2024 ACC Championships: Day 2 Prelims Live Recap


The first full day of competition at the 2024 ACC Swimming & Diving Championships gets underway with our customary offering of 500 free, 200 IM and 50 free prelims on Wednesday morning in Greensboro.

Virginia junior Gretchen Walsh headlines the field in the women’s 50 free as the defending champion and co-NCAA Record holder, having blasted a time of 20.79 earlier this season to match the mark set by Maggie MacNeil last season.

Walsh is coming off producing a monstrous personal best of 1:40.23 in the 200 free on last night’s 800 free relay, moving her into #3 all-time.

We’ll also see defending champions James Plage (500 free) and Arsenio Bustos (200 IM), both of NC State, on the men’s side, along with Abdelrahman Elaraby, who won the 50 free title last year with Louisville but will be racing for Notre Dame here in his fifth year of eligibility.

The women’s 500 free won’t have either co-champions from last season, Deniz Ertan, who transferred from GA Tech to ASU, or Ella Nelson, who will race the 200 IM.

The 200 IM will be headlined by Alex Walsh, the two-time champion who was the runner-up to graduated UVA teammate Kate Douglass last season.


  • 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

‘A’ Final Qualifiers:

  1. Cavan Gormsen (Virginia), 4:41.11
  2. Sophia Knapp (Virginia), 4:42.14
  3. Aimee Canny (Virginia), 4:42.40
  4. Yara Hierath (NC State), 4:43.91
  5. Brooke Travis (NC State), 4:43.94
  6. Maddie Donohoe (Virginia), 4:44.02
  7. Chase Travis (VA Tech), 4:44.35
  8. Emma Hastings (NC State), 4:44.40

The Virginia women followed up last night’s relay sweep with a strong showing in the opening individual prelim of the meet, putting four swimmers into the ‘A’ final of the 500 free including grabbing the top three seeds.

Leading the charge was freshman Cavan Gormsen, who topped the penultimate heat in a time of 4:41.11 to lead the field by just over a second. Gormsen ranks 12th in the nation this season with her time of 4:38.80 from the Tennessee Invite and owns a lifetime best of 4:36.34 from March 2023.

Her sophomore teammate Sophia Knapp knocked more than a second off her personal best time in 4:42.14 to advance 2nd overall, lowering the 4:43.33 mark she established in November. Last season, Knapp was on the outside looking in, placing 9th in the prelims (4:44.53).

UVA junior Aimee Canny, who raced the 200 IM at the 2023 ACCs instead of the 500, paced the final heat in a time of 4:42.40, qualifying 3rd overall after nearly even-splitting the race (2:20.84/2:21.56). Canny ranks 5th in the NCAA and 1st in the ACC this season with her time of 4:36.26 from the Tennessee Invite.

NC State’s Emma Hastings and Virginia Tech’s Chase Travis, who were the only swimmers besides Canny and Gormsen to have been sub-4:43 this season coming into the meet, both snuck into the final in 8th and 7th, respectively.

The top returner from last season’s final, 3rd-place finisher Maddie Donohoe, advanced in 6th in 4:44.02, knocking more than three seconds off her season-best of 4:47.47 from midseason.

Notably missing the final was Louisville’s Summer Cardwell, who ranked 5th in the conference coming in (4:43.18) but clocked 4:46.44 to take 9th, more than two seconds back of 8th-place qualifier Hastings.


  • 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

‘A’ Final Qualifiers:

  1. Ilia Sibirtsev (Louisville), 4:15.30
  2. Owen Lloyd (NC State), 4:15.53
  3. James Plage (NC State), 4:16.65
  4. Kyle Ponsler (NC State), 4:16.69
  5. Luis Dominguez Calonge (VT), 4:17.02
  6. Murilo Sartori (Louisville), 4:17.11
  7. Batur Unlu (Georgia Tech), 4:17.93
  8. Ross Dant (NC State), 4:18.36

Ilia Sibirtsev and Owen Lloyd set the tone in the first circle-seeded heat of the men’s 500 free, going head-to-head and finishing with a pair of 4:15s to snag the top two spots in tonight’s final by a wide margin.

