships and contributed to Florida State’s 800 freestyle relay, and was a ‘B’ finalist in the 200 IM. McDonald, Cohen, and Terebo all would have scored in the 100 backstroke in 2019 if Terebo hadn’t been DQ’d for a 15-meter violation. Tania Quaglieri adds depth to FSU’s sprint freestyle and backstroke contingent and has scoring potential in the 100 back and 50/100 freestyles. Sydney Vanovermeiren, a breaststroke and IM specialist, meanwhile, could fill the void left by Ida Hulkko, who is taking an Olympic redshirt season, add contribute points in the 200 breaststroke and the 200 and 400 IMs.
Coleen Gillilan (freshman, fly/IM), Luciana Thomas (sophomore IM/free), Abbie Dolan (senior, freestyle), Carly Quast (junior, free/back), Kelly Straub (sophomore, diver), Erin Isola (junior, diver), Annie Weise (sophomore, diver), Claire Andrews (junior, diver).
Notre Dame freshman Coleen Gillilan could be one of the most versatile swimmers in the ACC, though with great versatility sometimes comes difficult decisions, and Gillilan, who is currently ranked 5th in the 100 breast and 6th in the 100 fly, will have to choose one of the two to race on Friday. Gillilan is ranked just slightly higher in both the 200 IM and the 200 fly which fall on Thursday and Saturday, respectively, so swimming the double would not be prudent. Luciana Thomas adds a significant point potential for the Irish in the 200 fly, 200 IM, and 400 IM. Abbie Dolan, Notre Dame’s top middle-distance freestyler at the 2019 ACC Championships and a vital relay member, also returns. Backstroke specialist Carly Quast will also feature prominently for the Irish; Quast was instrumental for Notre Dame in 2019 in the sprint backstroke and freestyle events and helped to carry their 200 and 400 freestyle relays to top-6 finishes.
Kelly Straub and Erin Isola are the top-2 divers on the 1-meter board in the ACC going into the competition while also ranking 6th and 5th, respectively, on the 3-meter board. Annie Weise and Claire Andrews also have scoring potential on the 1- and 3-meter boards.
Joelle Vereb (junior, sprint fly/breast/free), Brooke Travis (freshman, distance free/IM/back), Loulou Vos (sophomore, distance free), Sarah Shackelford (freshman, sprint free/back), Anna Landon (sophomore, sprint free/back), Kayla Purcell (senior, sprint free/fly).
Versatile sprinter Joelle Vereb was Virginia Tech’s highest individual scorer in 2019 having made the ‘A’ finals in the 100 fly and 100 back and the ‘B’ final in the 100 breast. Vereb is both VT’s top 100 butterflyer and 100 breaststroker and 50/100 freestyler. On the other end of the spectrum, freshman Brooke Travis and sophomore Loulou Vos are Virginia Tech’s top distance freestylers, each with scoring capability in the 500 and 1650. Sarah Shackelford, Anna Landon, and Kayla Purcell round out VT’s sprint group and could each be utilized on the sprint relays.
Emily Ilgenfritz (senior, free/fly), Kristen Hepler (senior, IM/breast), Caroline Doi (senior, diver) and Paige Gohr (junior, diver).
Georgia Tech returns all but two of its scorers from 2019, however, one of those athletes, freestyler Haibing Wang, scored the Yellow Jackets a huge 59 points. Emily Ilgenfritz returns as Tech’s top distance swimmer, though Ilgenfritz also scored in the 200 fly and swam on GT’s 400 and 800 freestyle relays. Kristen Hepler supplies GT with breaststroke and IM firepower.
Caroline Doi and Paige Gohr rank 4th and 5th in the ACC this season on the platform and represent major points for GT if they are able to hold or advance their standings.
Valerie Daigneault (senior, IM/back/free), Sarah Giamber (senior, distance free/IM), Maddie Shaffer (senior, free/fly), Amy Read (sophomore, diver), Serena Buchwald (sophomore, diver), Cortnee Williams (senior, diver), Krista Jones (senior, diver).
The University of Pittsburgh is a senior-dominant team led by the versatile Valerie Daigneault who packs individual scoring potential in the 200 and 400 IM, the 100 and 200 back. Daigneault also has enough freestyle speed to lend a hand on all three freestyle relays, which she did in 2019, in addition to a 400 medley relay lead-off. Fellow senior Sarah Giamber, meanwhile, specializes in the 400 IM, the 500, and the 1650. Last year, Giamber was Pitt’s only ‘A’ finalist at Women’s ACCs via the 400 IM. Another senior, Maddie Shaffer, represents Pitt’s best scoring opportunity in the butterflies and will also likely be a major relay component.
Pittsburgh’s greatest depth is perhaps found in its divers. Amy Read, Serena Buchwald, Cortnee Williams, Krista Jones, could potentially add dozens of points to Pitt’s final tally.
