The second weekend of NCAA conference championships took place over the weekend. Schools from the ACC, Big-12, Big-10, and Pac-12 competed for their respective team championship, Feb. 22-25, with the hope of qualifying for the NCAA Championships set to take place in March. Texas, Michigan and Virginia’s men’s teams successfully defended their conference titles, and Texas A&M’s and California’s women returned their school’s to top spots they held two years previously as champions in 2010.
Former local swim and dive stars from Maryland and northern Virginia shined in all four championship meets, scoring in finals for their school’s team. Several walked away with conference championship medals.
Virginia collects fifth consecutive ACC title
It was a strong weekend for swimmers from Maryland and northern Virginia at the 2012 ACC swimming and diving championship meet. Defending champion Virginia walked away with its fifth consecutive conference championship, 15th overall, but the meet’s outcome was far from certain heading into the final day, with Virginia, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina separated by less than 20 points. Virginia finished with 626.5. Virginia Tech was second with 594.5 points; North Carolina third with 564.
Big points came from Virginia’s Bradley Phillips (Oakton High School/Curl-Burke) and Brady Fox (Georgetown Prep/RMSC) on the final day of competition to help propel the Cavaliers past their across state rivals.
Phillips finished strong after a rough start to his championship season. On day one, Phillips had a disappointing swim in the prelims of the 500 freestyle, gaining two seconds from his seed time. He won the ‘B’ final to finish ninth overall with a time of 4:26.60. It would not get any easier for the Virginia sophomore, who was disqualified on day two in the 400 individual medley.
But he rallied from his earlier swims, finishing in second place in the 1,650 freestyle with a time of 15:06.95. Florida State’s Mate De Angulo was well out ahead in the 1,650 freestyle,finishing in 14:53.68, but the race for second was much closer. Phillips used a strong final 500 to put space between himself and the rest of the field. He maintained every split but one under 28 seconds for the entire race.
Phillips’ teammate, Fox, finished fifth in the 100 backstroke in 48.09, and followed that performance with an impressive second place finish in the 200 backstroke (1:43.10), just missing first place by .12 to Clemson’s Chris Dart after a late charge during the final 50. Fox posted the fastest split on the final lap in 26.56, nearly a full second under Dart’s final split.
Virginia Tech got a boost from diver Logan Shinholser (Paint Branch/Montgomery Dive Club), who won the 3-meter and 1-meter competition with final scores of 435.40 and 378.50 points. Shinholser finished second in platform with 421.90 points, 1.3 points behind teammate Ryan Hawkins who won the event. Virginia senior Briggy Imbriglia (Bishop Ireton) was sixth in the 3-meter with 376.50 points and 11th in platform with 309.45 points.
Also contributing to Virginia Tech’s second place team finish was sophomore Nick Tremols (Battlefield High School/Curl-Burke), who finished fourth in the 200 butterfly (1:45.28), sixth in the 200 individual medley (1:47.78), and 10th in the 200 freestyle (1:37.41).
Michael Hallock (Oakton/Machine Aquatics) was 11th in the 1o0 back (48.70) for the Hokies.
Duke senior Ben Tuben (Thomas Jefferson/Potomac Marlins) finished fifth in the 100 butterfly in a time of 47.38 in a tightly packed top heat. First and fifth place were separated by .83 seconds. Tuben would later place 16th in the 200 butterfly in 1:50.33.
Maryland senior Andrew Relihan (Georgetown Prep/RMSC) finished 12th both the 400 IM (3:54.97) and 200 IM (1:48.87).
North Carolina State sophomore Matt Thomas (Georgetown Prep/RMSC) was 14th in the 200 freestyle in 1:38.48.
UNC senior Brock Park (Landon/Curl-Burke) was 16th in the 100 butterfly (48.63) and 19th in the 50 freestyle (20.56).
Maryland freshman Spencer Sterling (Blake/Flying Gull Aquatic Club) was 17th in the 200 butterfly (1:49.07), just ahead of Georgia Tech freshman Mark Sarman (Broad Run High School/Curl-Burke) who was 18th in 1:49.69.