Sibirtsev, a Louisville fifth-year, closed in 25.03 to out-touch Lloyd in a time of 4:15.30, marking a new lifetime best after he came in with a PB of 4:16.05 set at the Ohio State Invite in November.

NC State’s Lloyd also cracked 4:16 for the first time in 4:15.53, downing his previous best of 4:16.44 from the Wolfpack Invite earlier this season.

Last season, Sibirtsev and Lloyd placed 7th and 8th in the final, respectively.

Qualifying 3rd overall was defending champion James Plage, as the NC State senior cruised in for a time of 4:16.65, while Wolfpack teammates Kyle Ponsler and Ross Dant also made it through to mark four NC State swimmers in the top eight.

Behind Sibirtsev, the top non-Wolfpack qualifier was Virginia Tech’s Luis Dominguez Calonge, who shattered his season-best time in 4:17.02 to advance in 5th. Dominguez won the ‘B’ final last season in a lifetime best of 4:15.80.

The top seed, Florida State’s Yordan Yanchev, was out-touched by Dant in the last heat and ended up missing the final by just over a 10th in 4:18.48 (Gustavo Saldo was 9th overall in 4:18.39). Yanchev led the conference by more than two seconds coming in with his 4:13.35 showing from the Georgia Fall Invite.


  • 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

‘A’ Final Qualifiers:

  1. Alex Walsh (Virginia), 1:53.96
  2. Sarah Foley (Duke), 1:55.88
  3. Ella Nelson (Virginia), 1:56.05
  4. Kennedy Noble (NC State), 1:56.53
  5. Fernanda Gomes Celidonio (Louisville), 1:56.64
  6. Kim Herkle (Louisville), 1:57.01
  7. Martina Peroni (Duke), 1:57.27
  8. Ella Bathurst (Virginia), 1:57.47

Alex Walsh cruised to the top time in the women’s 200 IM by nearly two seconds in 1:53.96, setting her up for a run at a third title in the event tonight after she didn’t race it at the 2023 ACCs.

Walsh owns a season-best of 1:52.59, which ranks her 2nd in the conference behind younger sister Gretchen (1:52.34).

Duke’s Sarah Foley, the 2023 runner-up to the graduated Kate Douglass, set herself up for another 2nd-place finish in the final after a very solid 1:55.88 prelim, inching past her season-best of 1:56.13 from midseason.

UVA fifth-year Ella Nelson paced the penultimate heat in 1:56.05 to qualify 3rd overall, with her having been 1:53.60 earlier this season and as fast as 1:53.13 at last season’s NCAAs.

NC State’s Kennedy Noble used a 27.95 to top the first circle-seeded heat in 1:56.53 and advance 4th into the final. Noble was 6th last season (1:55.92) and owns a lifetime best of 1:55.48 from the 2023 NCAAs.

UNC’s Lexi Rudolph dropped two seconds to place 11th this morning in 1:57.66 and move into the ‘B’ final, having come in as the 52nd seed with her season-best of 2:04.76. Her PB previously stood at 1:59.68 from 2021.


  • 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

‘A’ Final Qualifiers:

  1. Tim Connery (Virginia), 1:42.00
  2. Arsenio Bustos (NC State), 1:42.46
  3. Daniel Diehl (NC State), 1:42.77
  4. Carles Coll Marti (VT), 1:42.80
  5. Sam Hoover (NC State), 1:43.14
  6. Mason Herbet (FSU), 1:43.52
  7. Dillon Edge (Notre Dame), 1:43.63
  8. Sebastien Sergile (Virginia), 1:43.81

The gauntlet was thrown down in the first circle-seeded heat of the men’s 200 IM, as four swimmers went 1:43.5 or better and ended up all advancing inside the top six into tonight’s final.

Leading the quartet was Virginia junior Tim Connery, who put up a time of 1:42.00 to knock off his personal best of 1:42.64 set in the prelims of last year’s ACCs where he ended up 7th in the final (1:44.19).

Connery was followed in the heat by defending champion Arsenio Bustos (1:42.46), 2022 winner Carles Coll Marti (1:42.80) and Florida’s State’s Mason Herbet (1:43.52). The swim for Herbet marked a new PB, lowering his 1:44.03 from the 2022 Georgia Invite.