Miami returns 2019’s top female diver Alicia Blagg to defend her 1-meter and 3-meter crowns in Greensboro. Blagg, who is already a 2-time Olympian for Great Britain, is currently in the process of trying to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and for this reason actually missed her Senior Day a few weeks ago. Sophomore Zorry Mason nearly broke into the ‘A’ final of the 200 IM in 2019 and also managed to rack up a few points in the 100 breaststroke and contribute to Miami’s sprint relays, where she will again play a vital role. Distance swimmers Claire McGinnis and Aino Otava both stand a chance at breaking into the top-24 of the mile.
Lindsey Ryalls (freshman, free/fly), Haley Dolan (freshman, sprint free/back).
In 2019 all 154 of Boston College’s points at ACCs came from its relays, though Lindsey Ryalls stands a chance at cracking the top-24 in the 500 if she is able to shave 5 seconds, which is not an uncommon feat in the distance events, especially for freshman such as Ryalls. Ryalls may also have the ability to make it back in the 200 fly or the 400 IM. Another freshman, Haley Dolan, could also break into individual scoring territory in the 50 and 100 freestyles, and will almost certainly play a role on Boston’s sprint relays.
200 Breaststroke: Virginia’s Kate Douglass holds the fastest time in the NCAA in the 200 breaststroke with a 2:06.13, which is over half-a-second faster than NC State’s Sophie Hansson swam at ACCs in 2019 to win the conference title. Hansson’s best time this season stands at a 2:08.31, though Hansson dropped over three seconds from her seed time at ACCs last year to produce her winning time of 2:06.73, and then chiseled her time further down to a 2:06.18 at NCAAs–and she has a title to defend. Douglass is only a freshman and Hansson is just a sophomore, so whatever the outcome in 2020 we should get to see plenty of re-matches between the two over the next two years.
200 Backstroke: 2019 ACC Champion Emma Muzzy will have to contend with freshman teammate Katharine Berkoff in 200 backstroke where Berkoff actually has a faster lifetime best by over a second. In addition to Berkoff, five other ‘A’ finalists from 2019 return this season, such as NC State teammate Kate Moore, as well as a trio from UVA including Emma Seiberlich, Paige Madden, and the 2019 runner-up Megan Moroney.
50 Freestyle: Virginia’s Morgan Hill won the 50 freestyle by .01 over NC State’s Ky-lee Perry in 2019, and just .13 ahead of NC State then-freshman Kylee Alons. Hill and Perry, now both seniors, and Alons now a sophomore, will face off again in the 50 for what ought to be a thrilling race. Alyssa Marsh currently holds the second-fastest time in the ACC this season just behind Hill and tied for 4th in 2019 with UNC’s Grace Countie, who also returns this year. In fact, none of the 2019 ‘A’ finalists in the 50 graduated, which could create for a very interesting, albeit statistically-unlikely, 8-way rematch in the ‘A’ final.
Unlike the NCAA Championships, the ACC Championships swims and scores ‘C’ finals, so the top-24 swimmers score points with individual event champions pulling in a whopping 32 points. Relays, meanwhile, score double, though each team only gets to score one relay.
Swimulator uses in-season rankings to determine its scoring outcomes and does not factor diving into its final scores. Furthermore, UVA has not fielded an 800 freestyle relay yet this season, an event where they are the defending champions. Though Virginia graduated Eryn Eddy, one of their four relay members from 2019, Kate Douglass (1:45.16r, 2019), Ella Collins (1:46.83, 2018), or Emma Seiberlich (1:47.61, 2019) could all potentially take Eddy’s place. Given that Virginia won the 800 freestyle relay by over three seconds and Louisville won’t have Comerford to split a 1:41 this year, it is also possible the Cavaliers will be the only team under the 7-minute barrier.
With this new information, we will assign Virginia 64 more points (1168.5 + 64) and dock NC State 8 points (1217 – 8) for final swimming-only scores of 1209 NC State and 1232.5 Virginia.
Of course, diving could change everything, which is where Virginia’s Sydney Dusel comes in. Dusel is currently the number-1 diver in the ACC on the 3-meter board and is ranked 5th on the 1-meter. In 2019 Dusel took silver on the 3-meter, 11th on the platform, and 10th on 1-meter for a total of 61 individual points. NC State, however, has Madeline Kline, the reigning platform champion of the ACC who was also 8th in 2019 on the 1-meter bringing in a total of 54 individual points.
Whoever you’re cheering for, the 2020 Women’s ACC Swimming & Diving Championships will be a close and exciting fight for the overall team champion. Given the data we have, Virginia looks likely to reclaim the crown.
|NC State – 1217|
|Virginia – 1168.5|
|Louisville – 964.5|
|North Carolina – 881.5|
|Duke – 669.5|
|Florida State – 574.5|
|Notre Dame – 569|
|Virginia Tech – 422.5|
|Georgia Tech – 297|
|Pittsburgh – 284|
|Miami (FL) – 213|
|Boston College -166|
- NC State
- North Carolina
- Florida State
- Notre Dame
- Virginia Tech
- Georgia Tech
- Miami (FL)
- Boston College