2024 ACC Championships: Day 4 Prelims Live Recap

by Robert Gibbs 69

February 23rd, 2024 ACC, College, News, Previews & Recaps


The ACC Swimming and Diving Championships continue this morning with prelims of the 200 fly, 100 back, and 100 breast. Notably, a couple swimmers who own a conference record will be aiming for the conference record in the event.

On the women’s side, UVA’s Alex Walsh set the ACC record at 1:50.23 at last year’s NCAAs despite not competing in this event at last year’s conference championship. Walsh is at the very bottom of the psych sheet with a “NT.”

On the men’s side, Noah Nichols is the defending champion in the 100 breast, and he set the ACC record with that win last year, but Louisville’s Denis Petrashov pipped that record at NCAAs. They’ll face off a tight field that also includes Virginia Tech’s Carles Coll Marti, who has the fastest time in the conference this season.

Beyond the individual titles at stake, this morning could have huge implications for some key battles in the team standings. That’s especially true on the men’s side, where Notre Dame holds a sizable lead over Virginia Tech and Louisville in the race for second second. The Fighting Irish’s best ACC finish coming into this meet was a third place effort in 2017.



  1. Virginia — 846.5
  2. Louisville — 682
  3. NC State — 573
  4. Duke — 433.5
  5. UNC — 401.5
  6. Virgina Tech — 308.5
  7. Notre Dame — 276
  8. Florida State — 266
  9. Pitt — 226
  10. Miami — 221
  11. Georgia Tech — 220


  1. NC State — 812.5
  2. Notre Dame — 559.5
  3. Virginia Tech — 469.5
  4. Louisville — 458
  5. Florida State — 386
  6. UNC — 380
  7. Virginia — 344.5
  8. Pitt — 315
  9. Georgia Tech — 309
  10. Duke — 164
  11. Miami — 94

Women’s 200 Butterfly

  • NCAA Record: 1:49.51, Ella Eastin (Stanford) – 2018 Pac-12 Championships
  • ACC Record: 1:50.23, Alex Walsh (Virginia) – 2023 NCAA Championships
  • ACC Championship Record: 1:52.81, Grace Oglesby (Louisville) – 2019
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:52.86
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 1:55.92

Top 8:

  1. Alex Walsh (Virginia) – 1:52.05
  2. Abby Harter (Virgina) – 1:55.01
  3. Tess Howley (Virginia) – 1:55.24
  4. Martina Peroni (Duke) – 1:55.52
  5. Edith Jernstedt (Florida State) – 1:55.94
  6. Elizabeth Vannote (UNC) – 1:56.63
  7. Maggie Schalow (Virginia) – 1:56.95
  8. Catherine Purnell (Duke) – 1:57.61

Well, that didn’t take long. Alex Walsh hasn’t swum this event since she broke the ACC record with a 1:50.23 to take 2nd at last year’s NCAA championships. So, she was seeded this morning with a “No Time” and swam in the very first heat. She didn’t need anyone to push her, though, as she popped a 1:52.05 to break the ACC meet record and move to #4 in the nation this season, behind a trio of Texas Longhorns. Unsurprisingly, Walsh’s time held up as the fastest time of the morning.

Walsh was one of four Cavalier women to qualify for tonight’s A-final. Abby Harter (1:55.01) and Tess Howley (1:55.24) posted the 2nd and 3rd fastest times of the morning, and Maggie Schalow (1:56.95) qualified 7th.

Duke started the morning off strong by qualifying two A-finalists. Martina Peroni (1:55.52) had the 4th-fastest time of the morning, and Catherine Purnell (1:57.61) just beat out NC State’s Grace Sheble (1:57.81) for the #8 spot.

Two women who qualified in the top eight improved other seed time. Florida State’s Edith Jernstedt was just better than her seed time with a 1:55.94 this morning, although she was still about two second shy of her lifetime best of 1:54.64, which she set in prelims of last year’s NCAA championship en route to making the B-final there. UNC’s Ellie Vannote took nearly two seconds off seed time with a 1:56.63; she’s been as fast 1:54.07.

Walsh, Schalow, and Purnell were the only swimmers to make the top 8 today who did not compete in the A-final last year.

