2023 ACC Men’s Champs Fan Guide: NC State Primed to Start New Win Streak

by Robert Gibbs 22

February 14th, 2023 College, News, Previews & Recaps

2023 ACC Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships

The 2023 ACC Swimming & Diving Championships kick off tomorrow evening in Greensboro, NC. For the second year in a row, the meet will be held in a combined-gender, five-day format. Keep reading below to get the scoop on the schedule, stars, showdowns, and our predictions for how this always-exciting meet will shake out on the mens’ side.

Event Schedule


  • 200 medley relay
  • 800 free relay
  • Women’s 3-meter
  • Men’s 1-meter


  • 200 free relay
  • 500 free
  • 200 IM
  • 50 Free
  • Women’s 1-meter


  • 400 IM
  • 100 Fly
  • 200 Free
  • Men’s 3-meter


  • 200 fly
  • 100 back
  • 100 breast
  • Women’s Platform
  • 400 medley relay


  • 1650 free
  • 200 back
  • 100 free
  • 200 breast
  • Men’s Platform
  • 400 free relay


  1. NC State – 1501.5
  2. Louisville – 1192.5
  3. Virginia Tech – 1054
  4. UVA – 1041
  5. Georgia Tech – 742.5
  6. Florida State – 676
  7. UNC – 529
  8. Notre Dame – 474
  9. Pitt – 431
  10. Duke – 341
  11. Boston College – 195.5
  12. Miami (FL) – 116

Over the last decade, the ACC has turned into one of the most exciting college conferences. The rise of the conference has largely followed the trajectory of the NC State Wolfpack, who have dominated the conference under head coach Braden Holloway. NC State has won seven of the last eight conference team titles, and they appear to be the heavy favorite for this year, even without freshmen Quintin McCarty or Michael Cotter, who are missing from the psych sheets.

Louisville is the only team that has interrupted NC State’s winning streak after narrowly capturing the team title in 2021. They appear a bit more vulnerable this year without the likes of Nick Albiero, but they have a strong international contingent that could make some noise this week. Virginia Tech and UVA were the last two teams besides NC State or Louisville to win conference championships, although each those titles came under previous coaching regimes. Virginia Tech finished 13 points ahead of Virginia last year. Both teams have some electric stars at the top of the roster, but like NC State, both are missing some big names this week, including freshman Carl Bloebaum on the VT side, and Matt King, Connor Boyle, and freshman Kamal Muhammad on the UVA side.

Outside of the top four teams, arguably the biggest storyline this season has been coaching changes. Notre Dame got most of their new coaching staff, including head coach Chris Linaduer, from Louisville. Pitt brought in Chase Kreitler from Cal to replace John Hargis. Boston College is in its first year under former Notre Dame assistant Joe Brinkman, while Duke is led by interim head coach Doak Finch after the death of longtime head coach Dan Colella.

Georgia Tech has a lot of talent despite having lost a ton of points now that Christian Ferraro and Caio Pumputis have moved on after five years with the Yellow Jackets. Florida State has been solidly in the middle of the pack the last few years, although they’re not quite the sprint powerhouse there were relatively-recently. UNC is still looking for a big bump after getting a new coach in Mark Gangloff a few years ago, while the diving-only Miami will be trying to get back ahead of Boston College and other schools after finishing in last in 2022.


Boston College –  Jack Doyle (sophomore IM/breaststroker), Zach Szmania (junior d-freestyler) – Szmania finished 15th in the 1650 free last year, becoming the first Eagles man in quite a while to earn double digit points at ACCs. Doyle picked up 6.5 points with a 22nd-place finish in the 400 IM, and he swam breaststroke on the medley relays.

Duke – Seamus Harding (junior diver), Cole Reznick (5th year breaststroker) Harding was once again Duke’s top individual scorer last year, netting more than the double the individual points of any other man on the Blue Devils’ roster. Reznick picked up 13 points with a 14th-place finish in the 200 IM; although he missed scoring in either breaststroke contest last year, he’s seeded to make the B-final in both this year.

