2024 ACC Men’s Fan Guide: NC State Still In Driver’s Seat, At Least For One More Year

2024 ACC Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships

The 2024 ACC Swimming & Diving Championships kick off tomorrow evening in Greensboro, NC. For the third 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 men’s side.

Event Schedule

Tuesday

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

Wednesday

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

Thursday

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

Friday

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

Saturday

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

2023 FINAL SCORES

  1. NC State — 1615
  2. Virginia Tech — 1008
  3. Louisville — 981.5
  4. Virginia — 946
  5. Notre Dame — 799.5
  6. Florida State — 661
  7. Pitt — 660.5
  8. UNC — 514
  9. Georgia Tech — 484.5
  10. Duke — 321
  11. Miami — 210
  12. Boston College — 158

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 eight of the last nine conference team titles, and they did it in incredibly dominating fashion last year, scoring 1600+ points even with several key names absent. Those guys, like Quintin McCarty and Sam Hoover, are back, and with a midseason addition of freshman Daniel Diehl, this is a team that should cruise to the title once again. However, it may be the last year where there’s a clear path to ACC domination. Cal, Stanford, and SMU will join the conference next year and the Bears particularly will vie for the team title. However, this year, an incredibly deep NC State team could very well build on last year’s record-breaking point total.

Like NC State, the Virginia Tech Hokies return essentially the same roster that finished 2nd last year. Several of their key contributors will be coming back from competing in Doha at the World Championships last week, so it’s worth keeping an eye on how that racing and travel affects their performance this week. The Louisville Cardinals are the only team besides NC State who have pulled off an ACC title during the Wolfpack run. They struggled a little bit last year at both ACCs and NCAAs, but they’re brimming with talent and could be due for a bounce-back this year. The same goes for the Virginia Cavaliers, which set an American Record in the 200 free relay at this meet in 2022, but had a bit of a down year in 2023.

Notre Dame is in its second year under head coach Chris Lindauer, and the Fighting Irish have been flashing some impressive speed so far this season. Likewise, Florida State has quietly had some strong showings heading into Greensboro, including midseason relay times that were faster than their ACC performances last year. Pitt seems to be continuing to build some momentum under second-year head coach Chase Kreitler, while longtime ACC coach Brian Barnes will be leading Duke for the first time. UNC and Miami should once again rack up diving points (in Miami’s case, only diving points) and Georgia Tech will be trying to push back into the middle of the standings. Boston College will not compete this season after the team was suspended for the season due to hazing allegations.

STARS

Duke – Seamus Harding (senior diver), Will McCollum (junior diver) McCollum is the Blue Devils’ top returning scorer from last season, and he’s seeded 8th in all three diving events. Harding only scored one less point than McCollum last year, and he’s seeded first in the platform diving event, where he finished 5th in 2023.

Florida State –  Peter Varjasi (fifth-year sprint freestyler) Yordan Yanchev – Yanchev is the Seminoles’ top returning scorer, thanks to a 3rd place finish in the 500 free (where he’s the top seed heading into this meet) and scoring swims in the 200 and 1650 freestyles. Varjasi’s lineup is a bit up in the air — he’s been a sprint freestyler and IMer until this season, when he’s focused a bit more on the 100 breast, where he’s seeded 4th.

Georgia Tech – Berke Saka (junior IMer/backstroker), Mert Kilavuz (junior distance freestyler), Baturalp Unlu (senior freestyler)   Saka is once again the Yellow Jackets’ leading returning scorer. He’s seeded 1st in the 200 IM and had A-final swims in both backstroke events last year. Unlu won the 200 free as a freshman and placed 2nd in that event and the 500 free last season. Likewise, Kilavuz missed the A-final of the 500 free last year, but he finished 2nd in the 1650.

Louisville –  Dalton Lowe (senior sprint free/fly/back), Jackson Millard (sophomore IMer/backstroker), Denis Petrashov (junior breaststroker), Che Stephens (junior diver) – Lowe is a jack of all-trades sprinter who’s been swimming a lot of backstroke on the Cardinals’ medley relays this season despite owning a 19.5 fly split. Petrashov is the defending champion in the 200 breast, and assuming he bounces back after racing at World Champs last week, he should be in the mix for titles in both breaststroke events. Stephens is Louisville’s third-highest returning scorer after a trio of top-12 diving finishes last season. Millard only scored 24 points last season as a freshman, but he’s seeded to score over 70 this season and tops the psych sheet in the 200 back after breaking out with a 1:39.94 just a couple of weeks ago.

