2022 ACC Championships: Day 2 Prelims Live Recap

2022 ACC Swimming and Diving Championships

After an exciting opening session on Tuesday night, the first set of individual events goes down this morning from the McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta at the 2022 ACC Swimming & Diving Championships.

The session will feature heats in the 500 freestyle, 200 individual medley and 50 free, along with men’s 1-meter diving.

Virginia junior Kate Douglass, the 2020 conference champion in the women’s 200 IM, has opted out of that event in favor of the 50 free today, leaving Cavalier teammates Alex Walsh and Ella Nelson to lead the way in the 200 IM.

Walsh, the reigning ACC and NCAA champ in the 200 IM, was notably dynamite on last night’s 800 free relay, anchoring in 1:41.63 as UVA broke the ACC Meet Record in a time of 6:53.37.

On the men’s side, the most noteworthy scratch came from NC State’s Luke Miller, who has dropped out of the 200 IM as the seventh seed. Miller was the top performer in the men’s 800 free relay on Tuesday, splitting 1:31.03 as NC State also broke the meet record in 6:08.35.

Along with Walsh, the swimmers who will be defending their 2021 titles on Day 2 are NC State’s Kylee Alons in the women’s 50 free, Georgia Tech’s Caio Pumputis in the men’s 200 IM and Virginia’s Matt Brownstead in the men’s 50 free.

Last year’s 500 free winner on the women’s side, former UVA star Paige Madden, has graduated, while the reigning men’s champ, Notre Dame’s Jack Hoagland, has redshirted the season.

Women’s 500 Free – Prelims

  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut – 4:35.76
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut – 4:44.47
  • Meet Record – 4:30.74, Leah Smith (UVA), 2016
  • Conference Record – 4:28.90, Leah Smith (UVA), 2017
  1. Liberty Williams (LOU), 4:40.53
  2. Emma Weyant (UVA), 4:41.39
  3. Madelyn Donohoe (UVA), 4:42.50
  4. Chase Travis (VT), 4:42.73
  5. Reka Gyorgy (VT), 4:43.93
  6. Yara Hierath (NCS), 4:44.22
  7. Kay Foley (NCS), 4:44.72
  8. Brooke Travis (NCS), 4:45.06

Coming off of her breakout best time in January, Louisville sophomore Liberty Williams secured the top seed in the women’s 500 freestyle heading into tonight, cruising to victory in the final heat in a time of 4:40.53.

Williams, who was ninth in the event last season, came in as the top seed after cracking the 4:40 barrier for the first time last month in a dual against Kentucky (4:38.79).

The Virginia duo of Emma Weyant (4:41.39) and Madelyn Donohoe (4:42.50) touched first in the other two circle-seeded heats to qualify second and third overall, while a pair of Virginia Tech H20kies in Chase Travis (4:42.73) and Reka Gyorgy (4:43.93) claimed fourth and fifth.

The swims for both Travis and Gyorgy were season-bests, with Travis coming in with a SB of 4:43.71 and Gyorgy sitting at 4:45.43. Gyorgy, a fifth-year senior, notably took third last year in 4:40.10.

NC State managed to put three up in the event, taking 6-7-8 with Yara HierathKay Foley and Brooke Travis. The swims for Foley and Travis were both lifetime bests, with Foley taking down her PB for the first time in two years after going 4:45.16 at the 2020 ACCs.

The top-seeded swimmer to miss the final was Duke freshman Yi Xuan Chang, who clocked 4:43.79 back in November but only mustered a 4:47.88 to take 11th.

Overall it took 4:45.06 to make the ‘A’ final, which is well over a second faster than last season (4:46.26).

Louisville freshman Polina Nevmovenko, who produced a strong 1:44.94 relay split on last night’s 4×200 free, added more than five seconds from her October best (4:47.71) and failed to earn a second swim in 30th at 4:53.00.

