The Virginia Tech Hokies may have been swept by the Virginia Cavaliers this past weekend, but new head coach Sergio Lopez was positive as he reflected on both the meet and his six months or so in the new role. Lopez was hired in April to replace longtime head coach Ned Skinner and arrived in Blacksburg in late summer. He’s had a long and storied career as both a swimmer and a coach, most recently as an assistant at Auburn.
Lopez said he was particularly pleased by the very last event of the meet, where the men’s 400 free relay squad pipped the Cavaliers by a mere 0.01s, even if the overall outcome of the meet was already a foregone conclusion.
He also revealed that he’s in a different situation than he’s ever been before as a coach in that he has a longterm contract, something that will allow to focus on the big picture for Virginia Tech. Especially for this season, he plans to keep the emphasis on just swimming fast, and not worrying about where the teams places at ACCs or NCAAs.
The Hokie men actually have a more recent ACC championship than do the Cavaliers, and the VT men beat UVA in their one dual meet last season, even though UVA ended up finishing higher at ACCs. Still, with both schools having brought in new coaches in the past two years, swims fans in the Old Dominion should be in store for plenty of great competition between the intrastate rivals in the years to come.