PITTSBURGH – With a brief intermission in competition on hand for the Panthers over winter break, we take a look back at swimming and diving’s strong opening half of the 2015-16 season.
“In the middle of our third year as a member of the ACC, our plan to become more competitive nationally is coming to fruition,” said head coach Chuck Knoles. “We are well ahead of where we were last year at this time for both men and women. The entire conference is well ahead competitively as compared to last year. The ACC now leads the country on the women’s side of the rankings and is one of the most competitive on the men’s side— it is indeed the conference to be in for swimming and diving.”
The men’s team has accrued a record of 12-5 (0-4 ACC), while the women are off to a strong start of 15-3 (2-2 ACC), tallying conference wins over Georgia Tech (191-109) and Notre Dame (188-182).
As of Dec. 10, the Panthers owned 46 of the ACC’s top 25 times across all individual events, highlighted by senior Kaleigh Ritter’s 16:12.73 mark in the 1650 free which ranked 11th in the nation and second in the conference when it was posted at the Big Al Invite.
Numerous school records have toppled in the process, both in the pool and on the boards.
Emily Murphy knocked off the school’s 100 free record with a 49.50 in the leadoff leg of yet another record-breaking performance with her 400 free relay team at the Pitt Invitational. Building on Murphy’s starting effort, the quartet of she, Rachel Brown, Leticia Lelli, and Danyel Johnson posted a program-best 3:19.78 in that event.
Murphy also posted an Olympic Trials cut at the Pitt Invite in the 50-meter freestyle (26.18) on the first leg of the 200 LCM free, the first OT cut of her career.
Amanda Richey and Zach Lierley accomplished the rare feat of back-to-back record performances in the men’s and women’s side of the same event at the Big Al Invitational. Richey turned in a mark of 4:14.93 in the 400 IM, while Lierley posted a time of 3:46.91.
For the divers, Meme Sharp reset her own record in the 3M (359.50) and Dominic Giordano has left a trail of facility records in his wake to date, along with a school record in the 3M (462.23). Giordano has received three ACC Male Diver of the Week honors for his efforts.
The full squads will return to action on Saturday, Jan. 9, in a dual meet at West Virginia.
Swimming news courtesy of Pitt Swimming & Diving.