Men’s 500 Free – Prelims

  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut – 4:11.62
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut – 4:23.34
  • Meet Record – 4:10.00, Matt McLean (UVA), 2009
  • Conference Record – 4:09.13, Anton Ipsen (NC State), 2018
  1. Ross Dant (NCS), 4:12.03
  2. Will Gallant (NCS), 4:13.15
  3. James Plage (NCS), 4:14.32
  4. Antani Ivanov (VT), 4:15.02
  5. Eric Knowles (NCS), 4:15.48
  6. Jack Wright (UVA), 4:15.65
  7. Batur Unlu (GT), 4:15.66
  8. Mert Kilavuz (GT), 4:16.14

The NC State men came to play in the 500 free prelims, putting up the three-fastest times (and four of the top five) of the morning, led by junior Ross Dant.

Dant, who was last season’s runner-up in the event, got out to a blistering start in the fifth and final heat, turning in a sizzling 1:37.97 at the 200 before comfortably touching first in a time of 4:12.03. That time improves upon his previous best of 4:12.21, set at the 2021 ACCs, and moves him into fifth in the country this season.

The heats were so fast this morning that it actually took a time faster than the conference-leading time coming into the meet to even make the ‘A’ final. Dant led the field coming in with his 4:16.28 from the NC State Invite in November, and Georgia Tech’s Mert Kilavuz was the last man into the top eight at 4:16.14.

Joining Dant in tonight’s final will be Wolfpack teammates Will Gallant (4:13.15), James Plage (4:14.32) and Eric Knowles (4:15.48), with both Gallant and Plage hitting monstrous best times.

Virginia Tech’s Antani Ivanov qualified fourth in 4:15.02, just a tenth off his PB, while UVA’s Jack Wright hit a best time of 4:15.65 for sixth.

GT’s Batur Unlu (4:15.66) and Kilavuz also established lifetime bests to slide into the top eight, with a sizeable gap (1.54 seconds) between the eighth and ninth-place finishers.

Similar to the women’s race, the time required to make the championship final (4:16.14) was significantly faster than last season (4:17.82).

Women’s 200 IM – Prelims

  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut – 1:53.66
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut – 1:59.94
  • Meet Record – 1:51.36, Kate Douglass (UVA), 2020
  • Conference Record – 1:50.92, Kate Douglass (UVA), 2020
  1. Alex Walsh (UVA), 1:54.31
  2. Ella Nelson (UVA), 1:55.18
  3. Abby Hay (LOU), 1:55.19
  4. Sarah Foley (DUKE), 1:55.41
  5. Abby Arens (NCS), 1:55.76
  6. Kate Moore (NCS), 1:56.07
  7. Julia Poole (NCS), 1:56.51
  8. Grace Sheble (NCS), 1:56.55

Defending champion Alex Walsh staked her claim as the one to beat in the women’s 200 IM, cruising to the top time of the preliminaries in 1:54.31.

The swim for Walsh, though well off her lifetime best, undercuts her fastest time of the season by over two seconds (1:56.35) and ranks her fifth in the nation in 2021-22. At the 2021 ACCs, Walsh clocked was one-tenth slower (1:54.41) in the heats before winning the final in 1:51.53.

The sophomore notably set a blistering pace early, splitting 24.39/28.48 on the way out for a 52.87 opening 100 before cruising home. She’ll have a lot left in the tank for the final.

Walsh’s junior teammate Ella Nelson, last season’s fourth-place finisher, picked up the #2 seed in 1:55.18, a new season-best and less than half a second shy of her PB (1:54.72).

Louisville junior Abby Hay dropped a new personal best to qualify third in 1:55.19, taking down her previous mark of 1:56.02 set at the 2021 NCAAs. Hay was notably seventh in the event at last season’s ACCs.

Duke sophomore Sarah Foley, who had a phenomenal lead-off leg on last night’s 800 free relay, also hit a major PB to advance in fourth, improving from 1:56.40 to 1:55.41.

The Wolfpack women followed up on the momentum generated by the men in the 500 free, putting four into the 200 IM ‘A’ final with Abby ArensKate MooreJulia Poole and Grace Sheble taking fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.

Sheble, a freshman, set a new lifetime best of 1:56.55 and crushes her season-best of 1:58.94 that ranked her 20th coming in.

