2022 ACC Championships: Day 4 Finals Live Recap

by Robert Gibbs 168

February 18th, 2022 ACC, College, News, Previews & Recaps

2022 ACC SWIMMING AND DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS

If you like drama, you’re following the right conference championships tonight.

We’ll ease into things with the women’s 200 fly, where we don’t expect to see any big records go down, but where UVA’s Jessica Nava will race to defend her conference title after placing 5th in prelims. The top seed belongs to Louisville’s Abby Hay, who placed 5th last year, but whose prelims time this morning was faster than Nava’s winning time last year.

Next, Louisville’s Nick Albiero could make history in the 200 fly. Thanks to the unprecedented rule change allowing NCAA athletes who competed last season to have a fifth year of eligibility, Albiero could become the first swimmer ever, as far as we can tell, to win five college conference championships in the same event. Later tonight his teammate Evgenii Somov will try to do the same in the 100 breast. Both men had the fastest times in their respective events in this morning’s prelims.

Reflecting the tenor of the meet as a whole, the women’s 100 back and 100 breast should both be a great battle between swimmers from NC State and Virginia. NC State’s Katharine Berkoff is the defending champion and conference record holder in the 100 back, and she led this morning’s prelims. But Berkoff could face a stiff challenge from UVA’s Reilly Tiltmann, last year’s runner-up, as well as Gretchen Walsh, who blasted the fastest 50 back time ever last night.

This morning, UVA’s Alexis Wenger grabbed the 100 breast conference record from NC State’s Sophie Hansson, the the three-time defending champion in this event, and it could end up taking another ACC Record to win tonight.

We’ll also have finals of the 100 back, where Louisville’s Mitchell Whyte took the top seed and NC State’s Kacper Stokowski returns after winning last year, and the men’s platform diving, where Miami’s Zach Cooper, yet another defending champion, led this morning’s prelims.

The night will wrap up with timed finals of the 400 medley relay. Records could go down in either event, but especially on the women’s side, as UVA swam the fastest the 200 medley relay ever by over a second yesterday, but where NC State owns the U.S. Open record after beating the Cavaliers at NCAAs last year.

The projected scoring based on this morning’s prelims show that the Cavalier women will need to stay on top of their game to hold off the Wolfpack in the team standings, while the NC State men should continue to expand their lead.

WOMEN’S 200 FLY – Finals

  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut – 1:53.20
  • 2021 NCAA Invite Time – 1:57.42
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut – 1:59.23
  • Meet Record – 1:52.81, Grace Oglesby (Louisville), 2019
  • Conference Record – 1:50.61, Kelsi Worrell (Louisville), 2016

Top 3:

  1. Abby Arens (NC State) – 1:54.11
  2. Jessica Nava (Virginia) – 1:54.54
  3. Abby Hay (Louisville) – 1:54.77

Defending champion Jessica Nava held the lead for most of the rest, but the field closed on her down the final stretch. There appeared to be three or four women in the mix for the win at the wall, but NC State’s Abby Arens got her hands on the wall first, winning in 1:54.11.

Nava took 2nd in 1:54.54, followed by Louisville’s Abby Hay at 1:54.77, followed by her teammate Tristen Ulett at 1:55.14.

Further back, there were battles for both 5th an 7th. UVA’s Abby Harter just beat NC State’s Grace Sheble for 5th, 1:55.43 to 1:55.50, while Edith Jernstedt of FSU touched ahead of Notre Dame’s Colleen Gillilan, 1:55.80 to 1:55.84.

Louisville’s Alena Kraus won the B-final in 1:55.08, which would’ve placed 4th in the A-final.

Men’s 200 Fly – Finals

  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut – 1:40.44
  • 2021 NCAA Invite Time – 1:43.47
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut – 1:46.69
  • Meet Record – 1:38.65, Nick Albiero (Louisville), 2020
  • Conference Record – 1:38.57, Andreas Vazaios, 2018

Top 3:

  1. Nick Albiero (Louisville) – 1:37.92
  2. Antani Ivanov (Virginia Tech) – 1:39.73
  3. Aiden Hayes (NC State) – 1:40.39

Nick Albiero has made the most of his fifth year of eligibility. Not only did he become the first swimmer to ever win five conference titles in the same event, he did it stunning fashion, taking down the meet and conference records with the 2nd-fastest performance in history.

