Pack Finishes Second in the 2014 ACC Championships
March 1, 2014
GREENSBORO, N.C. - The No. 18 NC State men's swimming & diving team clinched a second-place finish at the 2014 ACC Championships, as the meet concluded on Saturday at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.
The second-place showing is the squad's top performance at the conference meet in the Braden Holloway era. Throughout the evening, the Pack claimed six medals and saw five more school records fall. Over the four-day competition, the men's squad combined to claim 18 medals (7 gold, 7 silver, 4 bronze) in 21 events and saw 15 school records fall.
"I'm proud of our Wolfpack men, moving up the ladder to finish second in the ACC this year," Holloway said. "That was a great performance, a great team effort. I know we were close to that championship. It was right out of our reach."
Virginia Tech claimed the ACC crown with 1,264.5 points. The Wolfpack finished with 1,226 points. North Carolina claimed third overall with 995 points, while Virginia (972) and Florida State (957.5) rounded out the top five.
"Hats off to Virginia Tech," Holloway said. "They had a very well-balanced team performance that was just a little too much for us."
The evening session began with sophomore Austin Snyder claiming the silver medal in the 1650 freestyle with a time of 15:09.06, while freshman Adam Linker finished in fourth overall as he clocked a 15:09.14.
"Our two milers stepped up big time to get the ball rolling in that night session," Holloway said.
Stephen Coetzer took home his second medal of the championships with a silver medal performance in the 200 backstroke. The junior bettered his school record time of 1:43.21 during the morning preliminaries with a blazing 1:40.53, before capturing second overall in the finals with a 1:41.21. With the performance, Coetzer automatically qualifies for the NCAA Championships with an NCAA `A' cut. In addition, Michael Camper finished sixth overall with a finals time of 1:43.23.
Simonas Bilis captured his fifth medal of the conference meet, as the native of Lithuania finished with the gold medal in the 100 freestyle with a time of 42.26. Bilis eclipsed the previous school record of 42.69 in the morning preliminaries with a swim timed at 42.25. Boffa claimed the bronze medal in the event with a time of 42.60, while David Williams touched the wall in 42.80 to finish fourth.
In addition, the Pack claimed the top spot in the `B' final, as Soren Dahl (43.69) finished ninth overall, while Andreas Schiellerup and Matt Thomas shared 10th with a time of 43.83. Jason Deana (44.45) and Scott Johnson (44.50) also competed in the same heat, while Barrett Miesfeld finished with a time of 44.60 in the `C' final.
"We scored a lot of points in the 100 free and that was just exciting," Holloway stated. "That event gave us a chance, so hats off to coach Todd [Desorbo] and all those sprinters."
Another school record fell in the 200 breast, as senior Ian Bishop improved his program record mark of 1:58.23 set last season with a top time of 1:56.68 in the morning preliminaries. He returned for the night session to finish eighth overall in the event, touching the wall in 1:57.09.
A product of Irwin, Pa., Christian McCurdy claimed his second gold medal in as many nights with a first place showing in the 200 butterfly. McCurdy won the event and set a new school record with a NCAA automatic qualifying time of 1:41.72, while surpassing his previous record time of 1:44.56. The sophomore's time also breaks the previous conference record of 1:42.19. John Newell also competed in the event and placed 13th with a finals time of 1:46.28.
"For Christian McCurdy to walk away with another gold and an ACC record in the 200 fly set us up to finish on a good note," Holloway said.
NC State closed the meet by capturing its fourth relay title of the championships in the 400 freestyle relay, as the quartet of Bilis, Williams, Schiellerup and Boffa recorded a school record and set the all-time ACC best mark with a time of 2:50.06. The time broke the previous school record of 2:51.29, while breaking the previous ACC mark of 2:51.26.
"The 400 free relay is a great event for us," Holloway said. "For us to go out and break the ACC record in that event really sums up our weekend."
The Wolfpack relay teams posted strong results throughout the week, as the squad claimed first in four of five relays contested and set the all-time ACC record in the 200 medley relay, 200 free relay and the 400 free relay. In addition, the squad posted school records in each of the five relays contested in the championships.
"These guys are a special group of guys," Holloway said. "I told them that I had not seen this type of performance in the pool in a very long time. It was just unreal to see and unreal to be apart of.
"I want to thank our alumni and our parents. Their support this weekend was unbelievable. Through the cheering in the stands, to the calls, texts and tweets. That helps keeps those guys stay united and keeps our staff united as well."
Up next, the Wolfpack women's squad will compete in the 2014 NCAA Championships from March 20-22 in Minneapolis, Minn.