A total of 13 women went a time that would’ve been fast enough to make the ‘A’ final last season (1:57.83), with FSU’s Nina Kucheran (1:56.68) and Notre Dame’s Coleen Gillilan (1:56.90) going sub-1:57 but still failing to advance to the top eight.

Men’s 200 IM – Prelims

  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut – 1:41.34
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut – 1:46.77
  • Meet Record – 1:41.25, Andreas Vazaios (NC State), 2017
  • Conference Record – 1:39.35, Andreas Vazaios (NC State), 2019
  1. Carles Coll Marti (VT), 1:42.14
  2. Sam Hoover (NCS), 1:43.37
  3. Arsenio Bustos (NCS), 1:43.41
  4. Daniel Sos (LOU) / Mikey Moore (NCS), 1:43.45
  5. Giovanni Izzo (NCS), 1:43.83
  6. Noah Bowers (NCS), 1:44.07
  7. Caio Pumputis (GT), 1:44.49

The NC State men continue to roll through the session as they put five men into the 200 IM ‘A’ final, but it was Virginia Tech standout Carles Coll Marti who grabbed the top seed with a bullet in 1:42.14.

Coll Marti, who was the runner-up last season as a freshman, demolished his personal best time of 1:43.44 to qualify first by well over a second, moving into sixth in the nation this season (without factoring in any results from SECs this morning).

Then comes the Wolfpack charges, led by first-years Sam Hoover (1:43.37) and Arsenio Bustos (1:43.41), who both hit best times to qualify second and third. Hoover’s swim was notably a PB by two full seconds.

NC State sophomore Mikey Moore tied for fourth with Louisville’s Daniel Sos at 1:43.45, and then two more Wolfpack swimmers got in as Giovanni Izzo (1:43.83) and Noah Bowers (1:44.07) qualified sixth and seventh.

In fact, all five NC State swimmers established new personal best times.

Defending champion Caio Pumputis of Georgia Tech squeaked into the ‘A’ final by .02, clocking 1:44.49 to leave Louisville’s Evgenii Somov (1:44.51) on the outside looking in. Pumputis came into the meet ranked second among ACC swimmers this season at 1:43.80.

Women’s 50 Free – Prelims

  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut – 21.66
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut – 22.76
  • Meet Record – 21.50, Kate Douglass (UVA), 2021
  • Conference Record – 21.09, Kate Douglass (UVA), 2021
  1. Kate Douglass (UVA) / Gretchen Walsh (UVA), 21.25
  2. Katharine Berkoff (NCS) / Grace Countie (UNC), 21.69
  3. Gabi Albiero (LOU)/ Kylee Alons (NCS), 21.78
  4. Alexa Cuomo (UVA), 21.86
  5. Anna Landon (VT), 22.21

It was an explosive couple of heats to close out the women’s 50 free prelims, as Virginia teammates Gretchen Walsh and Kate Douglass put up matching 21.25s to break the ACC Meet Record of 21.50 set by Douglass last season.

The swim for Walsh marks a new best time, lowering the 21.41 she clocked in December 2020, and moves her into eighth in the all-time rankings. She also becomes the fastest freshman in history, surpassing Stanford’s Simone Manuel (21.32).

Douglass, who had already been 21.27 this season, owns a best time of 21.09, set when she won the national title last season.

The event wasn’t just fast at the top–it was fast everywhere. Last season only one swimmer broke 22 in the prelims, and today seven women did so.

In addition to the tie for first, we also saw swimmers produce matching times in third and fifth.

NC State’s Katharine Berkoff and UNC’s Grace Countie produced 21.69s to tie for third, while Louisville’s Gabi Albiero and defending champ Kylee Alons of NC State clocked matching 21.78s for fifth.

UVA junior Alexa Cuomo joined the sub-22 party in seventh, hitting a PB of 21.86.

