2024 ACC Championships: Day 2 Finals Live Recap

by Robert Gibbs 252

February 21st, 2024 ACC, College, News, Previews & Recaps


After a quick morning session that was headlined by Gretchen Walsh‘s all-time record in the women’s 50 freestyle, the first full night of finals from the 2024 ACC Championships promises to be electric.

Walsh will take on the 50 free final in addition to the 200 free relay at the beginning of the session, an event Virginia has won four years in a row.

Her older sister Alex Walsh will be another name to watch as the top seed in the women’s 200 IM, eyeing her third conference title in the event, while UVA will feature prominently in the women’s 500 free where they have the three top seeds and four swimmers in the ‘A’ final.

On the men’s side, Notre Dame’s Chris Guiliano followed up on his record-breaking relay lead-off on Tuesday by breaking the ACC Championship Record in the prelims of the 50 free, making him the top seed by more than two-tenths in 18.57.

Louisville’s Ilia Sibirtsev is the top seed in the men’s 500 free after hitting a PB of 4:15.30 in the heats, while Lane 4 in the 200 IM will be reserved for UVA’s Tim Connery, who set a best time of his own in 1:42.00 this morning.


  • NCAA Record: 1:23.87, Virginia – 2023
  • ACC Record: 1:23.87, Virginia – 2023
  • ACC Championship Record: 1:23.87, Virginia – 2023
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:28.43

Top 8:

  1. Virginia – 1:23.63
  2. Louisville – 1:25.39
  3. NC State – 1:26.24
  4. Duke – 1:28.62
  5. Pitt – 1:29.09
  6. Virginia Tech – 1:29.18
  7. UNC – 1:29.21
  8. Notre Dame – 1:29.56

The Cavalier women shaved 0.24s off of their own ACC, NCAA, and US Open Record with a 1:23.63 to kick off the night. Jasmine Nocentini led off in 21.55, a bit slower than her time in the indivudal 50 this morning. Gretchen Walsh jumped in, and there was an audible gasp from the crowd as the scoreboard registered her touch, 19.95, making her the first woman ever to go under 20 seconds. Her sister Alex Walsh followed with a 20.82, and Maxine Parker anchored in 21.31.

Louisville took 2nd in 1:25.39 with a quartet of 21s: Gabi Albiero led off in 21.81, Christina Regenauer (21.05) and Julia Dennis (21.07) had nearly-identical splits, and Ella Welch anchored in 21.45.

Katharine Berkoff put NC State in the lead early with a 21.14 leadoff, followed by Abby Arens (21.60), Meghan Donald (21.89), and Miriam Sheehan (21.61), good for 1:26.24 total. Berkoff’s leadoff moves her to #6 all time, just ahead of Simone Manuel (21.17). Berkoff came into today with a lifetime best of 21.52, then improved to 21.38 in this morning’s prelims before taking nearly another quarter second off of that time tonight. She’ll have another chance to improve her time in the individual 50 free later this evening.


  • NCAA Record: 1:13.35, Florida – 2023
  • ACC Record: 1:14.44, NC State – 2023
  • ACC Championship Record: 1:14.47, Virginia – 2022
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:16.80

Top 8:

  1. NC State – 1:14.44 (American Record)
  2. Virginia – 1:15.20
  3. Virginia Tech – 1:15.47
  4. Notre Dame – 1:15.59
  5. Florida State – 1:15.81
  6. UNC – 1:16.76
  7. Louisville – 1:16.96
  8. Pitt – 1:17.16

Another race, another record. The NC State men didn’t swim the fastest relay ever, but they were able to take down an American Record that UVA set at this meet just two years ago.

Quintin McCarty got things going for the Wolfpack with a 18.93 leadoff, then the next three men all split within 0.08s of each: Drew Salls (18.53), Noah Henderson (18.45), and Luke Miller (18.53). That’s the second American Record in two nights for the Wolfpack, who took down that mark in the 200 medley relay last night. NC State is so deep that they didn’t even need to use 50 free A-finalist Aiden Hayes, who finished ahead of Henderson and Miller (both B-finalists) in this morning’s prelims. Somewhat surprisingly, that’s the Wolfpack first back-to-back win in this event since they won five in a row from 2014 to 2018.