Men’s 200 Butterfly

  • NCAA Record: 1:37.35, Jack Conger (Texas) – 2017 NCAA Championships
  • ACC Record: 1:37.92, Nick Albiero (Louisville) – 2022 ACC Championships
  • ACC Championship Record: 1:37.92, Nick Albiero (Louisville) – 2022
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:40.16
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 1:42.57

Top 8:

  1. Noah Bowers (NC State) – 1:41.44
  2. Tate Bacon (Notre Dame) – 1:41.76
  3. Aiden Hayes (NC State) – 1:41.86
  4. Seb Lunak (UNC) – 1:42.35
  5. Carl Bloebaum (Virginia Tech) – 1:42.80
  6. Patrick Hussey (UNC) – 1:43.25
  7. Boyd Poelke (UNC) – 1:43.48
  8. Sebastien Sergile (Virginia) – 1:43.60

For the second year in a row, NC State’s Noah Bowers posted the top time in prelims. He was just a little off of last year’s time, 1:41.44 today  vs 1:41.36, but still did enough to get lane 4 tonight. Bowers finished 2nd last year in finals, with teammate Aiden Hayes winning the ACC title as a prelude to capturing the NCAA crown the next month. Today, Hayes qualified 3rd overall with a 1:41.86.

We’re used to seeing NC State rack up the A-finalists, but it was another school in the same state, UNC, which qualified the most men for tonight’s A-final. Seb Lunak led the Tar Heel trio with a new lifetime best of 1:42.35, along with Patrick Hussey (1:42.80) and Boyd Poelke (1:43.48). UNC has some history in this event — former Tar Heel Tom Luchsinger won the ACC title three times, 2011-2013.

Notre Dame’s Tate Bacon uncorked a 1:41.76 to qualify 2nd overall, improving on his lifetime best of 1:43.47. Likewise, Virginia Tech Carl Bloebaum hit a lifetime best, his first in over two years, to qualify 5th at 1:42.80. Virginia’s Sebastien Sergile rounded out the top 8 with a 1:43.60.

Hayes, Bowers, and Hussey are the only three men to return from last year’s A-final.

Women’s 100 Backstroke

  • NCAA Record: 48.26, Gretchen Walsh (Virginia) – 2023 NCAA Championships
  • ACC Record: 48.26, Gretchen Walsh (Virginia) – 2023 NCAA Championships
  • ACC Championship Record: 49.25, Gretchen Walsh (Virginia) – 2023
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 50.88
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 52.36

Top 8:

  1. Katharine Berkoff (NC State) – 50.37
  2. Kennedy Noble (NC State) – 51.25
  3. Reilly Tiltmann (Virginia) – 52.00
  4. Greer Pattison (UNC) – 52.16
  5. Caroline Bentz (Virginia Tech) – 52.28
  6. Miriam Sheehan (NC State) – 52.33
  7. Alison Pfaff (Duke) – 52.40
  8. Meghan Donald (NC State) – 52.56

With Gretchen Walsh, the fastest women ever in the 100 back, opting to not compete the event here, NC State’s Katherine Berkoff, the former American Record holder and four-time ACC champ in this event, put herself in prime position to win her fifth title. Berkoff clocked a 50.37 in this morning’s prelims. That time would put her as the 4th-fastest women in the nation this year, except she’s already been 49.82 this season, and that was in a dual meet against Texas.

The Wolfpack racked up a total of four A-finalists, which should help them as they try to chase down Louisville in the race for 2nd. Kennedy Noble qualified 2nd in 51.25, with Miriam Sheehan (52.33) and Meghan Donald (52.56) also making the top 8. Donald’s time marked a new lifetime best.

Other A-finalists will include: Virginia’s Reilly Tiltmann (52.00), UNC’s Greer Pattison (52.16), Virginia Tech’s Caroline Bentz (52.28), and Duke’s Ali Pfaff (52.40).