It was nearly a textbook swim for the Louisville grad student, who looked about smooth as someone can while swimming a 1:37-fly, nailing his turns and underwaters. Only Jack Conger has been faster, with his 1:37.35 from the 2017 NCAA Championships.

Virginia Tech’s Antani Ivanov took 2nd out of lane 1, breaking the 1:40 barrier with a strong 1:39.73. NC State freshman Aiden Hayes earned 3rd with his 1:40.39, earning his first NCAA ‘A’ cut. Not only that, but that appears to be a 17-18 National Age Group record for Hayes, breaking the previous mark of 1:40.67 set by Luca Urlando in 2020. Hayes’ Wolfpack teammate Noah Bowers took 4th with a 1:41.91.

UVA’s Josh Fong helped increase his chances of a NCAA invite by shaving three-tenths of a second off of his prelims time to take 5th in 1:42.27. NC State’s Noah Henderson (1:42.36), Georgia Tech’s Christian Ferraro (1:43.10) and Notre Dame’s Zach Smith (1:44.63) rounded out the A-final.

Yesterday’s 200 free champion, Luke Miller of NC State, had a fast swim to win the B-final. He is time of 1:41.40 would’ve finished 4th in the A-final.

Women’s 100 Back – Finals

  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut – 50.93
  • 2021 NCAA Invite Time – 53.01
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut – 53.94
  • Meet Record – 50.45, Katharine Berkoff (NC State), 2021
  • Conference Record – 49.74, Katharine Berkoff (NC State), 2021

Top 3:

  1. Katharine Berkoff (NC State) – 49.41
  2. Gretchen Walsh (Virginia) – 50.13
  3. Reilly Tiltmann (Virginia) – 50.42

Gretchen Walsh may be the fastest woman ever in the 50 back, but Katharine Berkoff hit the 50 mark first tonight, turning at 23.88 to Walsh’s 24.04, and Berkoff also outsplit Walsh on the backhalf, 25.53 to 26.08, to win her third-straight ACC title.

Berkoff’s swim also broke her own meet and ACC records, and she now moves up to the #3 performer of all time, behind only Regan Smith (49.16) and Beata Nelson (49.18).

Walsh took 2nd in 50.13, and her teammate Reilly Tiltmann touched in 3rd at 50.42, with both women also under the previous meet record.

Berkoff’s teammate Kylee Alons took 4th in 51.16, followed by UNC teammates Grace Countie (51.95) and Sophie Lindner (51.97).

Virginia Tech’s Emma Atkinson touched just ahead of UNC’s Greer Pattison for 7th, 52.8 to 52.29.

Men’s 100 Back – Finals

  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut – 44.94
  • 2021 NCAA Invite Time – 46.37
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut – 47.77
  • Meet Record – 44.04, Coleman Stewart (NC State), 2020
  • Conference Record – 43.98, Coleman Stewart (NC State), 2019

Top 3:

  1. Kacper Stokowski (NC State) – 44.74
  2. Mitchell Whyte (Louisville) – 45.19
  3. Nikolaos Sofianidis (Louisville) 46.02

Kacper Stokowski successfully defended his ACC title in this event, earning his win as the only man to get under 45 tonight and touching in 44.74.

Louisville’s Mitchell Whyte held the lead early on, but couldn’t hold off Stokowski down the final length, and settled for 2nd in 45.19.

Those were the only two men to get under 46 after four did it in last year’s final.

Whyte’s teammate Nikolaos Sofianidis took 3rd in 46.02, moving up from his 6th place finish last year. Virginia Tech’s Forest Webb took 4th in 46.15 after finishing 8th last year. He touched just ahead of NC State’s Hunter Tapp (46.18).

