NC State star Simonas Bilis was absent from the first two days of the 2015 Nike Cup, but arrived on day 3 to blast a huge relay split in the winning 400 free relay.
Meanwhile, deep team efforts saw the Duke men and North Carolina women win the meet despite no swimming wins for either program on day 3.
NC State won 4 of 7 events on the final night to seal a second-place team finish, though the story of the meet for the Wolfpack was often who wasn’t swimming as much as who was.
Star sprinter Simonas Bilis missed the first two days of the meet and only swam a relay on day 3. But the senior made his one swim count, blasting a 41.63 split on the second leg of the 400 free relay as NC State won in a blowout. Ryan Held led off in 42.87 and Joe Bonk and Andreas Schiellerup were 43-lows as NC State went 2:50.94. The Wolfpack were NCAA runners-up in this relay at last year’s NCAAs.
Held won the 100 free individually, going 42.94 in a 1-2-3-4 sweep for NC State. Bonk and Schiellerup were second and third, with Soeren Dahl fourth and Bilis not even entered.
The Pack also got a 1650 free win from Anton Ipsen, who was 14:52.00 to run away with the win, and late in the night, Christian McCurdy went 1:42.61 to take the 200 fly.
The notable absence Saturday, though, was All-American backstroker Hennessey Stuart, who qualified first in the 200 back with an outstanding 1:40.22 in prelims. He did not swim the final, allowing UNC’s Nic Graesser to pick up the win for his team in 1:46.41.
Navy got a big win in the men’s 200 breast, with Marlin Brutkiewicz going 1:56.66. Brutkiewicz trailed by half a second at the 100 mark, but flew home in a closing split of 29.92 to pick up the come-from-behind win.
Duke’s Josh Owsiany took the platform diving title to help seal the team win for the Blue Devils, who are looking poised to make a move in the crowded ACC this season. Despite a relatively quiet night 3, Duke won the meet handily over the defending conference champs.
- Duke – 1721
- NC State – 1545.5
- UNC – 1434
- Navy – 1297
- Yale – 1038.5
- East Carolina – 905
- Old Dominion – 593
The UNC women continued their hot streak this season, winning the Nike Cup title over a feisty Duke squad. That came on a big night from the Tar Heel roster top-to-bottom, as UNC held onto the meet without taking a single event.
The closest call came in the 200 back, where Tar Heel star Hellen Moffitt battled Duke’s Maddie Hess in a ferocious matchup. Hess jumped out to a lead of .7 seconds at the 100, and though Moffitt closed hard in the closing 50, it wasn’t quite enough to top Hess’s 1:55.14. Moffitt was 1:55.52 for runner-up honors.
Duke picked up two more wins late in the night, while trying to run down UNC in the points. Isa Paez won the 200 fly by a wide margin, popping a 1:56.14. And Mack Willborn added a platform diving title with 253.40 points.
NC State also had a big night on the women’s side. Alexia Zevnik led a 1-2-3 finish in the 100 free, going 48.60 to just top teammate Riki Bonnema (48.69). Natalie Labonge was third.
Then Kayla Brumbaum won the 200 breast going away, putting up a 2:10.62 to best the field by three seconds.
The Wolfpack would win the 400 free relay, combining the forces of Labonge, Zevnik and Bonnema with Krista Duffield to go 3:14.39. Bonnema was a quick 48.0 on the anchor leg, with Zevnik going 48.3 and Labonge leading off in 48.88, faster than the 49.13 she went individually.
Yale’s women dominated the distance race, with Eva Fabian going 16:17.09 to win the 1650 in a touchout of teammate Cailley Silbert (16:17.27).
UNC ultimately held off Duke by just over 40 points. The Tar Heels are looking to dethrone perennial ACC champs Virginia this season, and are building up some serious momentum this semester.
- UNC – 1815
- Duke – 1769
- Yale – 1519
- NC State – 1328.5
- East Carolina – 698.5
- Marshall – 661.5
- Old Dominion – 551.5
- Clemson – 195
- James Madison – 49