Men’s 100 Backstroke

  • NCAA Record: 43.35, Luca Urlando (Georgia) – 2022 NCAA Championships
  • ACC Record: 43.93, Kacper Stokowski (NC State) – 2023 NCAA Championships
  • ACC Championship Record: 44.04, Coleman Stewart (NC State) – 2020/ Kacper Stokowski (NC State) – 2023
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 44.71
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 45.70

Top 8:

  1. Marcus Gentry (Notre Dame) – 45.12
  2. Kacper Stokowski (NC State) – 45.22
  3. Matt Brownstead (Virginia) 45.60
  4. Max Wilson (Florida State) – 45.74
  5. Hudson Williams (NC State) – 45.80
  6. Dalton Lowe (Louisville) – 45.82
  7. Stepan Goncharov (Pitt) – 45.87
  8. Quintin McCarty (NC State) – 45.90

As a freshman last year, Notre Dame’s Marcus Gentry won the C-final with a time of 46.21. Tonight, he’ll compete for the ACC title after hitting a lifetime best of 45.12 to post the fastest time of the morning. That time also ties the Notre Dame record set by Tommy Janton last year. Janton missed the A-final today, but he made the B-final along with teammate Tanner Fillion. With another three men in the C-final tonight, the Fighting Irish seem to be doing what they need to do to hold onto 2nd place in the team standings.

NC State qualified three men for the A-final, led by three-time defending champ and ACC record holder Kacper Stokowski. He’s coming off representing Poland at the World Championships last week, and hasn’t looked too on form this week, but with a 45.22 this morning, he’s probably still the favorite to win the title tonight. Teammates Hudson Williams (45.80) and Quintin McCarty (45.90) also made the top 8.

Virginia’s Matt Brownstead qualified 3rd with a 45.60, followed by Max Wilson of FSU (45.74), Louisville’s Dalton Lowe (45.82), and Pitt’s Stepan Goncharov (45.87).

Women’s 100 Breaststroke

  • NCAA Record: 55.73, Lilly King (Indiana) – 2019 NCAA Championships
  • ACC Record: 56.72, Sophie Hansson (NC State) – 2022 ACC Championships
  • ACC Championship Record:56.72, Sophie Hansson (NC State) – 2022
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 58.02
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 59.73

Top 8:

  1. Jasmine Nocentini (Virginia) – 57.73
  2. Kaelyn Gridley (Duke) – 59.10
  3. Abby Arens (NC State) – 59.12
  4. Emma Weber (Virginia) / Sabyne Brisson (Georgia Tech)- 59.35
  5. (tie)
  6. Zoe Skirboll (Virginia) – 59.89
  7. Skyler Smith (UNC) – 59.98
  8. Madeline Huggins (FSU) – 1:00.05

Jasmine Nocentini hit a lifetime best of 57.73 to post the top time of the morning. Nocentini shaved 0.16s off her previous best, which came just two weeks ago at the Cavalier Invite, and pending other results from around the country, moves to #4 in the nation this season.

Cavalier teammates Emma Weber (59.35) and Zoe Skirboll (59.89) will join her in tonight’s A-final. Weber finished 3rd in this event here last year.

Five other schools will be represented in the A-final. Duke’s Kaelyn Gridley qualified 2nd in 59.10 and will be aiming to improved on last year’s 6th-place finish. NC State’s Abby Arens qualified 4th in 59.12, just shy of her lifetime best of 59.09. Arens is the two-time defending champion in the 200 fly, but opted for the 100 breast this season.

Georgia Tech’s Sabyne Brisson tied with Weber (in separate heats) at 59.35. UNC’s Skyler Smith returns to the A-final, qualifying with a 59.98, and Madeline Huggins rounded out the top 8 with 1:00.05.

Men’s 100 Breaststroke

  • NCAA Record: 49.69, Ian Finnerty (Indiana) – 2018 NCAA Championships
  • ACC Record: 50.78, Denis Petrashov (Louisville) – 2023 NCAA Championships
  • ACC Championship Record: 50.82, Noah Nichols (Virginia)
  • NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 51.10
  • 2022 NCAA Invite Time: 51.90

Top 8:

  1. Noah Nichols (Virginia) – 51.26
  2. Denis Petrashov (Louisville) – 51.67
  3. Carles Coll Marti (Virginia Tech) – 51.71
  4. Leandro Odorici (Georgia Tech) – 51.96
  5. Peter Varjasi (Florida State) – 51.98
  6. Ethan Mahoney (Virginia Tech) – 52.15
  7. AJ Pouch (Virginia Tech) – 52.28
  8. Tommaso Baravelli (Florida State) – 52.33

No surprises at the very top, as the men who held the top three seeds on the psych sheet posted the top three times of the morning. Defending champion Noah Nichols of Virginia led the way at 51.26, followed by ACC Record holder Denis Petrashov (51.67), and Virginia Tech’s Carles Coll Marti, who had the fastest time in the conference heading into the meet, at 51.71.

