UNC Men Break 200 Medley Relay School Record (1:24.23) At Last Chance Meet

2021 UNC Last Chance Meet (Men)

  • March 7th, 2021
  • Koury Natatorium, Chapel Hill, N.C.
  • SCY (25y)
  • Prelims/Finals + Time Trials
  • Results via Meet Mobile: “UNC Last Chance Meet 2021 – 3.7”

The UNC Tar Heels held a last chance meet for select swimmers at the Koury Natatorium on Sunday. After the single-day affair, which featured a prelims/finals set-up plus additional time trials, a total of four school records went down. Earlier from February 24-27, these last chance swimmers competed at the 2021 ACC Men’s Championships, where Louisville won the title by two points over NC State. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech placed a valiant third place finish, UNC earned their best finish in 5 years at 6th, and Duke placed 10th of 12 teams.

Highlighting the meet was the UNC men’s 200 medley relay program record, which went down after two previous attempts in less than 48 hours. Before tearing it up in Chapel Hill, the UNC men posted a season best of 1:24.46 at the Janis Dawd Hope Invitational from December 2020, which ranked 21st in the NCAA. At the 2021 ACC meet, UNC placed 8th at 1:24.80, with backstroker Tyler Hill being replaced with Tucker Burhans. Fast forward to yesterday morning, the UNC quartet of Burhans, Valdas Abalikšta, Boyd Poelke, and Jack Messenger first swam an attempt of 1:26.01, with all four legs gaining from their ACC splits.

Reseting into Sunday’s meet, the same quartet improved to a morning effort of 1:25.46, featuring Poelke’s 20.33 fly split. Resting again towards one last attempt during evening finals, the relay was finally able to drop from this morning and take down the UNC program record, clocking in an NCAA “A” cut of 1:24.23. That now moves UNC to 19th with Utah in this season’s NCAA rankings.

Sun Finals Janis Dawd Hope 2021 ACCs Sun Prelims Sat AM TT
Burhans (BK) 21.44** 21.30 (Hill) 21.74 21.49 21.90
Abaliksta (BR) 23.25** 23.60 23.39 23.87 23.61
Poelke (FL) 20.51 20.75 20.41 20.33** 20.89
Messenger (FR) 19.03 18.81** 19.26 19.77 19.61
1:24.23 1:24.46 1:24.80 1:25.46 1:26.01

**fastest split attempt

Also highlighting the meet was Virginia Tech sophomore AJ Pouch, setting a massive personal best to swim the NCAA “A” cut in the 200 breast. Coming with a seed of 1:54.44, which placed 12th at ACCs, Pouch dropped to a 1:53.56 in the prelims. In finals, Pouch split 25.58/28.48/28.98/29.56 to drop all the way down to 1:52.60, boosting him from 24th to 17th to 8th in the NCAA. He now joins a sub-1:53 top-16 pack heading into NCAA selections. Pouch affirms his #2 all-time position in VT history, just behind the 2017 school record (1:52.39).

Joining the 200 medley relay record for the Tar Heels was Tomas Sungalia, broke his own school record in the 200 free. After cruising to a 1:36.25 morning effort, Sungalia dropped down to a 1:33.87, ranking 33rd in the NCAA. His previous school record of 1:34.00 won the B-final at the 2021 ACC meet.

Duke teammates Matthew Whelan and David Hallaron both broke program records each on Sunday as well. In the 200 fly, Whelan dropped from his 1:44.68 season best to a 1:42.41 lifetime best, smashing the 2015 school record of 1:44.41. At the 2021 ACCs, Whelan placed 12th in the 200 fly at 1:45.14. Whelan now ranks 21st in the NCAA, most likely boosting his NCAA meet selection status. Teammate Hallaron also swam a morning record in the 500 free at 4:22.33, dropping from his season best of 4:24.43 from ACCs. Hallaron’s swim took down the 2016 record of 4:23.65.

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3 years ago

No mention of NC State swimmer qualifying. Two got invite times yesterday.

No X please
3 years ago

Anyone watching exchanges, if so they probably had eyes closed

Reply to  No X please
3 years ago

Relay swims in these last-chance time trial sessions should require the use of electronic relay exchange monitoring and visiting officials should be monitoring stroke and turn. This game has been played long enough…

Reply to  No X please
3 years ago

Exactly most people know that home field judging, SADLY, exists in these last change ding dong homer chance meets. Of course rarely do the teams that “make the standard” swim as fast at the real meet.

Reply to  No X please
3 years ago

You can watch the race vid and easily see that all the exchanges were legal.

3 years ago

College swimming had pouch at 32 before his prelim swim

About Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro

Nick has had the passion for swimming since his first dive in the water in middle school, immediately falling for breaststroke. Nick had expanded to IM events in his late teens, helping foster a short, but memorable NCAA Div III swim experience at Calvin University. While working on his B.A. …

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