Virginia Tech’s Samuel Tornqvist took 6th in 46.28; he’s been under 46 a couple of times this season, including in prelims. Mason Herbert of Florida State took 7th in 46.42, slipping just a bit from last year’s 5th place finish.

UVA’s Matt Brownstead was 45.83 this morning, which would’ve placed him 3rd tonight, but he was nearly a second off of that time, touching 8th in 46.78.

Georgia Tech freshman Berke Saka won the B-final in 45.81, which would’ve put him 3rd in the A-final. Likewise, UVA freshman Jack Aikins took 2nd in the B-final in 46.13, just off of his lifetime best, and that time would’ve put him 4th in the A-final.

Women’s 100 Breast – Finals

  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut – 58.46
  • 2021 NCAA Invite Time – 1:00.12
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut – 1:01.84
  • Meet Record – 57.22, Alexis Wenger (Virginia), 2022
  • Conference Record – 57.22, Alexis Wenger (Virginia), 2022

Top 3:

  1. Sophie Hansson (NC State) – 56.72
  2. Alexis Wenger (Virginia) – 56.76
  3. Andrea Podmanikova (NC State) – 57.90

Wowzers. That was about as great as race as you’ll ever see.

UVA’s Alexis Wenger broke Sophie Hansson‘s meet and conference record this morning, and for about 97 yards it looked like the Cavalier would dethrone the NC State swimmer, who has won the last three ACC titles.

But Hansson managed to time her final stroke just right, and got her hands on the wall a scant 0.04s before Wenger. With that touch, Hansson became the first ACC woman to get under 57, winning in 56.72. Hansson and Wenger now rank #3 and #4 all-time in this event.

NC State has been killing it tonight, and Hansson teammate Andrea Podmanikova swam a great race herself, taking 3rd in 57.90. NC State is now less than 30 points behind UVA in the team standings.

Florida State’s Nina Kucheran took 4th in 59.02, followed by NC State’s Heather McCausland (59.47) and UVA’s Anna Keating (59.40).

Louisville teammates Mariia Astashkina (59.74) and Adeline Farrington (59.87) finished 7th and 8th.

Men’s 100 Breast – Finals

  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut – 51.59
  • 2021 NCAA Invite Time – 52.40
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut – 54.27
  • Meet Record – 51.03, Evgenii Somov (Louisville), 2021
  • Conference Record – 51.03, Evgenii Somov (Louisville), 2021

Top 3:

  1. Evgenii Somov (Louisville) – 51.13
  2. Josh Bottelberghe (Notre Dame) – 51.61
  3. Cooper Van Der Laan (Pitt)- 51.77

Louisville fifth-year Evgenii Somov joined his teammate Albiero as a five-time ACC event champion, making history with his fifth ACC title in the 100 breast. Somov was just a hair off of last year’s winning time of 51.03, a time which stands as the meet and conference record, but he still won by nearly half a second.

Second place went to Notre Dame’s Josh Bottelberghe, who touched in 51.61 after taking 7th in 52.39 last year.

Pitt’s Cooper Van Der Laan once again took 3rd place, swimming a 51.77 that was just a bit slower than his 51.52 from 2021. Georgia Tech’s Caio Pumputis was the only other man under 52 in the A-final, taking 4th in 51.77.

Last year’s runner-up, Noah Nichols of UVA, took placed 5th in 52.07 after pushing Somov with a 51.36 here last year.

Virginia Tech’s Carles Coll Marti, who won the 200 IM on Wednesday, finished just ahead of Louisville’s Denis Petrashov, 52.13 to 52.14.

Pitt junior Flynn Crisci rounded out the top eight with a 52.67, shaving 0.01s off of his time from this morning. Crisci transferred to Pitt from William & Mary in the wake of the turmoil surrounding the W&M team, which had been a CAA powerhouse, initially getting cut, then reinstated.

