2024 ACC Championships: Day 1 Finals Live Recap

by Robert Gibbs 194

February 20th, 2024 ACC, College, News, Previews & Recaps


The 2024 ACC Championships gets underway tonight from Greensboro with timed finals in the 200 medley and 800 free relays along with the finals of the women’s 3-meter diving event.

Last year, the Virginia women started the meet in record-breaking fashion, as they swam the fastest 200 medley relay ever. We’re not sure that’ll be the case tonight. We’ve been told by someone at the meet that Gretchen Walsh arrived to the pool only about 15 minutes before the session that began. That’s a pretty good sign that the Cavaliers may load up the 800 free relay, the only one of the five NCAA relays in which they don’t own the all-time mark. Walsh currently leads the nation in the individual 200 free with a 1:41.32.

On the men’s side, NC State waited to smashethe US Open record in the 200 medley relay at NCAAs last year. They’re probably the favorites for both relays tonight, as they won both events last year and look even stronger this year. The last time a school other than NC State or Louisville won the 200 medley or 800 free relay at ACCs was 2013, when Florida State won the medley and Virginia won the 800 free.


  • NCAA Record: 1:31.73, Virginia – 2023 ACC Championships
  • ACC Record: 1:31.73, Virginia – 2023 ACC Championships
  • ACC Championship Record: 1:31.73, Virginia (2023)
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:36.24

Top 8:

  1. Virginia – 1:33.84 (A)
  2. NC State – 1:34.22 (A)
  3. UNC – 1:35.15 (A)
  4. Louisville – 1:35.37 (A)
  5. Duke – 1:35.85 (A)
  6. Florida State – 1:36.20 (A)
  7. Miami (FL) – 1:37.04
  8. Pitt – 1:37.09

As we thought may happen, Virginia opted to go with something less than their ‘A’ squad here, and while NC State pushed throughout, the Cavaliers still won.

Helen Noble actually staked the Wolfpack to an early lead with a 23.80 backstroke leg, while Reilly Tiltmann went 24.28. Jasmine Nocentini then put UVA into the lead with an incredibly fast 25.49 breaststroke split, followed by a 22.80 fly leg from Carly Novelline. Heading into the anchor leg, NC State was over a second behind after splits of 26.88 from Abby Arens and 23.14 from Miriam Sheehan. But Katharine Berkoff ripped a 20.40 anchor leg and appeared to be closing on UVA’s Maxine Parker. But NC State ran out of pool, as Parker’s 21.27 leg was enough to hold off Berkoff, 1:33.84 to 1:34.22.

Another four schools got under the NCAA ‘A’ cut of 1:36.24. UNC’s Skyler Smith had the second-fastest breast leg in the field (26.20) to help the Tar Heels to a 3rd place finish in 1:35.15. Louisville’s Gabi Albiero split 21.22 on the anchor leg as the Cardinals took 4th in 1:35.37, followed by Duke (1:35.85) and Florida State (1:36.20).


  • NCAA Record: 1:20.67, NC State – 2023 NCAA Championships
  • ACC Record: 1:20.67, NC State – 2023 NCAA Championships
  • ACC Championship Record: 1:21.69, NC State – 2022
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:23.71

Top 8:

  1. NC State – 1:21.87 (A)
  2. Virginia Tech – 1:22.76 (A)
  3. Notre Dame – 1:23.34 (A)
  4. Florida State – 1:23.43 (A)
  5. Louisville – 1:23.44 (A)
  6. Virginia – 1:23.46 (A)
  7. Pitt – 1:24.05
  8. UNC – 1:24.59

NC State followed up their US Open Record at last year’s NCAAs with an American Record to open up the men’s competition here. Aiden Hayes led off in 20.44, Sam Hoover split 23.51 on breast, Luke Miller went 19.80 on fly, and then redshirt freshman Quintin McCarty scorched an 18.11 anchor leg, touching in 1:21.87. That’s an entirely different lineup than the Wolfpack used last March en route to their record-setting 1:20.67.

Update — it appears that the Florida men broke NC State’s new American Record just minutes later at the SEC Championships with a time of 1:21.66.

Over the seven ACC championships from 2008 to 2014, seven different schools won titles in this event. Starting with NC State’s win in 2014, only they and Louisville have stood atop the podium, and both teams have won at NCAAs as well.

Hayes is better known as a butterflyer, and so is Virginia Tech’s Youssef Ramadan, who led off for the Hokies in 20.79. Carles Coll Marti, fresh off of Worlds, split 23.15 on breast while cutting it very close with a 0.00RT. Will Hayon split 20.23 on fly, and freshman Brendan Whitfield anchored in 18.59, good for 1:22.76, eclipsing the school mark of 1:22.82.