Florida State – Jacob Helling (junior diver), Mason Herbet (junior IMer/backstroker), Peter Varjasi (senior sprint freestyler) – Helling is the Seminoles’ top returning scorer, thanks to a 6th-place finish in the 3m event last year and scoring efforts in the other two diving events. Varjasi and Herbet hold the #2 and #3 seeds in the 200 IM heading into this week. Varjsasi led the team in scoring in 2021 thanks to a pair of A-final appearances in the 100 and 200 freestyles, but made a trio of B-finals last year. Herbet made the A-final in the 100 back last year, and is seeded 10th in the 200 back this season.

Georgia Tech – Berke Saka (sophomore IMer/backstroker), Mert Kilavuz (sophomore distance freestyler), Ruben Lechuga (senior diver), Baturalp Unlu (junior freestyler)   Saka is the Yellow Jackets’ leading returning scorer, and is seeded 1st in the 200 back and 2nd in the 100 back. Unlu won the 200 free as a freshman and holds the top seed in the 500 free this year. Likewise, Kilavuz buoys the distance group after finishing in the top six in both the 500 and the 1650 free last year. Lechuga should add big points in the 1m and 3m diving events, where he finished 2nd and 4th last season.

Louisville –  Dalton Lowe (junior sprint free/fly/back), Denis Petrashov (sophomore breaststroker),  Abdelrahman Elaraby (senior sprint freestyler), Murilo Sartori (sophomore freestyler) – Elarby (aka Haridi Sameh) serves as the foundation for the Cardinals’ sprint free relays, and should make three A-finals, including the 100 fly. Petrashov fills the breaststroke void left by the departure of Evgeni Somov, and could challenge for wins in both breaststroke events. Lowe is a jack-of-all trades sprinter who generated headlines last year with a 19.5 fly split on the medley relay. Sartori anchors the middle distance group and finished 3rd in the 200 free last season.

North Carolina – Anton Down-Jenkins (junior diver), Patrick Hussey (junior IMer/butterflyer), Tomas Sungaila (senior freestyler) Down-Jenkins led the Tar Heels last year in individual points with a first-place effort in the 3m and a second-place finish in the 1m. Hussey is seeded in the top 8 in both the 400 IM and the 200 fly after making three B-finals last year. Poelke had a nice improvement curve as a freshman and should haul in points in both butterfly events. Sungaila will be looking to reverse a downtrend in the 200 free: he  took 3rd in the 200 free in 2020, won the B-final in 2021, then won the C-final last year; he’s seeded 9th this week.

NC State – David Curtiss (sophomore sprint freestyler), Ross Dant (senior d-freestyler), Will Gallant (junior distance freestyler), Luke Miller (junior freestyler), Kacper Stokowski (senior backstroker) – NC State is loaded, with seven guys who scored 70+ points last season, so in the interest of brevity, and with apologies to the likes of Noah Bowers, Aiden Hayes, Noah Henderson, Nyls Korstanje, and Hunter Tapp, we’ll focus on NC State’s returning individual champions. Curtiss took the 50 free as a freshman last year, but his 100 seems to be  improving as well. Dant and Gallant form the core of a deep distance group; Dant won the 500 free and Gallant the 1650 last year. Miller bridges the gap between the sprint free and distance groups as the defending champion in the 200 free. Stokowski won the 100 back at both ACCs and NCAAs.

Notre Dame – Tyler Christianson (junior IMer/breaststroker) Chris Guiliano (sophomore sprinter), Jack Hoagland (senior distance freestyler), Tommy Janton (freshman backstroker) Hoagland missed last year’s meet, but is back this year, and is seeded 2nd in the 500 free, 1st in the 400 IM, and 8th in the 1650. Christianson is the Fighting Irish’s top returning scorer from last year’s meet after finishing 7th in the 400 IM.  Guiliano has been swimming fast all season, and is seeded 5th in the 50 free and 2nd in the 100 free. Janton has also impressed in-season as a freshman, and is seeded 8th in the 100 back and 4th in the 200 back.