NC State freshman Daniel Diehl topped the next heat in a time of 1:42.77 to advance 3rd overall behind Connery and Bustos, establishing a new best time. Diehl had previously been 1:43.01 in December 2022.

Wolfpack junior Sam Hoover also set a PB in winning the final heat, clocking 1:43.14 to qualify 5th and take down his previous mark of 1:43.37 from the 2022 ACCs.

Notre Dame sophomore Dillon Edge, who was 20th in his freshman season, dropped nearly two seconds to crack the ‘A’ final in 7th, clocking 1:43.63 behind a sub-30 breast split.


‘A’ Final Qualifiers:

  1. Gretchen Walsh (Virginia), 20.77
  2. Jasmine Nocentini (Virginia), 21.30
  3. Katharine Berkoff (NC State), 21.38
  4. Christiana Regenauer (Louisville), 21.56
  5. Gabi Albiero (Louisville), 21.61
  6. Julia Dennis (Louisville), 21.68
  7. Maxine Parker (Virginia), 21.81
  8. Sophie Yendell (Pitt), 21.90

Gretchen Walsh wasted no time in starting off what figures to be a record-breaking weekend in the heats of the women’s 50 free, taking over sole possession of the NCAA and U.S. Open Record in a time of 20.77.

Earlier this season, Walsh blasted a time of 20.79 to match Maggie MacNeil‘s all-time record set at the 2023 NCAA Championships, when MacNeil edged out Walsh for the title.

Walsh also lowers her own American Record of 20.79, along with her ACC Championship Record of 20.83 from last year, which stood as the American Record coming into this season. Per USA Swimming’s database, Walsh has now been sub-21 eight times.

Walsh had the slowest reaction time among the top 29 swimmers in the field at 0.75, and then split 10.13/10.64.

UVA fifth-year Jasmine Nocentini followed up her blistering breast split on last night’s medley relay by setting a new personal best to advance 2nd into the 50 free final, touching in 21.30 to chop 15 one-hundredths off her 21.45 from the Tennessee Invitational.

Nocentini was only a tenth shy of Walsh at the 25 (10.23), but Walsh was more than four-tenths faster coming back.

NC State’s Katharine Berkoff, who split 20.40 anchoring the medley relay last night, set a personal best time of her own in 21.38 to qualify 3rd, while Louisville’s Christiana Regenauer did the same to take 4th in 21.58.

Berkoff had previously been 21.52, and Regenauer’s old best stood at 21.58.

Last year’s runner-up Gabi Albiero was 5th in 21.61, while a third Louisville swimmer, Julia Dennis, put up her fastest time ever in 21.68 for 6th.


  • NCAA Record: 17.63, Caeleb Dressel (Florida) – 2018
  • ACC Record: 18.56, Ryan Held (NC State) – 2017
  • ACC Championship Record: 18.68, Ryan Held (NC State) – 2017
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 18.82
  • 2023 NCAA Invite Time: 19.21

‘A’ Final Qualifiers:

  1. Chris Guiliano (Notre Dame), 18.57
  2. Youssef Ramadan (Virginia Tech), 18.79
  3. Abdelrahman Elaraby (Notre Dame), 18.82
  4. Quintin McCarty (NC State), 18.95
  5. Drew Salls (NC State), 19.04
  6. Matt Brownstead (Virginia), 19.05
  7. Brendan Whitfield (Virginia Tech), 19.10
  8. Aiden Hayes (NC State), 19.20

After tying the 200 free ACC Record on the lead-off leg of last night’s 800 free relay, Notre Dame’s Chris Guiliano fired off a massive lifetime best in the heats of the 50 free, cracking a seven-year-old championship record in the process.

Guiliano touched in 18.57 to lower the ACC meet record of 18.68 set by Ryan Held in 2017 while narrowly missing Held’s conference mark of 18.56 set in the same year at NCAAs.

Guiliano, who finished 3rd last season in 18.93, came in with a best time of 18.84 set at the Ohio State Invitational.