NC State’s Rafal Kusto won the B-final with a 51.86. Breaststroke has long been a relatively weak point for the otherwise-dominant Wolfpack, but Kusto has steadily improved, culminating in a sub-52 performance that’s not too far away from the NCAA ‘A’ cut, and should be more than enough to earn him a NCAA invite.

Men’s Platform Diving – Finals

  • Meet Record – 523.95, Nick McCrory (Duke), 2010
  • Conference Record – 548.90, Nick McCrory (Duke), 2011

Top 3:

  1. Zach Cooper (Miami) – 397.85
  2. Seamus Harding (Duke) – 376.30
  3. Max Flory (Miami) – 371.80

Women’s 400 Medley Relay – Timed Finals

  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut – 3:31.66
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut – 3:33.78
  • Meet Record – 3:26.26, Virginia, 2021
  • Conference Record – 3:24.58, NC State, 2021

Top 3:

  1. Virginia – 3:22.34
  2. NC State – 3:24.78
  3. UNC – 48.27

No, that is not a typo. The Virginia Cavaliers smoked a 3:22.34, smashing the US Open Record by over two seconds, and taking down the mark of 3:24.58 set by NC State at last year’s NCAAs.

Gretchen Walsh led off in 49.71, Alexis Wenger split 56.79, then a fresh Alex Walsh and Kate Douglass split 49.59 and 46.25 on fly and free, respectively, as UVA took down all teh records.

NC State had a great swim, registering a 3:24.78 that was under the meet record and appears to be the 3rd-fastest swim ever. Katharine Berkoff led off in 49.75, just a hair slower than Walsh, then 100 breast champion Sophie Hansson split 56.96 on breast. Kylee Alons got under 50 with a 49.80 fly split, and Abbey Webb anchored in 48.27.

UNC took 3rd in 3:30.87. Louisville was also under the NCAA ‘A’ cut with a 3:31.50.

Men’s 400 Medley Relay – Timed Finals

  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut – 3:05.47
  • NCAA ‘B’ Cut – 3:07.53
  • Meet Record – 3:02.80, Louisville, 2021
  • Conference Record – 3:01.52, Louisville, 2021

Top 3:

  1. NC State – 3:01.88
  2. Louisville – 3:02.02
  3. Virginia Tech – 3:02.71

Just when you thought it was safe to breathe, we got another exhilarating race in the final heat of the night.

Kacper Stokowski put NC State in the lead by over a second with a 44.39, faster than his individual time earlier this session. Rafal Kusto maintained that lead with a 51.55 breaststroke split, but at that point Louisville had narrowed the gap after a 45.63 leadoff from Mitchell Whyte and a 50.74 split by 100 breast champion Evgenii Somov.

The fly leg saw three different men go under 45. Nyls Korstanje split 44.52 for NC State, while Louisville got a 44.19 split from Nick Albiero.

Meanwhile, Virginia Tech stayed in the hunt, with a 45.54 leadoff from Samuel Tornqvist, a 51.45 breast split by AJ Pouch, and a 44.31 fly split from Antani Ivanov.

At this point, you might be wondering who the Wolfpack would anchor with — David Curtiss, Giovanni Izzo, Luke Miller, maybe Hunter Tapp? Nope, they went with freshman Sam Hoover. And while it looked like Louisville’s anchor, Abdelrhman Elaraby, and VT’s anchor, Youssef Ramadan, closed on Hoover a bit, the freshman split 41.42 to Elarby’s 41.46 and Ramadan’s 41.41 to get his hand on the wall first.

As the waves settled, the scoreboard showed NC State winning with a time of 3:01.88, setting a new meet record. Louisville got 2nd at 3:02.02, and Virginia Tech took 3rd in 3:02.71.

The battle in heat two was almost as great. Georgia Tech was in the lead for most of the race, but UVA’s Matt King split a wicked 40.62 on the anchor leg and got his hand on the wall just before Batur Unlu, as UVA won 3:05.33 to 3:05.39. King’s split ties him with Nathan Adrian, Blake Pieroni, and Justin Ress, for the 16th-fastest flying start ever, according to the USA Swimming database.

