Swim and dive excels against ACC rivals at dual meet


The Virginia men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams each came away with a pair of dual meet victories against ACC rivals North Carolina and Duke this weekend. The competition was the first the swimmers had seen in six weeks.

“I think we were excited to race,” swimming and diving head coach Mark Bernardino said. “We haven’t raced since early December, so you never really know for sure what will happen after that, but everyone was definitely excited to come out, and it played that way.”

The No. 15 men’s team (6-1, 2-0 ACC) opened the weekend with a dominating performance from start to finish against the No. 22 Tar Heels (3-1, 1-1 ACC). Virginia swimmers captured first place in 12 of the 16 events en route to a 194-106 victory.

“I think we came out and swam really well,” freshman Luke Papendick said. “We knew coming into the meet that we would have to show them what we got, and I think we came in and did that.”

The Cavaliers opened with victories in each of the first five events, highlighted by the 1000 free where Virginia juniors Jan Daniec and Brad Phillips and freshman Chris Webb finished first, second and third respectively. In the 100 backstroke, Papendick, junior Jack Murfee and senior Brady Fox took the top three spots. The meet was essentially out of reach for the Tar Heels before the halfway point.

“We definitely wanted to come out strong,” Papendick said. “Coach said that we hadn’t won the opening relay in a pretty long time, so it was awesome to win that race. Then distance guys came in and showed them we were going to control that meet from the get go.”

The No. 10 women’s team (7-0, 2-0 ACC) earned an equally impressive win against the No. 16 Tar Heels (2-2, 1-1 ACC). Unlike the men, the women fell behind early in the meet and were forced to play catch-up near the end. Trailing 72-59 at the first break, the Cavaliers eventually won 169-131.

“Going into the meet, we knew that we could see a lot of ups and downs,” sophomore Ellen Williamson said. “We knew there was a chance we wouldn’t be ahead at the first break, which we weren’t. But we were all prepared for that being a possibility, so none of us freaked out. We just regrouped and executed very well.”

The Tar Heels opened the meet capturing four of the first six events, including an Aquatic & Fitness Center record-breaking performance in the 1000 free by North Carolina junior Stephanie Peacock. Senior Lauren Perdue nearly singlehandedly kept the Cavaliers close in the early part of the meet with victories in the 200, 100, and 50 freestyle events. Freshman Courtney Bartholomew assisted with victories in the 100 and 200 backstroke events.

Entering the final four races, Perdue and Bartholomew were the only Cavalier swimmers with victories in the meet. The contest was still up for grabs before a pair of victories by Williamson in the 100 fly and 200 individual medley and a team win in the 400 freestyle relay secured the Virginia win.

“It was a very exceptional meet from both the men and the women,” Barnardino said. “We anticipated these types of matchups, and it went down to the wire for the women. We tried to save our best for last, and that proved to be a good strategy this year.”

A scaled-back Virginia men’s lineup defeated Duke (1-4, 0-4 ACC) by a score of 153 to 140 the next day. Virginia wins came from freshman Rodney Fentress in the 1000 free, Phillips in the 200 free, Murfee in the 100 and 200 back, Webb in the 200 fly, freshman Nick Alexiou in the 500 free and junior Nathan Hart in the 100 fly.

The Virginia women defeated Duke (2-4, 1-4 ACC) by a score of 152.5 to 122.5. The Cavaliers captured wins in 10 events, including wins from junior Rachel Naurath in the 200 fly, senior Christine Olson in the 200 breast and sophomore Shaun Casey in the 100 fly and 400 individual medley.

The weekend also featured a series of record-breaking performances by the two Virginia diving teams. Sophomore J.B. Kolod won the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events in both meets and set new Virginia records in the two events. On the women’s side, freshman Becca Corbett broke the school record on the 3-meter board against North Carolina before fellow freshman Katie Warburg set a new mark just hours later in the meet against Duke. Virginia divers claimed victories in every diving event over the weekend.

“I thought the diving performance was just tremendous,” Bernardino said. “They’ve worked hard and are achieving at a very high level right now, which is very exciting for our program.”

Prior to the meet, 12 Cavalier seniors were honored and recognized for their achievements. The senior class has won a collective six ACC team championships. Bernardino said they would look to capture another pair this year.

“This was our senior recognition day, but we’re a long way away from our seniors completing their careers,” Bernardino said. “We have so much more on the horizon over the course of the next six weeks or so. They’ve been a part of a great group that has achieved at an awfully high level, but the most important thing for me is that the seniors have an opportunity to leave as ACC champions.”

Both teams will be back in action this weekend to face Virginia Tech and Wisconsin.

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