The two swimmers who finished ahead of Guiliano in last year’s final, Abdelrahman Elaraby and Youssef Ramadan, were the next two qualifiers. Ramadan touched in 18.79 for a new season-best, while defending champion Elaraby was .03 shy of his PB in 18.82.

NC State’s Quintin McCarty, the fastest swimmer in the conference and #3 in the nation coming into the meet at 18.80, advanced 4th overall in 18.95. McCarty notably blazed an 18.11 split on the Wolpfack medley relay last night that broke the American Record.

Another NC State swimmer, sophomore Drew Salls, dropped a tenth from his PB to advance in 5th at 19.04. Last season, Salls didn’t compete at ACCs but was at NCAAs, placing 27th in the 50 free and 46th in the 100 free.

Virginia Tech’s Brendan Whitfield dropped 38 one-hundredths from his lifetime best to move into the final in 7th in 19.10.

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1 month ago

Conference is lucky that GWalsh is not swimming the 2Free. She definitely should add that to her NCAA meet entry

Reply to  LM01
1 month ago

Why would she do that?

1 month ago

SwimSwam, will we be getting an article solely about G. Walsh’s new record?

Reply to  GNV
1 month ago

Probably just assign someone to her through Saturday. Create a template

1 month ago

Great swimming, horrible streaming. Had to up my cable package to get this and the audio couldnt be lower quality. Very frustrating

Reply to  HogmanTheIntruder
1 month ago

The screaming intros are so obnoxious and the audio was so spotty.

Mike Vick no dogs
1 month ago

UNC Men are in trouble once again. Gangloff and his crew can’t seem to run a program that develops talent. https://www.dailytarheel.com/article/2024/02/dth-oped-athlete-mental-health-unc-swim-and-dive

Mick Vick dogs out
Reply to  Mike Vick no dogs
1 month ago

Bro sees one day of competition and goes doomsday 💀

Eagles Mere
Reply to  Mike Vick no dogs
1 month ago

I agree that the UNC Men are in trouble, but wouldn’t rely on a poorly written op-ed as evidence. Just look at meet results. That op-ed was awful. The two co-authors are in for a rude awakening when they grow up and realize they were NARP’s the whole time. Is that even a real acronym? You were slightly below average swimmers on a below average team that only exists because of men’s basketball and a Nike contract.

Reply to  Eagles Mere
1 month ago

Pretty sure both writers of op-ed were cut from the team.

VA Steve
Reply to  Eagles Mere
1 month ago

They have help coming next year.

Reply to  VA Steve
1 month ago

Men are definitely getting some sneaky good recruits next year – Gangloff & co. doing a good job of tapping internationally while also starting to get some in-state talent as well.

Reply to  Eagles Mere
1 month ago

what is an op-ed?

Reply to  chazoozle
1 month ago

Opinion articles generally submitted by freelancers or the general public.

Mike Vick no dogs
Reply to  Eagles Mere
1 month ago

I am not using the op-ed as a piece of evidence as to why that is the downfall of the program. I would argue getting rid of the athletes who wrote the article will be instrumental to building a program that Gangloff is envisioning. I just added the link to the comical op-ed as it was published a day ago and has some perspective of the athletes on the team and their mindset.

Reply to  Mike Vick no dogs
1 month ago

Sounds like they hated swimming before UNC

Bad Man
1 month ago

3 way swimoff in the 50

1 month ago

Gretchen took 6 strokes down, 7 strokes back. Albiero took 23 total from my count …

Reply to  Friuti
1 month ago

Part of it is that GWalsh is over 6’ tall and Albiero is quite a bit shorter.

Reply to  DerbyContender
1 month ago

Yes, she was just the nearest competitor in her heat I could compare to.

Reply to  Friuti
1 month ago

This made me curious about another over 6′ tall good UW person–Dressel’s 17.63 was 8/11 strokes.

Reply to  green
1 month ago

Cause her stroke is more kick driven and Dressel is upper body

Samuel Huntington
1 month ago

Guiliano at 18.5, he is looking real good!!

WV Swammer
1 month ago

Guiliano was definitely not a one hit wonder, he’s cooking and will be a force at Trials.

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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