Virginia was actually in the lead at the halfway point, thanks to a 18.74 leadoff from Matt Brownstead and a 18.67 split from Connor Boyle. They faded a bit on Simon Lins 19.27 leg, but August Lamb brought it home in 18.52. Brownstead, Boyle, and Lamb were all part of the quartet that set the American Record in 2022, and they all swam nearly identical times to their swims from then. The big difference is that tonight UVA was lacking Matt King and his 18.49 split.

Virginia Tech also got three of four splits under 19. Defending 100 free champ Youssef Ramadan led off in 18.64, then freshman Brendan Whitfield rocked a 18.64 second leg. Carles Coll Marti (18.83) and Mario Molla Yannes (19.10) closed out it for the Hokies, who touched in 1:15.47.

Notre Dame’s Chris Guiliano rattled his conference meet record from this morning with a 18.63 leadoff, helping lead the Fighting Irish to a 1:15.59 finish. Florida State (1:15.81) and UNC (1:16.76) were also under the NCAA ‘A’ standard.


  • NCAA Record: 4:24.06, Katie Ledecky (Stanford) – 2017
  • ACC Record: 4:28.90, Leah Smith (Virginia) – 2017
  • ACC Championship Record: 4:30.74, Leah Smith (Virginia) – 2016
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 4:37.89
  • 2023 NCAA Invite Time: 4:41.09

Top 8:

  1. Cavan Gormsen (Virginia) – 4:38.43
  2. Aimee Canny (Virginia) – 4:39.96
  3. Sophia Knapp (Virginia) – 4:40.26
  4. Chase Travis (Virginia Tech) – 4:42.66
  5. Emma Hastings (NC State) – 4:42.77
  6. Brooke Travis (NC State) – 4:43.99
  7. Yara Hierath (NC State) – 4:44.70
  8. Maddie Donohoe (Virginia) – 4:47.75

With half of the A-final consisting of Virginia swimmers, it wasn’t too surprising to find three Cavaliers battling for the lead over the final lengths. But it was freshman Cavan Gormsen who appeared to increase speed over the final strokes, touching first in a 4:38.43. That’s a bit off of her lifetime best of 4:36.34 from last spring, but it’s a season-best by roughly four-tenths of a second and well under last year’s NCAA qualifying time.

Teammates Aimee Canny (4:30.96) and Sophia Knapp (4:40.26) took 2nd and 3rd. Virginia Tech’s Chase Travis out touched NC State’s Emma Hastings, 4:42.66 to 4:42.77. Hastings led a trio of Wolfpack women that included Chase’s sister Brooke Travis (4:43.99) and Yara Hierath (4:44.70). The fourth Cavalier, Maddie Donohoe, took 8th in 4:47.75.

This marks the fifth year in a row that a Cavalier woman has won at least a share of this race. Since 2013, Mallory Comerford (Louisville) and Deniz Ertan (Georgia Tech) are the only two non-UVA swimmers to have claimed a title here.


  • NCAA Record: 4:06.32, Kieran Smith (Florida) – 2020
  • ACC Record: 4:09.13, Anton Ipsen (NC State) – 2018
  • ACC Championship Record: 4:10.00, Matt McLean (Virginia) – 2009
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 4:10.74
  • 2023 NCAA Invite Time: 4:14.36

Top 8:

  1. Ilia Sibirtsev (Louisville) – 4:14.41
  2. James Plage (NC State) – 4:14.72
  3. Owen Lloyd (NC State) – 4:14.87
  4. Ross Dant (NC State) – 4:15.05
  5. Kyle Ponsler (NC State) – 4:15.11
  6. Baturalp Unlu (Georgia Tech) – 4:15.42
  7. Luis Dominguez (Virginia Tech) – 4:16.09
  8. Murilo Sartori (Louisville) – 4:18.66

Another great race, as Ilia Sibirtsev overcame the vaunted NC State distance crew to get his hand on the wall first in 4:14.41 and earn Louisville’s first-ever ACC title in this event. Sibirtsev set a lifetime best for the second time today after going 4:15.30 in prelims for the top seed.

The Wolfpack men still picked up plenty of points. James Plage, the defending champion, took 2nd in 4:14.72, followed by teammates Owen Lloyd (4:14.87) and 2022 champ Ross Dant (4:15.05) and Kyle Ponsler (4:15.11).. No one was under last year’s NCAA qualifying time, but Sibirtsev, Lloyd, and Dant have all already probably secured NCAA invites with 1650 swims earlier in the season.