Men’s 50 Free – Prelims

  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut – 18.96
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut – 19.96
  • Meet Record – 18.68, Ryan Held (NC State), 2017
  • Conference Record – 18.56, Ryan Held (NC State), 2017
  1. David Curtiss (NCS), 18.77
  2. Matt Brownstead (UVA), 19.02
  3. Abdelrahman Elaraby (LOU), 19.04
  4. Nyls Korstanje (NCS), 19.12
  5. Youssef Ramadan (VT), 19.13
  6. Connor Boyle (UVA), 19.19
  7. Noah Henderson (NCS), 19.22
  8. Jack Aikins (UVA) / Matt King (UVA), 19.23

Not to be outdone by the women’s event, the men’s 50 free was an absolute scorcher, led by NC State freshman David Curtiss who takes over the top time in the nation this season at 18.77.

Curtiss’ time crushes his previous best of 19.11, set in July 2021, and makes him the fourth-fastest freshman of all-time while also dipping well below the NCAA ‘A’ cut of 18.96.

Previously, the top time in the nation belonged to Texas fifth-year Cameron Auchinachie at 18.80. Joining Curtiss with a sub-19 swim as a freshman this morning was Tennessee’s Jordan Crooks, who paced the SEC prelims in 18.84.

Defending champ Matt Brownstead of UVA qualified second in 19.02, good for the second-fastest swim of his career, and Louisville’s Abdelrahman Elaraby hit a new best to qualify third in 19.04.

NC State’s Nyls Korstanje got in at fifth in 19.12, followed by VT’s Youssef Ramadan (19.13), UVA’s Connor Boyle (19.19) and Wolfpack swimmer Noah Henderson (19.22).

Boyle, a first-year, destroyed his previous best time of 19.78.

The Cavaliers had two swimmers tie for eighth, with freshman Jack Aikins and sophomore Matt King producing matching 19.23s, meaning they’ll likely partake in a swim-off (unless the coaches opt for an alternative way to decide who advances).

King is the more established 50 freestyler of the two, with Aikins having slaughtered his PB by over four-tenths (was previously 19.68) with his swim this morning. King hit a trio of sub-19 swims last season while racing for Alabama, with his lifetime best coming in at 18.96.

Men’s 1m Diving – Prelims

  • Meet Record – 499.95, Nick McCrory (Duke), 2010
  • Conference Record – 499.95, Nick McCrory (Duke), 2010

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2 years ago

A. Walsh shut it down on the back end of the IM. She was 26 coming home on the 200 free last night, and was 31.9 on breast at ACCs last year (vs. 28 and 33). Based off of her nearly 2 second drop in the 200 free last night from the same meet last year, she’s got a shot at Eastin’s record tonight. Even 1:49 is not out of her reach, thought I wish she had Douglass to push her.

2 years ago

Ella Nelson is such a stud! She gets overlooked by the other studs around her, but as an outsider looking in it seems like she has that team first mentality & consistently gets the job done. She’s gotten so much faster in college, too!

Ps. 7 girls under 22 in the 50 free at a conference meet is wild!

2 years ago

NCST IMers were on. Last year that was a struggling event for the Pack. Not so this year.

2 years ago

Unofficially — these are my tallys

NCSU: 4/0/0
UVA: 1/0/3
Louis: 0/2/2
UNC: 0/1/0

NCSU: 5/0/0
UVA: 0/1/4
Louis: 1/2/0
UNC: 0/1/0

NCSU: 3/1/1
UVA: 4/1/0
Louis: 1/2/1
UNC: 0/0/1

NCSU – 12/1/1
UVA – 5/2/7
Louis – 2/6/3
UNC – 0/2/1

Reply to  I_can_dunk
2 years ago

UVa men will only have 3 in the A of the 50. 2 in the B. They have two tied for 7th.

Reply to  snarky
2 years ago

Tied for 7th means both are in…

Reply to  I_can_dunk
2 years ago

VT is better to include than UNC. Technically UVA will be 3/2 in the 50

Reply to  Huh
2 years ago

I added UNC in so they didn’t feel left out.

Creed Ko
Reply to  I_can_dunk
2 years ago

left out like Pitt’s men…. 0/0/0 – nobody back

Reply to  Creed Ko
2 years ago


Reply to  I_can_dunk
2 years ago

Is BC still in the ACC?

