The two-day dual meet between the UNC Tar Heels and Louisville Cardinals has North Carolina leading at home in both the men’s and women’s meets in surprisingly dominant efforts.
The meet will wrap up tomorrow in Chapel Hill.
The biggest news is in the women’s meet, where UNC, ranked at #17 in our season-opening power rankings, are topping #4 Louisville by a huge 63-point margin.
UNC was just 19th at last year’s NCAA Championships compared to Louisville’s 6th, but the Tar Heels are a sneaky-good dual meet team and had home pool advantage Friday night.
They won 7 of 9 events on the women’s side, even holding NCAA champ Kelsi Worrell winless on day 1.
The biggest blows were in the relays, though, which UNC swept. The tone was set early on with the 200 free relay, in which the Tar Heels went 1:29.86, a new nation-leading time, to upset Louisville, the previous NCAA leaders. UNC’s team was made up of Caroline Baldwin, Allyn Hardesty, Sarah Hitchens and Lauren Earp, and though splits weren’t available, that time divides out to average splits of 22.4.
Louisville was well off the season-best time they put up at the SMU Classic, going 1:31.82.
Hardesty would go on to get arguably the night’s biggest head-to-head win, topping Worrell in the 100 free 49.11 to 49.44. Baldwin was third (49.71) and Earp fourth (49.89) in a big-scoring event for UNC.
Louisville fought back hard in the night’s final event, taking the 400 free relay down to a touch, but UNC still pulled out the win, 3:38.93 to 3:39.27. The Tar Heel relay included Megan Bestor, Katie Munch, Hellen Moffitt and Hardesty, and once again accurate splits were not available.
Both Munch and Moffitt won individual races of their own. Munch beat tough Cardinal freshman Rachael Bradford-Feldman to win the 200 IM in 2:01.33. She pulled a tight double, coming back to swim the 100 breast just a few events later, but fell to Louisville’s Andee Cottrell (1:01.91).
Moffitt blew out the 200 back field in 1:54.34, the third-fastest time in the NCAA this season. Bestor was second in another scoring haul for the home team.
Other event winners:
- Louisville’s freshman class has been beyond impressive this year, and it pulled off the only other Cardinal win of the night. Mallory Comerford was 4:47.64 to win the 500 free.
- With NCAA 200 fly champ Worrell swimming the 100 free instead, UNC went 1-2-3 in the butterfly, led by Sarah Koucheki‘s 1:57.64.
- Tar Heel Elisa Dawson won the 3-meter diving event, scoring 345.83 points.
- UNC 115 – Louisville 52
The Tar Heel men were equally dominant, winning 7 of 9 events themselves, once again including both relays.
The freestyle events were where UNC was especially overpowering. Early in the meet, Henry Campbell led a 1-2-3 sweep of the 500 free, racking up big points for the home club. Campbell’s 4:23.67 rattled his own season best of 4:23.22, which sits #4 in the NCAA.
The 100 free was very nearly a repeat sweep, but Louisville’s Trevor Carroll snuck in for second to break up the UNC trio. Tar Heel Logan Heck was 44.14 to win convincingly, and Carroll’s 44.69 just nipped the 44.79 from Lucas Popp and the 44.89 from Sam Lewis.
In one of the night’s best races, Tar Heel Ben Colley jumped into the NCAA’s top 10 for the year in the 200 IM, going 1:48.16 to beat Louisville’s Nolan Tesone (1:48.71).
The freestyle domination extended to the 200 free relay, where UNC won in 1:19.97. That’s the 6th-fastest time in the NCAA this year courtesy of Lewis, Colley, Heck and Nic Graesser.
Louisville didn’t get a men’s win until the 10th event of the night (including men’s and women’s races), the 200 back. Grigory Tarasevich went 1:45.12 with teammate Aaron Greene second, somewhat stemming the points bleeding for the Cardinals.
Other event winners:
- Louisville’s only other win came in 3-meter diving, where Sean Piner scored 309.30 points.
- Kurt Wohlrab led a 1-2 finish for the UNC men in the 100 breast. He was 55.10, with Michael McBryan going 55.12 and Louisville’s Carlos Claverie 55.17.
- Matthew Conway won the 200 fly in 1:46.63 for the Tar Heels with Colley second.
- UNC won the 400 medley relay in 3:13.16 with a lineup of Graesser, Wohlrab, Lewis and Heck.
- UNC 107 – Louisville 59