In 2017, the month of January came in like a lamb, but out like a lion.
It’s always a sleepy start to each Olympic cycle, with the usual glut of retirements and extended breaks. But college swimming in the United States’ NCAA system is providing plenty of drama to get us started in the 2020 cycle. Nowhere was that on better display than this past weekend, where a number of historic upsets marked the late regular season in college swimming.
Here’s a look at some of the more notable results from a historical perspective:
NC State Women Over Virginia Women, 153-147
Probably the most high-profile upset of the weekend, NC State knocked off 9-time defending ACC champs Virginia. The nailbiter of a meet (which came down to the final relay) was just the second ACC loss for Virginia in the past decade.
Tennessee Women Over Florida Women, 151-149
Another incredibly close meet featured another first in an inter-conference rivalry. Tennessee topped Florida for the first time ever on the road. Florida had won every meeting of the two teams stretching back to the 1970s until Tennessee finally picked up a win at home in 2012. The Vols also won in 2014, but that was also in Knoxville. This weeks’ match was the first road win for Tennessee against the Gators in program history.
Buffalo Men Over Eastern Michigan, 161-139
In the Mid-American Conference, Buffalo ended a massive Eastern Michigan win streak. EMU had won 72 consecutive conference dual meets, stretching back to the 1997-1998 season. Buffalo’s win, which came on senior night at home, came by a solid margin and was the team’s first-ever win over Eastern Michigan.
Duke Women Over UNC Women 163-137 and Duke Men Over UNC Men 173-126
It was another big ACC upset in Chapel Hill, with the visiting Duke Devils topping North Carolina and ending almost 80 years of dominance. The Duke men hadn’t beaten UNC since 1939, a whopping 78 years ago. For the Duke women, it was the first win over UNC in program history.
Fordham Men Over UMass Men, 156-142
Fordham’s home senior day win over UMass was also the first in program history. The meet came down to the final relay, with senior Joe Mercurio helping Fordham celebrate his senior day with both a win in the event and an overall meet win.
Anything we forgot? If you know of any other historic dual meet results from this past weekend’s slate of meets, leave them in the comment section. And stay tuned to SwimSwam’s college channel for continuing coverage of all the upsets yet to come!