Seriously, they need to find a way to compete as a swimming-only member in a mid-major conference. When more often than not you get passed over for D3 school, something needs to change. What’s the reason? Do they not give out scholarships? Not much push from coaches in admissions? Awful coaches? It’s bizarre to me that they are a pretty good school academically and have a decent new pool, yet fail to attract even local talent.

Reply to  HJones
2 years ago

BC is the only non-scholarship program in the ACC.

They did break two school records this morning, though.

Silent Observer
Reply to  I_can_dunk
2 years ago

since the men’s tallies were calculated. here are the women’s

NCSU: 3/0/0
UVA: 2/1/0
ULOU: 1/1/1
VT: 2/0/1
UNC: 0/1/1

NCSU: 4/2/0
UVA: 2/2/1
ULOU: 1/1/2
VT: 0/0/1
UNC: 0/0/2

NCSU: 2/2/0
UVA: 3/0/2
ULOU: 1/2/0
VT: 1/1/0
UNC: 1/2/1

NCSU – 9/4/0
UVA – 7/3/3
ULOU – 3/4/3
UNC – 1/3/4

Reply to  I_can_dunk
2 years ago

Women’s side:

NCST 3/0/0
UVA 2/1/0
Lou 1/1/1
VT 2/0/1

200 IM
NCST 4/2/0
UVA 2/2/1
Lou 1/1/1
VT 0/0/1

NCST 2/2/0
UVA 3/0/2
Lou 1/2/0
VT 1/1/0

NCST 9/4/0
UVA 7/3/3
Lou 3/4/2
VT 3/1/2

UVA has more higher seeds in the A finals after prelims (so their prelim score is potentially higher) but that means NCST has the better chance of improving placing in finals.

Could be closer than people thought after Day 1. Granted UVA usually has a potent Day 2 but it looks like NCST has filled some holes in the 200 free and longer races.

Stan Crump
Reply to  I_can_dunk
2 years ago

NCS have a whopper first day!

2 years ago

King is a little disappointing

Reply to  Swimm
2 years ago

Agreed. But when he went 18.9 last year he was 19.3 in prelims.

Reply to  Swimm
2 years ago

His start looked bad to me iirc. He was 18.9 flying start a couple weeks ago on less rest so I don’t think it’s a lack of speed.

The other two flying starts on that race went faster flat this morning and brownstead was .4 faster than he was leading off.

Curious to see what he goes in a swim off or tonight

Reply to  anon
2 years ago

Was there a swim-off I’m 50 free or the team decided who will swim in a final?

Reply to  Swimm
2 years ago

Y’all think he’s magically going to get so much faster? He was already at an elite sprint program.

2 years ago

Great to see UVA have such a good sprint group.
But how come their faster 2IMer is a 1:45.2? How are they spread so thin?

Reply to  kbizzy
2 years ago

Eh it isn’t the best event for anyone on the team and those that swam had off races.

I wouldn’t put much into it before seeing Storch in the 400 IM, Conway in the 2Back, and Fong in the 2Fly. If they all trained for their best events it wouldn’t be surprising to lack 2IM speed.

If UVA really wanted to score in the race I’d bet one of Aikins/Grender/Boyle would be much faster with a little work on breast.

Last edited 2 years ago by anon
Reply to  anon
2 years ago

“If UVA really wanted to score in the race I’d bet one of Aikins/Grender/Boyle would be much faster with a little work on breast.”


2 years ago

Do you disagree? UVA isn’t in the team title hunt so they’re prioritizing every swimmer’s best events. They don’t have to consider event selection strategy.

I think one or multiple of the those 3 could A final in the 200 IM if they trained for the race. That would make more sense if the goal is to maximize team points at ACC but it doesn’t make sense when you’re developing the program.

I’m not saying they’d win the event. I’m saying having 1:45.2 best finish at ACC probably isn’t indicative of the groups 2IM potential.

Reply to  anon
2 years ago

Thought all they had to do was say Desorbo and they just got better.

2 years ago

NCS locking up half of the men’s A finals swims

2 years ago

Connor Boyle was 19.19 as someone who raced him a little while back in Illinois this is nice to see would love to see if he broke 19 tonight.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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