Notre Dame has been looking fast all year, and they finished ahead of a few traditional powerhouses in this event for 3rd. Marcus Gentry led off in 20.91, Tyler Christianson split 24.05 on breast, and Cason Wilburn went 20.19. But it was fifth year transfer Abdelrahman Elarby who really made the difference, as he rocked an 18.19 anchor leg and stopped the clock in 1:23.34, setting a new school record by 0.01s. Notably, the Fighting Irish didn’t use sprinter Chris Guiliano, freeing him to swim the 800 free relay later this session.

Florida State took 3rd in 1:23.43, followed by Louisville (1:23.44) and Virginia (1:23.46). Virginia was actually in the lead at the halfway point, after Matt Brownstead led off in 20.75 and Noah Nichols posted the fastest breaststroke split in the field with a 23.09. But a 20.70 split from Tim Connery on the fly leg dropped them from contention. The top six were all under the NCAA ‘A’ cut, while Pitt (1:24.05) grabbed a ‘B’ cut, thanks largely to another 20.70 leadoff from Kryzystof Radziszewski.


  • ACC Record: 439.70, Abby Johnston (DUKE) – 2010 ACC Championships
  • ACC Championship Record: 439.70, Abby Johnston (DUKE) – 2010 ACC Championships

Top 8:

  1. Aranza Vazquez (UNC) – 366.30
  2. Margo Omeara (Duke) – 355.35
  3. Grace Austin (Virginia Tech) – 331.70
  4. Grace Courtney (Notre Dame) – 325.55
  5. Calie Brady (Notre Dame) – 319.20
  6. Lindsay Gizzi (Louisville) – 317.80
  7. Else Prassterink (Louisville) – 310.05
  8. Samantha Vear (FSU) – 302.30

UNC’s Aranza Vazquez swept all three diving events last year, and she successfully defended her title in the first event of the program with a 366.30 victory in the 3m. Vazquez also won this event in 2021, giving her three of the last four ACC titles.


  • NCAA Record: 6:45.91, Stanford – 2017 NCAA Championships
  • ACC Record: 6:49.82, Virginia – 2023 NCAA Championships
  • ACC Championship Record: 6:53.27, Virginia (2022)
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 7:00.86

Top 8:

  1. Virginia – 6:46.28 (A)
  2. Louisville – 7:00.31 (A)
  3. NC State – 7:04.16
  4. UNC – 7:04.31
  5. Miami (FL) – 7:04.79
  6. Virginia Tech – 7:05.01
  7. Duke – 7:06.32
  8. FSU – 7:08.51

Gretchen Walsh has been throwing down amazing times all season, and we thought she might go after the all-time 200 free record while leading. She went out like a banshee, splitting 22.24/24.91 to go 47.15 to the feet. She clearly felt it on the back half, and fell off the pace a bit where a pair of 26s. That was still fast enough to touch in 1:40.23, making her the 3rd-fastest performer in history. That was also more than enough to put the Cavaliers in contention to go after Stanford’s legendary 6:45.91 from 2017. Alex Walsh followed her sister with a. 1:41.23 split, Aimee Canny went 1:42.24, and Ella Nelson, chasing down Katie Ledecky’s split, anchored in 1:42.58. All told, the quartet couldn’t quite nab the all-time mark, but their finish of 6:46.28 appears to be the 2nd-fastest performance ever.

That’s Virginia’s 17th-straight ACC title in this event, having touched first every year since 2007, when the Tar Heels earned that honor. In fact, since 1982, when NC State last won this event, only four different schools have won the 800 free relay, and two of them, Clemson and Maryland no longer sponsor swimming.

Louisville finished over 14 seconds behind, but still nearly 4 seconds ahead of the rest of the field. Fernanda Gomes Celidonio led off in 1:45.36, followed by Summer Cardwell (1:45.21), Tristen Ulett (1:45.75), and Paige Hetrick (1:43.98). Louisville’s time of 7:00.31 gave them the only other NCAA ‘A’ cut in the field. NC State (7:04.16), UNC (7:04.31), Miami (7:04.79), and Virginia Tech (7:05.01) all finished under the ‘B’ cut.


  • NCAA Record: 6:03.89, Texas – 2022 NCAA Championships
  • ACC Record: 6:05.31 – 2018 NCAA Championships
  • ACC Championship Record: 6:08.22, NC State (2022)
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 6:16.02

Top 8:

  1. Louisville – 6:09.87 (A)
  2. NC State – 6:10.22 (A)
  3. Virginia Tech – 6:14.54 (A)
  4. Notre Dame – 6:14.93 (A)
  5. Florida State – 6:17.96
  6. UNC – 6:18.16
  7. Georgia Tech – 6:18.50
  8. Pitt – 6:19.92

What a race. In the second heat, Chris Guiliano put Notre Dame in the lead early with a 1:31.16 leadoff that tied the ACC 200 free record owned by Luke Miller of NC State.