Baturalp Unlu, the 2021 champ in the 200 free, finished 6th in 4:15.32, followed by Virginia Tech’s Luis Dominguez (4:16.09) and Louisville’s Murilo Sartori (4:18.66).


  • NCAA Record: 1:48.37, Kate Douglass (Virginia) – 2023
  • ACC Record: 1:48.37, Kate Douglass (Virginia) – 2023
  • ACC Championship Record: 1:50.15, Kate Douglass (Virginia) – 2023
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:53.66
  • 2023 NCAA Invite Time: 1:56.90

Top 8:

  1. Alex Walsh (Virginia) – 1:51.76
  2. Ella Nelson (Virginia) – 1:54.21
  3. Sarah Foley (Duke) – 1:55.12
  4. Kennedy Noble (NC State) – 1:55.29
  5. Fernanda Gomes Celidonio (Louisville) – 1:56.46
  6. Ella Bathurst (Virginia) – 1:57.54
  7. Kim Herkle (Louisville) – 1:57.74
  8. Martina Peroni (Duke) – 1:58.57

Alex Walsh, who won this event in 2021 and 2022, picked up her third ACC title with a 1:51.76 tonight. That time moves her to the top of the country this season, putting her back ahead of her sister Gretchen Walsh, who put up a 1:52.34 at the Cavalier Invite two weeks ago.

Walsh’s teammate Ella Nelson took 2nd in 1:54.21, followed by Duke’s Sarah Foley in 1:55.12 and NC State’s Kennedy Noble (1:55.29). Louisville earned 5th and 7th place finishes thanks to Fernanda Gomes Celidonio (1:56.46) and Kim Herkle (1:57.74). Ella Bathurst of Virginia finished 6th at 1:57.74, and Duke’s Martina Peroni rounded out the field with a 1:58.57.


  • NCAA Record: 1:36.34, Leon Marchand (Arizona State) – 2023
  • ACC Record: 1:39.35, Andreas Vazaios (NC State) – 2019
  • ACC Championship Record: 1:40.31, Arsenio Bustos (NC State) – 2023
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:41.03
  • 2023 NCAA Invite Time: 1:43.14

Top 8:

  1. Arsenio Bustos (NC State) – 1:40.75
  2. Carles Coll Marti (Virginia Tech) – 1:41.51
  3. Tim Connery (Virginia) – 1:41.86
  4. Daniel Diehl (NC State) – 1:41.97
  5. Mason Herbert (FSU) – 1:43.05
  6. Sam Hoover (NC State) – 1:43.60
  7. Sebastien Sergile (Virginia) – 1:43.96
  8. James Edge (Notre Dame)  – 1:44.80

Arsenio Bustos defended his ACC title in the 200 IM, clocking a time of 1:40.75 which is just 0.51 seconds away from his personal best time. He led the race from start to finish. Bustos won this event last year, making him the first back-to-back champion here since former NC State Andresa Vazaios won in 2017 and 2018.

Behind Bustos was Virginia Tech’s Carles Coll Marti, the 2022 champion, at 1:41.51, while UVA’s Tim Connery and NC State’s Daniel Diehl posted personal best times of 1:41.86 and 1:41.97 to take third and fourth respectively. Connery notably reset the UVA record time of 1:42.00 that he clocked during prelims.

Florida State’s Mason Herbert put himself on the bubble of a NCAA invite with a new personal best time of 1:43.05 for 5th.

Berke Saka of Georgia Tech won the B-final with a 1:42.95 that was under last year’s NCAA invite time, and would’ve put him 5th in A-final.


  • NCAA Record: 20.77, Gretchen Walsh (Virginia) – 2024
  • ACC Record: 20.77, Gretchen Walsh (Virginia) – 2024
  • ACC Championship Record: 20.77, Gretchen Walsh (Virginia) – 2024
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 21.63
  • 2023 NCAA Invite Time: 22.15

Top 8:

  1. Gretchen Walsh (Virginia) — 20.57
  2. Jasmine Nocentini (Virginia) — 21.13
  3. Katharine Berkoff (NC State) — 21.23
  4. Christiana Regenauer (Louisville) — 21.46
  5. Julia Dennis (Louisville) — 21.74
  6. Gabi Albiero (Louisville) — 21.77
  7. Maxine Parker (Virginia) — 21.81
  8. Sophie Yendell (Pitt) — 21.83

In the same session where she clocked the fastest women’s 50 free relay split of all-time, Gretchen Walsh reset the U.S. Open, NCAA, and American record in the flat start 50 free by 0.20 seconds. She swam a time of 20.57 (despite being the last swimmer off the blocks), which beats out her previous record time of 20.77 set during prelims.