There was a bit of surprise, though, as Georgia Tech’s Leandro Odorici hit a lifetime best to 51.96 to qualify 4th. Last year, Odorici finished 22nd overall, with a 54.25 in finals after going 53.73 in prelims.

FSU’s Peter Varjasi will be another new face in at the A-final, after posting 51.98. Teammate Tommaso Baravelli will join him after qualifying 8th with a 52.33.

The Hokies got three men into the A-final, with Ethan Mahoney (52.15) and AJ Pouch (52.28) joining Coll Marti.

Women’s Platform Diving

  • ACC Record: 367.20, Brittany Viola, Miami (FL) – 2008 NCAA Championships
  • ACC Championship Record: 364.70, Katrina Young (Florida State) – 2014

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Scott Bonney
1 month ago

How is Berkoff the 4 time ACC Champ in 100 Backstroke if Walsh holds the ACC Championship Record from 2023, or am I missing something ?

Fast and Furious
Reply to  Scott Bonney
1 month ago

Relay lead off maybe? Prelims? Many ways to set a record and not win

Reply to  Fast and Furious
1 month ago

it was a relay leadogf

1 month ago

Does ND have separate men’s and women’s programs? The disparity between them seems really big, no?

Reply to  Meow
1 month ago

Definitely helps having more natural talent on men’s side. Chris, Abdelrahmeh, Tommy, etc would be good anywhere! In 2 years the rapid improvement on men side is unheard of, give more time for the women

Reply to  misterman
1 month ago

HA talent, some people have to degrade peoples hard work, their mindset, and dedication to the sport and call it talent.

Reply to  Swimmer1977
1 month ago

It isn’t degrading at all… but it does require some level of natural talent or we would see a lot more 1:31s lol

Don Megerle
1 month ago

Who has/had the longest NCAA swimming career? Katharine Berkoff or Hugo Gonzalez. It seems like they have been swimming since the George W Bush administration 🙂

Reply to  Don Megerle
1 month ago

She’s doing a 5th year just like many others.

Reply to  Yikes
1 month ago

Her swim tonight might be something special. Her 50.3 this am was a float.

Reply to  Pescatarian
1 month ago

You gotta stop jinxing her like this. I feel like we had this conversation once before 😅

Reply to  Don Megerle
1 month ago

This is a question you’re not supposed to ask.

Sweet Sweet Peter Rosen
1 month ago

Apologies if the answer is obvious, but why didn’t G Walsh swim today?

Reply to  Sweet Sweet Peter Rosen
1 month ago

Swimmers are limited to 3 individual events, and in the expanded six-day SEC schedule, that means there are more days than individual events that swimmers can swim. Every swimmer winds up taking at least one prelims session off throughout the meet.

Sweet Sweet Peter Rosen
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

Thank you

Forgot we have 1 more day!

1 month ago

Prelims are such a sweet sweet respite from AVD

Reply to  Greg
1 month ago

Be nice

Boxall's Railing
Reply to  Amy
1 month ago

Please consider feedback from your audience though.

1 month ago

It was obviously overshadowed by her sister, but I still can’t get over Alex splitting a 20.8 in the 200 free relay while also having the range to be one of the best ever in every single 200 event plus the 400 IM

Reply to  Swimfan27
1 month ago

Is the best analogy for Alex Walsh like… Laszlo Cseh? Just somehow be podium-level in every single event but never win because you happen to share a timeline with even-more-ludicrous generational talents?

Reply to  Swimfan27
1 month ago


Last edited 1 month ago by Meow
Reply to  Swimfan27
1 month ago

As a 400 IMer who could not sprint to save her life, I had the same thought. Her range is incredible.

1 month ago

Alex Walsh is that girl

Swim Dad
1 month ago

Also in the article there is a mistake as Walsh was 3rd in the 200IM last year at NCAAs behind Douglas and Huske.

Also Kate Douglas set the ACC record at NCAAs at 1:48.37

Last edited 1 month ago by Swim Dad
Reply to  Swim Dad
1 month ago

***ACC Championship Record

Octavio Gupta
Reply to  Swim Dad
1 month ago

It’s the 200 fly bruh, not the 200 IM

HOO love
Reply to  Robert Gibbs
1 month ago

swim dad is a Stanford parent so they are anti-UVA

Reply to  Swim Dad
1 month ago

But this is 200 fly?

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