Pitt – Cameron Cash (sophomore diver), Dylan Reed (senior diver), Cooper Van Der Laan (5th year breastroker)   Last year, Cash and Reed together scored almost as many individual points at the rest of the Panthers’ roster combined, as both men made the A-final for the 1m and the B-final for the 3m. Van Der Laan took 3rd in the 100 breast for the second straight year last year, and will aiming for the A-final in the 200 after slipping to 14th in 2022. 

Virginia – Jack Aikins (sophomore backstroker/freestyler), Matt Brownstead (junior sprint freestyler), Tim Connery (sophomore IMer/freestyler),  Noah Nichols (junior breaststroker) – With Connor Boyle and Matt King out of the meet, the Cavalier lose two of their biggest stars, but there’s some depth here. Aikins should make the A-final in the 50 free and the 200 back, and you have to think an A-final in the 100 back could be in the cards as well. Brownstead won the 50 free as a freshman and finished 2nd last year. This is Connery’s first ACC championship after transferring from Texas, and he should be able to make A-finals in three events. Nichols has been all season after a sophomore slump (relatively speaking), and should challenge for the win in both breastroke events. 

Virginia TechCarles Coll Marti (junior IMer/breastroker), Luis Dominguez (sophomore freestyler), Youssef Ramadan (junior freestyler/flyer), Noah Zawadzki (fifth year diver)  Coll Marti is the presumptive favorite to win the 200 IM after going sub-1:40 at NCAAs last year. Ramadan, like Brownstead, is part of an incredibly fast class of sprint freestylers, but is also one of the fastest men ever in the 100 fly. Zawadzki should once again add big diving points after finishing in the top seven in all three diving events last year. Dominguez, who set the Spanish national record in the 100 freestyle (LCM) this past summer, is seeded in the top eight in both the 500 and the 200 freestyles.


50 Free

This will probably be an annual entry on this list for the foreseeable future, as the conference boasts some of the best sprint squads in the NCAA. Curtiss should probably be the favorite after winning this event last season in 18.74 and holding the top seed this season. But Brownstead was the highest ACC finisher a month later at ACCs with a 18.60, and won the ACC title as a freshman in 2021. Louisville’s Elarby finished 2nd last year, less than a tenth behind Curtiss at 18.83, with Ramadan of Virginia Tech just a hair behind him (18.87). Add in Korstanje and Henderson, both of whom are members of the sub-19 club, and this could be a race for the ages.

100 Breast

The conference as a whole has had some great breaststrokers the last few years, and this year is no exception. UVA’s Noah Nichols and Virginia Tech’s Coll Marti are currently ranked 4th and 5th in the nation this season at 51.44 and 51.50, respectively. Pitt’s Van Der Laan finished 3rd at ACCs last year in 51.77, making him the highest-finishing returner. For a little added drama, Virginia Tech’s AJ Pouch and Louisville’s Petrashov are set to square off again after tying for 16th in prelims at NCAAs. Pouch won that contest, finishing 15th overall. Both of them are also in the sub-52 club; this should be a chaotic, but fun, 100 breast.

200 Back

You want close? How about this? Jack Aikins, Kacper Stokowski, and Hunter Tapp finished within 0.04s of each other in the B-final at last year’s NCAA championships, with UVA’s Aikins winning that heat with a 1:39.26. That same trio finished 2nd, 3rd, and 5th at ACCs, again led by Aikins, followed by Tapp, then Stokowski.

Last year’s 6th-place finisher at ACCs, Georgia Tech’s Berke Saka, leads the psych sheet with a 1:40.02. Look for improvement from Virginia Tech’s Nico Garcia, who made the final in the long course version of this event at the Tokyo Olympics, and is seeded 3rd. Notre Dame freshman Tommy Janton is seeded 4th at 1:41.08, and could be in the mix as well with a good swim.