Maryland senior Sean Stewart (Wootton/RMSC) was 10th in the 200 butterfly in 1:46.76 and 18th in the 100 butterfly in 49.08.
Maryland junior Alex Spina (Paul VI Catholic/Curl-Burke) finished 21st overall in the 500 freestyle, with a time of 4:34.54.
After advancing to the ‘B’ final of the 400 IM, Virginia sophomore Serge Gould (Walt Whitman/Curl-Burke) was disqualified during the breaststroke leg of the 400 IM. He would later finish in 23rd place in the 200 breaststroke (2:06.01).
Boston College senior Michael Stephens (Georgetown Prep/Aqua Hoya Swim Club) finished 24th in the 100 breaststroke in 57.88.
UNC freshman Ryan Fox (James Madison High School) and Virginia Tech sophomore John Trope (West Springfield/Dominion Dive Club) also competed in the diving events, but did not advance to the final. Trope was 15th in platform with 297.15 points; Fox was 16th with 296.30 points.
While Virginia celebrated its continued success in the ACC, Clemson swimmers and divers came together one last time as a team at the conclusion the meet. They received a rousing response from the crowd and fellow ACC swimmers, who joined them in their team cheer. Clemson’s program was cut in 2010. This will be its final season.
Texas men roll to 16th straight Big-12 championship; Texas A&M pulls away from Texas to win title
The University of Texas entered this year’s Big-12 Championship meet having won 15 consecutive men’s conference titles. They would earn their 16th title on Saturday, winning by one hundred points over runner-up Texas A&M. Missouri was third.
Friedland, the defending NCAA Champion in the 200 breaststroke, was second in the event behind teammate Nick D’Innocenzo. They finished in 1:56.59 and 1:55.78, respectively. Friedland was also third in the 100 breaststroke in 54.64. After failing to advance to the ‘A’ final in the 200 IM, Friedland finished ninth in 1:47.63.
Cooper returned to the boards after taking a break from diving in 2011, after finishing third in platform at NCAA finals, when Texas claimed the 2010 men’s championship title. This year, Cooper finished third in platform, and fourth in both the 1-meter and 3-meter competitions.
On the women’s side, Texas A&M entered the meet as the heavy favorites over defending champions Texas. The Aggies won 11 of 19 events to put distance between themselves and Texas, finishing 752 to 615 points over the Longhorn ladies.
Breeja Larson was named Swimmer of the Meet after winning both breaststroke races and providing key splits on both Texas A&M’s winning medley relays. Janie Potvin was named Diver of the Meet after winning the platform and 1-meter diving events.
Longhorns’ freshman swimmer Kaitlin Pawlowicz (Oakton/Curl-Burke) performed well in the second-place effort. In her first conference championship appearance, Pawlowicz was third in the 400 individual medley, in a time of 4:14.67, fourth in the 1650 freestyle with a time of 16:27.87, and fifth in the 500 freestyle in 4:45.80.
Pawlowicz and Friedland achieved NCAA ‘B’ cuts in all of their events, and will wait to hear if they advance to the NCAA Championship.
Cal reclaims women’s Pacific-12 championship
It was a back and forth battle between the defending conference champion Stanford women and the 2010 champion California at the 2012 Pacific-12 women’s swimming and diving championship meet. In the end, Cal reclaimed the title with a score of 1389.5 points, led by double winners Caitlin Leverenz — Pac-12 Swimmer of the Meet — and Liv Jensen. Stanford finished second with 1341.5 points; USC was third with 1225.
Leverenz won the 400 individual medley and 200 breaststroke events. She is a strong contender for a spot on the United States 2012 Olympic team in the 200 and 400 individual medley events.
Former McLean High School and Machine Aquatic swimmer Eva Greene chipped in for the Cal Bears. The freshman finished 21st overall in the women’s 200 backstroke in 1:59.33. Greene also swam in the 200 IM and 100 backstroke, but did not advance to finals.