Behind Walsh was her teammate Jasmine Nocentini, who went a 21.13 and beat out her personal best time of 21.30. She now is the sixth-fastest performer of all-time in the women’s 50 free. Taking third was NC State’s Katharine Berkoff, who was slightly off her 200 free relay leadoff time of 21.14

Despite not finishing in the top three, the Louisville Cardinals reeled in big points here, as Christiana Regenauer (21.46), Julia Dennis (21.74), Gabi Albiero (21.77) finished 4th, 5th, and 6th, respectively.

The entire A-final was under last year’s invite time of 22.15, as were the top two finishers in the B-final, Caroline Bentz of Virginia Tech (21.99) and Duke’s Tatum Wall (22.12).


  • NCAA Record: 17.63, Caeleb Dressel (Florida) – 2018
  • ACC Record: 18.56, Ryan Held (NC State) – 2017
  • ACC Championship Record: 18.57, Chris Guiliano – 2024
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 18.82
  • 2023 NCAA Invite Time: 19.21

Top 8:

  1. Chris Guiliano (Notre Dame) — 18.70
  2. Youssef Ramadan (Virginia Tech) — 18.84
  3. Matt Brownstead (Virginia) — 18.86
  4. Quintin McCarty (NC State)/Abdelrahman Elaraby (Notre Dame) — 18.89
  5. Drew Salls (NC State) — 18.99
  6. Brendan Whitfield (Virginia Tech) — 19.21
  7. Aiden Hayes (NC State) — 19.30

Although he was slightly off his ACC Championship record, Notre Dame’s Chris Guiliano backed up his morning performance with a win at night and captured his school’s first-ever ACC title in the men’s 50 freestyle. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech’s Youssef Ramadan grabbed his second-consecutive second-place finish in the event, while Virginia’s Matt Brownstead took third.

Brownstead was the 2021 champion in this event as a freshman, while last year’s champ, Abdelrahman Elaraby, tied for 4th in 18.89. Elarby won his crown last year while representing Louisville, but transferred to Notre Dame in the offseason. NC State’s Quintin McCarty also touched in 18.89, with teammate Drew Salls going under 19 for the first time in his career with a 18.99.

Virginia Tech freshman Brendan Whitfield touched 7th in 19.21 with NC State’s Aiden Hayes rounding out the field at 19.30.

Notably, Salls and Brownstead were the only two men who swam faster in finals in prelims; that’s probably due in part to just how fast swimmers needed to be to make the A-final.


  • ACC Record: 379.98, Jenna Dreyer (Miami) – 2007
  • ACC Championship Record: 379.25, Aranza Vazquez (UNC) – 2023

Top 8:

  1. Aranza Vazquez (UNC) — 336.05
  2. Else Prassterink (Louisville) — 306.80
  3. Margo Omeara (Duke) — 302.20
  4. Grace Courtney (Notre Dame) — 292.85
  5. Ellie Joyce (UNC) — 273.40
  6. Elizabeth Powley (Georgia Tech) — 262.20
  7. Kayleigh Clark (Florida State) — 252.20
  8. Callie Brady (Notre Dame) — 182.25

UNC’s Aranza Vazquez took home her second ACC title of this meet, scoring 336.05 points to place first in the one-meter diving event. That’s Vazquez’s second-straight title in this event and her seventh ACC title overall. She’s now 2/3 of the way through repeating last year’s feat of sweeping all three diving events.

Meanwhile, Louisville’s Else Prassterink and Duke’s Margo Omeara took second and third respectively.