Up until last year, we’d get to cheat and make final selections after the men’s diving portion has wrapped up. But now that diving happens concurrently with the swimming, it makes things a little more complicated.

Barring some wholly unforeseen disaster, the Wolfpack should run away with this meet, and they could even top last year’s record-setting point total. Louisville has lost some talent, but the Cardinals normally swim very well at this meet and should hold on for second. But Virginia Tech could make things interesting, especially if some of the international guys who made their debuts last year can haul in the points. UVA was only 13 points behind VT last year, but would have to swim incredibly well to make up the potential points lost with the absences of King and Boyle.

Once again, it feels like there’s a big gap between the top four schools and the rest of the conference. Georgia Tech lose a lot with a couple key graduations, but they’ve also got the pieces to hold on to fourth place for another year. Florida State also looks primed to hold steady at 5th. Notre Dame has been swimming well this year under the new coaching staff, but UNC should haul in some big dive points. Pitt could be a school to watch under Kreitler, but it feels like there’s just a bit too much of a gap to move them out of ninth. One of the more intriguing team battles could be the race between Duke and Boston College. The Eagles have been the perennial cellar-dweller since they joined the ACC, but they could push Duke this year, at least in terms of swimming points.

And yes, we’re picking the conference to finish in the same order as last year. No, that’s not too likely, but that’s the way the projections seem to work out on the eve of competition.


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

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3 months ago

I think Louisville and GT drop and UNC and ND move up. My prediction:

1. NC State by a landslide
2. VT narrowly beats UVA
3. UVA
4. Louisville – Lost too much to stay top 3
5. ND – Big rebound year for the Irish
6. UNC
7. FSU
8. GT – Not enough after top few swimmers
10. Duke
11. BC
12. Miami

I think VT/UVA for 2nd will be the most exciting team battle of the meet. Too bad for UVA missing their 2 swimmers otherwise I think they would be a lock for 2nd.

3 months ago

That cover of Kacper Stokowski gave me so much dopamine

3 months ago

Let’s go Tar Heels!!!

3 months ago

What happened to Carl Bloebaum? He was the star of the Ohio HS State meet and went to Va Tech.

Reply to  Popeye
3 months ago

He’s been very sick this season and missed a lot of meets because of it

Reply to  VAHokie
3 months ago

Bummer…. I hope he recovers. Seems like a great kid with a lot of heart.

3 months ago

Heels will move up to 4th or 5th.

Reply to  Canuck
3 months ago

As a Tar Heel, I love this enthusiasm. As a realist in the swimming world, still might be a year or two away from this. Think that 6th would be a solid finish for the Tar Heel men this year, with 5th as the cieling. Should have some more individual scorers at NCAAs than years past, so absolutely trending in the right direction.

Last edited 3 months ago by TarHeelSwam
3 months ago

If NCS doesn’t put Curtiss on the 2 free relay like the refused to last year at NCs, I’ll throw a fit

Reply to  Andrew
3 months ago

Did you see how he performed at NCAAs last year? Braden made the correct call in NOT putting him on the relay.

K Chilly
3 months ago

Really looking forward to the first relays for NCSU. In the first minutes of a meet starting on Tuesday we will have a decent insight to what stars like Stokowski, Curtiss, and Korstanje have in store plus if Mason Hunter can fill the breastroke void. Follow that up with Miller and a little insight into the mid distance depth in the 800 free relay.

The only question mark will be if we see a quad D (Dan and Dino Distance Demolition) like last year.

3 months ago

1:20 point medley relay coming from NC State. Ypu heard it here first.

K Chilly
Reply to  Snarky
3 months ago

last year was 1:21.69. Three of the 4 remain with breaststroke switching from Kusto to Hunter. I could see them putting up something notable.

Reply to  Snarky
3 months ago

NCAAs is the big meet so I doubt they’ll be at their best this week/end.

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