Men’s swimming and diving claims a 10th place finish at 2019 NCAA Championships

The Cavaliers achieve their best finish since 2011

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Senior Brendan Casey finished in fourth place in the 400-yard individual medley. 

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

Virginia men’s swimming and diving earned a combined 106 points to place 10th overall at the NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas. From Wednesday to Saturday at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center, the Cavaliers earned 11 All-America honors, including six individual swimmers and three relay events. Additionally, six school records were broken over the four-day competition. 

On the first two days of competition, a pair of school records were broken in the 800-yard freestyle relay and the 400-yard medley relay. The team of junior Ryan Baker, sophomore Sam Schilling, junior Joe Clark and sophomore Cooper Wozencraft swam a time of 6:12.28 to finish eighth, earned All-America Honors and set the tone for the rest of the racing ahead. 

The success continued Thursday with the 400-yard medley relay team of Clark, sophomore Keefer Barnum, senior Bryce Keblish and Baker breaking their own record from the preliminary race with a time of 3:04.72. 

To cap off the day, senior Brendan Casey began his swimming program in the 500-yard freestyle. Casey finished in 13th place with a time of 4:14.39.

The Cavaliers entered Friday in 13th place, moving up to 11th place by day’s end. The Cavaliers had a memorable day with four new school record swims in the 400-yard individual medley, 200-yard medley relay, 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard backstroke. 

The morning preliminary races managed to produce two school records. Keblish recorded a time of 45.43 in 100-yard butterfly, and Clark swam a time of 45.17 in the 100-yard backstroke.

Casey scored the majority of the points with a fourth place finish in the 400-yard individual medley. 

"It was a historic day for our men, breaking four school records in one day," Coach Todd DeSorbo said. “The guys are thriving in the environment here and are 3-for-3 on breaking relay school records. We have already quadrupled our point total from last year and still have a full day left to compete. We are having a blast out in Austin."

The final day of competition, Virginia moved up to 10th place with two podium finishes from Casey and senior Zach Fong. Casey raced in the 1650-yard freestyle, notching fifth place and his third All-America honor of the weekend. Finishing in a similar fifth place, Fong swam a time of 1:40.28 in the final of the 200-yard butterfly. 

“I couldn't be prouder of these guys and what they've accomplished in just two short seasons,” DeSorbo said. “Going from not scoring at NCAAs two years ago to 29th last year and 10th this year. I'd be surprised if any other team in the history of the NCAA has gone from not scoring points at NCAAs to being top 10 in just two seasons. We will miss our seniors next year, but we are excited for the base they have built for the future of our program."

Virginia swimming and diving will return to competition in the fall.

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