Team Scores Thru Day 2


  1. Virginia — 552
  2. Louisville — 473.5
  3. NC State — 418
  4. Duke — 332
  5. UNC — 328
  6. Notre Dame — 274
  7. Virginia Tech — 253.5
  8. Florida State — 217
  9. Pitt — 183
  10. Georgia Tech — 177
  11. Miami — 162

With a lot more events overall today, especially swimming events, there was a lot of movement in the team score. The Cavaliers tallied nearly 400 points tonight to move from 3rd to 1st. Louisville added another 318.5 of their own to stay within striking distance.


  1. NC State — 531.5
  2. Notre Dame — 335.5
  3. Louisville — 302
  4. Virginia Tech — 298.5
  5. Florida State — 292
  6. Virginia — 249.5
  7. Georiga Tech — 235
  8. UNC — 223
  9. Pitt — 193
  10. Duke — 130
  11. Miami — 54

Notre Dame came into the day with the lead due to a combination of diving and solid relays yesterday, but despite some strong swims today they faded to a distant second behind the prohibitive favorites, NC State. That’s not a knock agains the Fighting Irish — the Wolfpack should run away with this meet. But with the meet 40% complete (in terms of days), Notre Dame is still in 2nd place, and if they keep swimming the way they have, they could make the race for 2nd very interesting. Louisville moved up from 7th to 3rd, Pitt faded from 3rd to 9th, UNC faded from 4th to 8th, and UVA, coming off of a relay DQ last night, moved up from 11th to 6th.

Action continues tomorrow with the 400 IM, 100 fly, and 200 free.

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1 month ago


1 month ago

does anyone know who/when the first male swimmer broke 20 with a relay start? My guess is 1984

Reply to  smglsn12
1 month ago

Joe Bottom from USC went 19.7 flat start at 1977 NCAAs I believe so sometime before that one would think? Maybe John Trembley or David Edgar did whilst at Tennessee?

Grant Drukker
1 month ago

Not to be rude, but who is Larry Salls? Never heard of him before

1 month ago

Gretchen can swim a 50 free faster than some guys on the UVA team. Hell, she’s faster than some guys I knew who roided up to hell to barely crack 21 as a split. Insane accomplishment

Reply to  monsterbasher
1 month ago

At their midseason invite, the team did tiny mic interviews with each other and one member of their men’s team was asked if he could beat Gretchen in a 50. He truthfully answered probably not and definitely not untapered.

Reply to  monsterbasher
1 month ago

Gretchen is now known as the fastest 50 scy female swimmer in history. That is the peak of achievement. Fantastic! It is oh so tempting to start pointing out the guys she can beat. And it’s not hard to do. Make a list of all D-1 fifty free times, slide down the list until you reach the time she beat. Including every other male swimmer below that line. You could also pick any other decent female sprinter and just keep sliding down the list until you find the time they beat. It’s fun, it’s interesting. But the danger is apparent to me. Lia Thomas jumped off the middle of the male list and moved up near the top of the… Read more »

1 month ago

Correction: Sebastien Sergile (7th 200 IM) swims for UVA, not NC state.

1 month ago

Bella Sims went a 1:51.8 in the 2 IM. Looking forward to that match up!

Reply to  Yikes
1 month ago

I would think she’d still swim the 500 at NCAAs

Steve Nolan
1 month ago

AVD has a job to make Rowdy seem like Vin Scully.

Like I know it’s hard to comment on a C final of a 50 free (when I tuned in) but goodness gracious at least try to say some novel stuff.

Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

You guys know he is a human being? Internet trolls be trollin’, wow.

Reply to  PCB
1 month ago

I think you misread buddy.

Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

rowdy doesn’t go on swimswam and defend his own commentary by reminding everyone of his 3 olympic golds. or at least he doesn’t use his real name, like avd did on nbc’s youtube channel during the olympics

Last edited 1 month ago by Emily Se-Bom Lee
Steve Nolan
Reply to  Emily Se-Bom Lee
1 month ago

SHE DID WHAT bahahaha nooooooo

Aw that sucks. But also, she is not good at the job.

Reply to  Emily Se-Bom Lee
1 month ago

She blocked me on instagram last year when I commented on a N.C.A.A. swimming post about her less-than-stellar commentating

Last edited 1 month ago by Yikes
Former swimmer
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

She is hands down the worst swimming commentator there is lol. It’s cringe.

1 month ago

I have no idea what GW will do this summer but she’d be the #1 lottery pick for the next SC Worlds.

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