The University of North Carolina Tar Heels used their depth to defeat all three opponents despite only winning only two of fourteen events (sixteen events if you include diving).
The most impressive individual performance belonged not to a UNC swimmer, however, but to Indiana’s Blake Pieroni. He bettered his own nation-leading time in the 200 free, swimming a 1:35.91. He also won the 100 free with a 43.64 and the 200 IM in a time of 1:48.38, giving him three victories over the course of the afternoon. Indiana swept the short freestyles thanks to Ali Khalafalla, whose 20.05 in the 50 free puts him as fifth-fastest in the nation this year.
Sean Lehane of Tennessee followed up his massive 200 back last night by sweeping the backstroke events today, winning the 100 back with a 47.65 and the 200 back with a 1:43.23.
Tennessee had a swimmer with two individual victories as well, thanks to Evan Pinion. First, he beat out Indiana’s Jackson Miller over the final 100 to win to the 1000 free by a margin of 9:06.03 to 9:07.61. Drew Aviotti of Kentucky placed fourth with a 9:14.17, earning him the highest individual finish of the meet of any of the Kentucky men.
Pinion’s time ranks as the fifth-fastest in the nation heading into this weekend. He also won the 500 free with a 4:23.08, currently good for second-fastest in the nation, behind Clark Smith of Texas.
The breaststroke events were also swept, but in this case it was a Hoosier again, as Tanner Kurz won the 100 breast with a 54.52 and the 200 breast with a 1:59.67. The former National Age Group Record holder ranks 1st in the Big Ten in the 100 breaststroke and 2nd in the 200 – the latter of which via a season-best on Friday evening.
The Tar Heels’ only two victories occurred in the fly events, but they were noteworthy in their prominence. Ben Colley won the 200 fly with a 1:45.20. That’s just .02 off fastest time in the nation this year, behind Pace Clark of Georgia. Meanwhile, UNC had a 1-2-3 sweep in the 100 fly, led Sam Lewis‘s 47.20, second-fastest time in the nation this year.
Despite individual dominance and an overall team victory, UNC didn’t win either relay, as Tennessee started off the meet by winning the 200 medley relay in a time of 1:27.40. The highlight of that relay was Peter John Stevens’s 23.89 split on the breastroke leg, almost a second faster than any other swimmer in the field. Tennessee’s time puts them just .02 behind Alabama for the second-fastest time so far this season.
And while Indiana couldn’t come up with the team victory over UNC, they still ended the meet in remarkable fashion. Anze Tavcar, Khalafalla, Oliver Patrouch, and Pieroni combined to win the 400 free relay in 2:55.85. That time surpasses the 2:55.89 Texas swam last weekend to take over the number one spot so far this season. After what was a desolate group a few years back, Indiana head coach Ray Looze has built this men’s sprint group from the ground up, with big recruiting and the hiring of a top sprint-oriented assistant coach in Dennis Dale, and it’s pushing through this year to shape as one of the best in the country.
- Indiana 233, Kentucky 67
- Indiana 156, Tennessee 144
- UNC 152, Indiana 146
- Tennessee 212, Kentucky 88
- UNC 236, Kentucky 64
- UNC 166, Tennessee 134
The UNC women also swept all three opponents, but in a very different fashion, as they took eight of 14 swimming events, plus one of two diving events.
Tennessee began the women’s meet like they did the men’s by taking the 200 medley relay in a time of 1:39.97, almost a second ahead of UNC.
Emma Nunn of UNC won the first individual event of the afternoon in time of 9:53.08 to earnher first place in the 1000 free, over two seconds in front of Indiana’s Haley Lips.
The Tar Heels kept rolling in the 200 free, with Allyn Hardesty beating out teammate Lauren Earp 1:47.06 to 1:47.15 to take the top two spots.
UNC kept their early momentum going when Hellen Moffitt won the 100 back with a time of 53.48, and it wasn’t until the fourth individual event that someone other than UNC won.
Indiana’s Miranda Tucker out swam teammate Lilly King to win 1:01.74 to 1:01.85. The Hoosiers tried to get a winning streak of their own going, as Gia Dalesandro won the 200 fly with a 1:58.26, fourth-fastest in the country going into this weekend.
Just before the first break, the Tar Heels got back to their winning ways; Caroline Baldwin won the 50 free with a 22.65.
UNC kept the momentum going after the break, as Hardesty her won her second event of the evening with a 49.24 in the 100 free. UNC went 1-2-3, as Caroline Baldwin (50.03) and Earp (50.09) touched after Hardesty to complete a Tar Heel sweep of the top three spots.
Moffitt continued UNC’s second win streak of the afternoon with her second victory of the afternoon, courtesy of a 1:55.94 effort in the 200 back. Danielle Galyer‘s 1:59.15 earned her second pace, the highest finish of the afternoon for the Kentucky women, and one of only two times a Kentucky swimmer cracked the top three.
Tucker interrupted UNC’s run by sweeping the breaststroke events with a 2:12.54 in the 200 breast to get Hoosiers another victory. That time was the fifth-fastest in Division I heading into the weekend.
Kennedy Gross gave Indiana their second win streak by winning the 500 free with a 4:49.84, but that streak would be short-lived, as Moffitt completed her triple by winning the 100 fly. Her time of 52.85 is the third-fastest in the country this season.
Tennessee got their only win of the afternoon in the last individual event by sweeping the top three spots. They were led by Micah Bohon, who won with a 2:01.76.
UNC capped off their dominating performance by winning the 400 free relay in a time of 3:18.31, improving on their already nation-leading best time for the season, as they were .02 seconds faster than they were three weeks ago against Georgia.
- Indiana 230, Kentucky 70
- Tennessee 153, Indiana 145
- UNC 180, Indiana 120
- Tennessee 193, Kentucky 107
- UNC 218, Kentucky 82
- UNC 184, Tennessee 116
Complete results can be found here.
Note: except where otherwise noted, rankings reflect best times in NCAA Division I per the latest information in the USA Swimming database as of the time of publication.