North Carolina – Louis Dramm (sophomore IMer/freestyler), Alexander Hart (fifth-year diver), Patrick Hussey (senior IMer/butterflyer)  Hussey is UNC’s top returner after A-final swims in the 400 IM and the 200 fly. Poelke had a nice improvement curve as a freshman and should haul in points in both butterfly events. The historically-strong diving corps takes a hit with the loss of Anton Down-Jenkins, but Hart should vie for championship final appearances in the 1m and 3m events once again. Dramm had a relatively quiet ACCs last year, but busted out with a 3:40.93 400 IM at NCAAs last season, which should put him in the mix for an individual title in that event this week.

NC State – Noah Bowers (fifth-year freestyler/butterflyer),Arsenio Bustos (junior IMer/breast/fly), Aiden Hayes (junior butterflyer/sprint free), Owen Lloyd (senior distance freestyler), Luke Miller (senior freestyler), Kacper Stokowski (fifth-year backstroker) – NC State is loaded, with six guys who scored 70+ points last season, so in the interest of brevity, and with apologies to the likes of Quintin McCarty, Sam Hoover, and Daniel Diehl, we’ll focus mostly on NC State’s returning individual champions or highest scorers. Stokowski was the Wolfpack’s top scorer last season, with a trio of top 4 finishes, including another title in the 100 back. Hayes presaged his eventual NCAA title in the 200 fly with an individual title at this meet, and added a 2nd place finish in the 100 fly and a 9th in the 50 free. Bowers has been a steady high scorer and relay presence for the Wolfpack over his career. Bustos had a breakout meet here last year, punctuated by a huge time drop and win in the 200 IM. Lloyd had three top-eight finishes last season, and is seeded first in the 400 IM, while Miller netted a trio of 4th-place finishes and will be a relay lynchpin.

Notre Dame – Abdelrahman Elarby (fifth-year sprint freestyler/butterflyer) Chris Guiliano (junior sprinter), Tommy Janton (sophomore backstroker)  Guiliano grabbed three top-three finishes last season, and is riding a wave of momentum that included making the US team for last summer’s World Championships.  Janton is looking to build on a strong freshman campaign and is seeded in the top four in both backstroke events. Elarby, who transferred from Louisville, hasn’t been super-fast yet this season, but he’s the defending champ in the 50 free.

Pitt – Cameron Cash (sophomore diver), Marcin Goraj (senior freestyler/backstroker), Max Matteazzi (senior IMer/breaststroker)   Cash is the Panters’ top individual returner after netting 42 points last year, including a 4th place finishing the platform event. Matteazzi is seeded in the top ten in three different events, and figures to be a key contributor at his first ACCs. Goraj is seeded in the top 8 in both the 200 free and the 200 back.

Virginia – Matt Brownstead (senior sprint freestyler), Tim Connery (junior IMer/freestyler),  Noah Nichols (senior breaststroker) – UVA as a whole took a bit of a step back last season, but there’s a strong core here. Brownstead won the 50 free title as a freshman, and while that was his lowest finish last season (6th), he should be in the mix for a championship in that event and the 100 free. Nichols won the 100 breast last year and has been throwing down fast times all season, especially on relays. Connery made three A-finals last year after transferring from Texas and should be a key relay piece once again as well.

Virginia TechCarles Coll Marti (senior IMer/breastroker), Luis Dominguez (junior freestyler), Nico Garcia (junior backstroker), Youssef Ramadan (senior freestyler/flyer) Brendan Whitfield (freshman sprint freestyler)  Ramadan won the 100 free and 100 fly last year, and then stormed to a 100 fly NCAA title, the Hokies’ first-ever. Coll Marti, Dominguez, and Mario Molla Yannes (who apparently was not at 100% last postseason), are all slated to swim this week after representing Spain at the World Championships last week. Garcia is the defending ACC champion in the 200 back and runner-up in the 400 IM. Whitfield figures to be the Hokies’ biggest addition this season; he’s already been 41.84 in the 100 free this season, good for the #2 seed heading into the meet.

Showdowns

50 Free

This should be a heckuva race. Redshirt freshman Quintin McCarty tops the psych sheet with a lifetime best 18.80, but he’ll face plenty of stiff competition. Abdelrahman Elarby and Matt Brownstread are both previous ACC champions. Christopher Guilliano has been on fire for the last year, and Youssef Ramadan is always in the mix. It took a 19.3 to make the A-final last year, and a 19.2 in 2022, and it wouldn’t be surprising if it’s even faster this year.