A few schools were in the race early on, but it eventually turned into a battle between Louisville and NC State. Murillo Sartori led off for the Cardinals at 1:32.35, followed by Guy Brooks (1:32.41), and Denis Loktev (1:33.09). Anchor Gustavo Saldo held off NC State with a 1:32.02 split, touching in 6:09.87.

NC State opted not to use Miller on this relay after he swam teh medley earlier in the session. Instead, freshman Daniel Diehl led off in 1:32.93, followed by Noah Bower (1:32.56), Jerry Fox (1:32.68), and Arsenio Bustos (1:32.05). Their time of 6:10.22 put them over four seconds ahead of the rest of the field.

Virginia Tech stuck around in the first half with a 1:32.45 leadoff from Luis Dominguez and a 1:32.86 second leg from freshman Brendan Whitfield, ultimately taking 3rd in 6:14.54. Notre Dame also ended up under the NCAA ‘A’ cut with a 6:14.93. UVA appeared to have won the first heat with a 6:17.95 that would’ve put them 5th overall, but were DQ’d for an early takeoff.

Men’s 1m Diving – Finals

  • ACC Record: 439.70, Abby Johnston (DUKE) – 2010 ACC Championships
  • ACC Championship Record: 439.70, Abby Johnston (DUKE) – 2010 ACC Championships

Top 8:

  1. Brodie Scapens (Miami) – 395.00
  2. Dylan Reed (Pitt) – 387.60
  3. Max Fowler (Georgia Tech) – 376.55
  4. Bên Nguyễn (Notre Dame) – 357.40
  5. Alexander Hart (UNC) – 347.25
  6. Daniel Knapp (Notre Dame) – 340.05
  7. Renato Calderaro (NC State) – 330.24
  8. Farouk Farouk (Miami) – 313.55

Brodie Scapens of Miami earned his first ACC title with a 395.00 to take 1st in the 1m diving event. Pitt’s Dylan Reed took 2nd in 387.60, followed by Georgia Tech’s Max Fowler (376.55).

Miami and Notre Dame each put two men into the top eight, and those points helped propel the Fighting Irish to the top of the men’s standings after day one.

Team Scores After Day 1


  1. North Carolina – 159
  2. Louisville – 155
  3. Virginia – 154
  4. NC State – 144
  5. Duke – 142
  6. Notre Dame – 139
  7. Florida State – 128
  8. Virginia Tech – 115
  9. Miami – 96
  10. (TIE) Pitt/Georgia Tech – 85


  1. Notre Dame – 176
  2. NC State – 159
  3. Pitt – 151
  4. UNC – 138
  5. Florida State – 132
  6. Virginia Tech – 124.5
  7. Louisville /Georgia Tech – 114
  8. (tie)
  9. Duke – 88
  10. Miami (FL) – 54
  11. Virginia – 53.5

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1 month ago

Will UVA men have to time trial the 800 free relay if they want to enter it at NCAAs? I don’t think they have raced it this year yet to get a qualifying time.

1 month ago

I’m not sure which is more impressive — the brute force SPEED Gretchen has at her disposal or how out of shape/failure to push through any level of pain on the back half she displays. :47.15/:53.08. That is a 5.92 second drop-off, which is almost unheard of by athletes of her talent.

Seems more like what you might see at the local age group meet for the 10&Un or 11-12s. It seems to correlate to her difficulty in the last 10 meters of her LCM 100 Fly, compared to 100 SCY.

She’s obviousy very good, but, oh, what might she be?

Juan Cena
1 month ago

22.2 to the feet is like a guy going out 19.0 to the feet

I miss the ISL
1 month ago

Do people not understand the concept of helping a team build? Where were UVA women before A. Walsh and KD got there? Barely scraping the top 10 at NCAAs. Sort of similar to the UVA men now. If commits went to the same programs year after year, then this sport would be so boring. Everyone calling for Heilman and Williamson to decommit after a subpar performance from the UVA men (plus we’ve only seen two relays) is ridiculous. They are obviously committed to bringing about a revolution and a charge to the top, similar to what KD, Ella Nelson, and the Walshes did when they committed. Now look at them. These things take time.

1 month ago

Nichols 23.09 sheesh

1 month ago

with Florida’s swim, I think it makes sense to keep Gretchen on the 4×200. Unless I’m missing a key swimmer or something, they should be able to comfortably get the job done in the 4×100 medley with like a Tillmann-Nocentini-A.Walsh-Parker/Canny lineup, while dropping Gretchen puts them in a potentially precarious position against Florida.

Bill Lumberg
1 month ago

G Walsh doing that pool dirrrrrrty

1 month ago

Off topic but did big 10 champs start today? I can’t find it on meet mobile and haven’t seen anything here.

Reply to  Robert Gibbs
1 month ago


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