While Arizona faded to fourth in the team competition, junior Ellyn Baumgardner (Fairfax/Curl-Burke) finished second in the women’s 100 breaststroke in 59.79, just missing first by .02 seconds to Rebecca Ejdervik (Arizona State). She finished 13th in the 200 breaststroke in 2:15.67. She did not advance in the 200 IM in which she also competed.
Michigan defends Big Ten championship; wins historic 36th conference title
Michigan was dominant at the men’s Big-10 championship meet, leading the team competition from start to finish. They successfully defended their title, racking up 738.5 points, finishing well ahead of runner-up Ohio State University (552.5 points) and third-place Indiana University (549 points). It was Michigan’s 36th Big-10 championship.
Junior Sean Fletcher (James Madison High School/Curl-Burke) was the top qualifier for the 100 butterfly ‘A’ final after setting a new pool record during prelims in 46.10. That record would be short lived, as Fletcher fell to third in the final, behind teammate Daniel Madwed, who finished in 46.02, resetting the pool record. Fletcher finished in 46.16.
Fletcher was also part of Michigan’s winning 400 medley relay, which set a new pool record in 3:07.32, along with Miguel Ortiz, Richard Funk, and Madwed.
Senior Stephen Sakaris (Wootton/RMSC) finished seventh in the 200 freestyle for the runner-up Ohio State Buckeyes with a time of 1:36.49.
Minnesota junior Matt Benecki (Chantilly/FISH) was eighth in the 1,650 freestyle in 15:06.53 and 11th in the 500 freestyle in 4:22.03.
Senior John Schnittker (James Madison High School/Machine Aquatics) finished 11th in the 1,650 freestyle in 15:13.25 and 22nd in the 200 freestyle in 1:38.72 for Indiana University.
Freshmen Kurt Ratcliff (Westfield High School/Curl-Burke) and Jonathan Ekstrom (Georgetown Prep/RMSC) performed strongly in their first conference championship meet for Penn State. Ratcliff finished 16th in the 400 IM (4:01.68) and 1650 freestyle (15:17.97), as well as a 24th place finish in the 200 butterfly (1:50.45). Ekstrom finished 24th in the 400 IM (3:58.43) and 200 breaststroke (2:03.47 ).
James Madison women claim first CAA title since 2001; UNC-Wilmington repeats for 11th straight time
James Madison Dukes’ women soured to a 146 point lead on the final day at the Colonial Athletic Association Swimming & Diving Championships, held at George Mason’s Jim McKay Natatorium in Fairfax, beating four-time defending champions Towson University, 771 to 625 points.
University of North Carolina-Wilmington claimed its 11th straight CAA men’s title with 683 points over second-place George Mason with 626 points. Host team, George Mason has been the runner-up to UNC-Wilmington in seven of the 11 years, including the last three in a row.
Tags: ACC Championships, Alex Spina, Andrew Relihan, Arizona State, Ben Tuben, Big-10 Championships, Big-12 Championships, Bradley Phillips, Brady Fox, Briggy Imbriglia, Brock Park, Caitline Leverenz, California swimming, Clemson University, Duke, Duke University, Ellyn Baumgardner, Eric Friedland, Eva Greene, George Tech, Indiana University, John Schnittker, John Trope, Jonathan Ekstrom, Kaitlin Pawlowicz, Kurt Ratcliff, Logan Shinholser, Mary Sarman, Matt Benecki, Matt Cooper, Matt Thomas, Michael Hallock, Nick Tremols, North Carolina State, Ohio State University, Pac-12 Championships, Penn State University, Ryan Fox, Sean Fletcher, Sean Stewart, Serge Gould, Spencer Sterling, Stanford University, Stephen Sakaris, Texas A&M, University of Arizona, University of Califormia, University of Maryland, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of Missouri, University of North Carolina, University of Texas, University of Virginia, Virginia Tech