100 Breast

This should be another great three-way battle between Noah Nichols, Denis Petrashov, and Carles Coll Marti. Nichols set the meet and conference record at 50.82 en route to winning last season, while Coll Marti has the top time in the conference this season with a 51.52. FSU fifth-year Peter Varjasi is seeded 4th with a 52.10, and he could play spoiler in his first ACC appearance in this event.

400 IM

This may not be the fastest race, in terms of how it figures to stack up nationally, but it does feel like it should be one of the more wide-open ones. Virginia Tech’s Nico Garcia is the top returner from last year, but another five men return from last year’s A-final, including NC State’s Owen Lloyd, who has the fastest time in the conference this season. Add in UNC’s Louis Dramm, who scored in this event at NCAAs, and you’ve got the making for an exciting race that should come down to the last few strokes.

200 Back

You’ve got the veterans. Defending champion and Olympic semi-finalist Nico Garcia (VT) and Kacper Stokowski (NC State), both of whom were under 1:40 in this race last year. You’ve got the younger guys. Louisville’s Jackson Millard, who’s already been nearly four seconds faster (1:39.94) than he was at this meet last year. JT Ewing (NC State) missed most of last season as a freshman but holds the #2 seed with a lifetime best of 1:40.21. Tommy Janton (ND) had a breakout freshman campaign. There’s NC State’s midseason addition Daniel Diehl, whose lifetime best of 1:39.62, from 16 months ago when he was still a high schooler junior, would’ve taken 2nd at ACCs last year.

Selections

There’s really no doubt that NC State will run away with this meet. They won by 600 points last year, and while they lost some top scorers like Will Gallant, Giovanni Izzo, and Nyls Korstanje, the addition of guys like Daniel Diehl, Quintin McCarty, and Sam Hoover means that they shouldn’t miss a beat.

The battle for second is where it could get interesting. Virginia Tech beat out Louisville and Virginia last year for that spot, and the Hokies return essentially the same team. Louisville felt like they were somewhat uncharacteristically “off” last year, and they haven’t been super-swift in-season thus far, but they’ve been showing signs of life lately. Likewise, the Cavaliers didn’t have a great performance last season by their standards, but from the glimpse of their top racers we got at the Cavalier Invite, they could be in better form this year. The upshot is that we’re going to pick these three to finish in the same order they did last year, but it shouldn’t be a huge surprise if that gets shaken up at all.

Notre Dame has been swimming well all season, and if one or more of the above three teams falter, the Fighting Irish could conceivably swoop in for a 3rd or 4th place finish. Florida State still may not be the sprint powerhouse it was a few years ago, but the Seminoles have also flashed some speed this season and could turn some heads this week. The battle for 7th between Pitt, Georgia Tech, and UNC could largely come down to diving points, while Duke will be looking to show what it can do under a new head coach. With Boston College not competing, the diving-only Miami program is almost certainly assured of a last-place finish even with their usual strong performance on the boards.

Picks:

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

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Coach Ryan
1 month ago

comment image
You forgot about this guy.

Cousin Eddie
1 month ago

Watch that 400 IM shock the world and drop 4 under 3:40

Andrew
1 month ago

NC state is like Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore ravens: all the hype just to flame out and be mid

Pescatarian
Reply to  Andrew
1 month ago

Andrew drinking early.

SAMUEL HUNTINGTON
1 month ago

Class years are off for the Virginia guys. Brownstead and Nichols are seniors, Connery a junior.

Oh Give Me Hamms
1 month ago

Beyond excited to see what Notre Dame will do at this meet. So much talent up and down the roster for a team with a bright future. Chris Guiliano obviously the big name but ND’s sophomore class could make some noise. Tommy Janton, Marcus Gentry, Dillon Edge, Tate Bacon and Michael “The Bear” Flynn some names to watch. Go Irish

Willswim
1 month ago

Last year NC State combine Men’s and Women’s score was 2887 to 2482 for Virginia. Will NC State be able to repeat that? Surely not by over 400 points again, right?

Breezeway
Reply to  Willswim
1 month ago

I think so. Women’s score will decrease (pains me to say) but I think the men’s score will increase.

Breezeway
1 month ago

What the hell does Cal have to do with a 23-24 ACC article? You can save that for next year. Ain’t nobody scared of Cal

Last edited 1 month ago by Breezeway
Whataburger
1 month ago

Notre Dame on the rise here. Watch out for Marcus Gentry in the backstroke. Dude has been on a tear this year.

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