Pitt men’s swimming concluded the ACC Championships Thursday at Georgia Tech’s McAuley Aquatic Center as the Panthers finished the meet in 10th place with 513 team points, setting a new Pitt men’s swimming & diving record for highest team tally by over 100 points.
“This was a really memorable meet for our team, and I’m very happy that the seniors finished with such a successful and fun experience,” Pitt first-year head coach John Hargis said. “This was an important step forward for our program. The heart and toughness we showed allowed us to compete all week right with the best in the ACC, and it was great to see so many records broken and memories made.”
After a week of numerous finals appearances and Pitt school records, the final day of the ACC men’s meet was no different for the Panthers as six swimmers advanced to the evening’s finals and two more school records dramatically dropped.
Sophomore distance swimmer Aaron Sett was the first record-setting Panther on Thursday, setting a new Pitt record in the 1,650-yard free with a time of 15:11.65 to break the previous 2002 school standard held by Eric Limkemann. Sett’s ninth-place finish in the ACC freestyle mile was his second top-10 swim of the week, following his eighth-place swim in the 500 free that also resulted in a Pitt record.
Freshman Eben Vorster tallied a top-10 finish of his own for the Panthers with a new Pitt record by finishing as the runner-up in the ACC’s 200 fly B Final with a time of 1:44.58. Vorster’s 10th-place swim in the event broke Martin Vogel’s previous school record from 2014 and earned Pitt its sixth top-10 individual placement of the meet, which was two more than the Panthers amassed at their previous three ACC Championships combined.
Pitt’s other finalists were highlighted by 200 breast consolation B finalist Zach Lierley, who finished 16th with a time of 1:58.26. In the bonus C finals, Henrique Machado placed 21st in the 200 back by touching in 1:45.45, Gabe Larson took 18th (1:58.87) and Haden Calegan earned 23rd (2:00.18) in the 200 breast andLuke Smutny secured a 20th-place finish in the 200 fly in 1:46.90.
Senior Scott Simmer also tallied for the Panthers in the 1650 free, finishing 19th in 15:29.52.
In the meet’s last event, the 400 freestyle relay, Brian Lovasik, Henrique Machado, Eben Vorster and Gabe Larson placed ninth with a time of 2:55.93, just .06 seconds off the school record from 2002.
Pitt’s other swims on the final day of ACCs in Atlanta included Spencer Gray taking 28th in the 1650 free with a time of 16:02.96, Kohle Kerchner also placing 28th in the 200 back by touching in 1:48.66 and Brian Lovasik (32nd, 44.28) and Tommy Cestare (45th, 46.24) competing in the 100 free. Also, the group of Brian Ramsey (26th, 2:00.45), Boris Kulizhnikov (27th, 2:00.80), Nick Stachel (29th, 2:01.89) and Samy Helmbacher (30th, 2:02.21) just missed out on qualifying for the 200 breast finals and Jake Tovey (27th, 1:47.87) narrowly missed the 200 fly finals.
The Panthers finished the 2017 ACC Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships with 11 school records, six swimming top-10 finishes, four diving top-10 efforts by Dominic Giordano and Joe Ference two weeks ago and by far Pitt’s highest-ever point total at ACCs in its four-year history in the conference.
Pitt’s 168-point improvement on last year’s ACC team tally of 345 was the second-biggest increase in the league, behind only this year’s bronze medalist team, Notre Dame. North Carolina State won the ACC Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships for the third straight season with 1297.5 points.
News courtesy of Pitt Athletics.