The North Carolina men and women both swept their in-state rivals from North Carolina State on Friday at home, as the Tar Heels celebrated senior day at their final home meet of the season.
The final score in the women’s meet had the deep Tar Heel women topping NC State 167.5-126.5, and the Tar Heel men topping NC State 154-144.
The NC State women started out very strong in the 200 medley relay, which is arguably their best relay. With Riki Bonnema anchoring in 22.39, after many meet absences this season, the Wolf Pack’s medleys look very good. They actually out-split North Carolina (1:41.03) on every leg of this relay, including a 28.3 breaststroke leg from Lauren Poli.
UNC’s Stephanie Peacock, a former NCAA distance free champion, swept the distance events at this meet. First she took a win in the 1000 free in 9:43.24, which she followed with a 4:44.97 in the 500 free. She’s back on form this year after missing last year’s NCAA Championships.
Led by those wins from Peacock, North Carolina nearly swept the freestyle events. Danielle Siverling won the women’s 200 free in 1:46.60, part of a Tar Heel 1-2-3 finish. As things get shorter, though, NC State gets stronger. Allyn Hardesty still won the 100 free for the Tar Heels (50.06), but NC State freshman Natalie Labonge was able to take 2nd in 50.30.
Preceding the 50 free, though, NC State had their best freestyle performance, as Poli and Bonnema went 1-2 in the shortest event on this schedule, with times of 22.82 and 23.02, respectively.
The butterfly races were a tale of two distances. Early in the meet, UNC took a 1-2-3 finish in the 200 fly, which is the deepest event they have on the college schedule. That was led by a 1:59.26 from Meredith Hoover, followed by Cari Blalock in 2:00.38 and Hannah Runyon-Hass in 2:02.18.
Showing how separated the 100 and 200 fly are becoming at the collegiate level in terms of event specialties, NC State’s Zina Grogg won the 100 in 54.62, with Blalock 2nd and another NC State swimmer Ashlyn Koletic 3rd in 55.16. Hoover, winner of the longer distance, was just 5th in the 100.
NC State continued to look good in the shorter versions of races. They took three of the top four positions in the 100 back, led by Alexia Zevnik in 54.25; North Carolina’s Carly Smith kept them from maximum points with a 54.42, touching-out another 3rd-place finish from Koletic in 54.49.
In the backstrokes, though, NC State was able to maintain their success thanks to a Zevnik sweep. She won this race in 1:57.61, with UNC’s Annie Harrison 2nd in 1:57.66.
Even without Poli, their medley breaststroker, swimming, NC State still won the 100 yard race, with a 1:02.77 coming up 1st. In the 200, North Carolina’s Katherine Rechsteiner took 1st in 2:16.80.
NC State closed the meet with another relay win, this time taking the 400 free relay in 3:19.58 with four sub-50 second splits. UNC was eight-tenths back in 3:19.58, though Lauren Earp had the fastest split of the day with a 49.57 anchor for the Tar Heels.
Though it wasn’t the entirety of the difference, 1-2 finishes in both diving events gave North Carolina a significant advantage, about half of the total distance. The rest of the margin was accounted for by the Tar Heels’ depth, given that the total swimming event wins were split 7-7.
The men’s meet had a very similar theme tot he women’s meet: NC State looked very good in the shorter races, but the 200’s and up went largely in favor of the Tar Heels.
Nowhere was this more apparent than in the sprint freestyles. NC State took the top four spots, including a 19.93 from Simonas Bilis. In the 100 free, it was another NC State 1-2-3-4 finish, this time with Jonathan Boffa swimming a 43.83, and Simonas Bilis taking 2nd in 43.97. In both cases, they topped the defending ACC Male Swimmer of the Week Logan Heck from UNC, who was 6th and 5th, respectively, in the 50 and the 100.
Boffa was also able to win the 200 free in 1:36.72, but there North Carolina was a little better with a 1:37.95 from JT Stilley taking 2nd place.
Then, in the 500 free, Stilley won in 4:32.22, overtaking NC State’s Christian McCurdy in the last 50 yards. Then in the 1000 free, North Carolina went 1-2, led by William DeForest in 9:16.53.
In the butterfly, backstroke, and breaststroke events, it was a perfect split: NC State won all three 100 yard races, while North Carolina won all three 200 yard races.
In the flys, Barrett Miesfeld (47.06) and Soeren Dahl (48.50) went 1-2 in the 100 yard race for NC State. In the 200, it was North Carolina redshirt sophomore Dominick Glavich who won in 1:45.40.
In the backstrokes, NC State’s Andreas Schiellerup won the 100 in 47.84, with North Carolina’s Patrick Myers winning the 200 in 1:46.63.
And finally, in the 100 breaststroke, NC State’s Ian Bishop swam a 54.54 to beat North Carolina’s Kurt Wolhrab by a second, but in the 200, UNC went 1-2 with a 2:01.02 from Alex Gianino and a 2:01.19 from David Speese (the top 5 in that race were all between 2:01.0 and 2:01.9).
As the meet bore down upon its conclusion, though, North Carolina cranked things up. They took 1-2-3 points in the men’s 3-meter, for a 13-point advantage over NC State, who only brought 1 diver. That was the second-to-last individual event, and in the last individual event, the 200 IM, the Tar Heels took 4 of the top 5 spots including a 1:49.31 win from Gianino – his 2nd individual win of the meet.
NC State would finish the meet with an impressive 1-2 finish in the 400 free relay, including a 2:56.08 from their winning quartet, but by then the meet was just a bit out of reach, and UNC got a narrow 10-point win.
North Carolina swims another big in-state rival on Saturday against Duke, while North Carolina State will host Virginia in their senior meet.