All of those top five teams were under the NCAA ‘A’ cut.

Scores After Day 4

Women

  1. Virginia – 1028.5
  2. NC State – 993
  3. Louisville – 787.5
  4. UNC – 553
  5. Duke – 534
  6. Virginia Tech – 460
  7. Notre Dame – 459
  8. Florida State – 401
  9. Miami (FL) – 336
  10. Georgia Tech – 274
  11. Pitt – 210
  12. Boston College – 135

The team race is definitely not over, as NC State has closed to within 35.5 points of UVA after an outstanding night of racing, meaning that every swim is going to count tomorrow, both in prelims and finals.

Louisville is solidly in 3rd, while intrastate rivals UNC and Duke will vie for 4th, and Virginia Tech and Notre Dame only separated by a point in the battle for 6th.

Men

  1. NC State – 1128.5
  2. Louisville – 935.5
  3. Virginia Tech – 790
  4. Virginia – 715
  5. Georgia Tech – 592.5
  6. Florida State – 504
  7. UNC – 432
  8. Pitt – 361
  9. Notre Dame – 326
  10. Duke – 275
  11. Boston College – 150.5
  12. Miami (FL) – 116

The men’s standings seem pretty firm at this point. NC State will win as long as they score some points tomorrow. The same goes for Louisville at 2nd.

Virginia Tech has a 75 point lead on Virginia, which isn’t as wide as it feels like it should be, considering some of the big swims the Hokies have gotten from guys like Ivanov and Ramadan. The Cavalier men showed up big for the  50 free, and if they can do the same for the 100 free tomorrow, they could make things interesting.

Further down the standings, with men’s diving complete, Boston College is assured of finishing ahead of the diving-only Miami team for the first time since 2018.

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Elle
4 months ago

Stanford must be on the edge of their seats

K Chilly
4 months ago

Crazy how young the NC State mens team is

1 5th year (52 points)
2 seniors (74 points) (one eligible for 5th year)
7 juniors(275.5)
4 sophomores (187 points)
4 freshmen (184 points)

Compare that to Louisville

3 5th years (145.5 points)
6 seniors (182 points)
3 juniors (76 points)
1 sophomore (47 points)
5 freshmen (127 points)

Full analysis of both genders including relays coming after Finals tomorrow

Snarky
Reply to  K Chilly
4 months ago

Fascinating! Stats rock

Love to swim
4 months ago

What are the team scores? Is there a place I should be looking?

Snarky
4 months ago

So cool to see NCST women just crush the wins tonight after the UVA string of wins. Three out of three individual wins tonight. Congrats to Berkoff, Hanson and Arens. UVA is clearly the standard bearer but the entire conference is crazy fast!

NCSwimFan
4 months ago

Might be the craziest night of swimming in conference meet history. WOW. ACC swimming!

Swimfan
4 months ago

What’s the fastest split ever recorded in the Men’s 100 free and fly ? Anyone with a list ?

Swim nerd
Reply to  Robert Gibbs
4 months ago

When dressel’s been 39.9 and 42.8 off a flat start, shows how good his start actually is

Silent Observer
4 months ago

35 pts between UVA and NCState women. who would have seen this one coming.

I hope this conference depth pays off at NCs in a month as well. Will UVA and NCState become the modern Cal/Standford with them battling for nat titles and conference titles for the next years to come?!?

Snarky
Reply to  Silent Observer
4 months ago

Totally. Amazing meet. Depth versus high end talent on the Women’s side and a free for all on the men’s side. The ACC is the class conference in the country. Both genders.

Last edited 4 months ago by Snarky
WahooSwimFan
Reply to  Silent Observer
4 months ago

Yes, and with the extra Covid year, we could see all these swimmers plus more next year as both UVA and NCSU have great recruiting classes coming in!

NOP
4 months ago

Matt King 40.6🤯 Surprised UVA used Grender over Aikins.

Swammer11
Reply to  NOP
4 months ago

Yeah seems like they had faster back options there.

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