Swimming & Diving Topples Maryland on the Road
COLLEGE PARK, Md. Both NC State men and women’s swimming and diving teams picked up valuable ACC victories over Maryland on Saturday, Jan. 26 in College Park, Md. The decision moves the men’s record to 5-2 (2-2 ACC), while the women improve to 4-4 (1-3 ACC). The men’s team grabbed first-place in 10 of 16 events, while the women finished ahead of the class in eight.
The women’s team pulled off a Herculean effort after trailing by 37 points at the end of the first session, resulting in what head coach Brooks Teal said was one of the biggest come-from-behind victories that he’d ever witnessed, as well as a huge confidence builder for the team.
Erica Smith, Sarah Merritt, Patrice Dason and Ashley Ritcher got the Pack women off on the right foot with a 1:46.39 victory in the 200-medley relay. Anna Linkenauger (10:27.58), Kathryn Creech (10:33.73) and Taryn Shelley (10:36.22) then finished second, third and fourth respectively in the 1000-free, while Smith took third in the 100-back on a 58.62.
A 2:04.93 was enough for Maresa Like-Mathews to place second in the 200-butter, and Dason (24.04) and Ritcher (24.23) came in second and third in the 50-free before Ritcher (52.98) placed third in the 100-free. Jennifer Kopenitz (2:03.55) and Kayla Ricedorf (2:08.00) obtained the first and second finish in the 200-back, while Jessica Ward (2:21.45), Merritt (2:24.01) and Linkenauger (2:25.07) placed one-two-three in the 200-breast.
After Dason barely missed an NCAA B’ cut of 55.36 while winning the 100-butter on a 55.54, Kopenitz (4:25.53), Linkenauger (4:27.38) and Like-Mathews (4:30.22) grabbed the top three spots in the 400-IM.
The women’s diving squad offered a strong showing all day, with Chelsea Ale (253.42), Kristin Davies (246.07) and Natalie Swisher (233.39) taking the top three slots in the 1-meter dive. Later on Ale won again in the 3-meter dive with a 293.02, while Davies took second on a 264.82.
At the end of the day it would be the final event, the 800-freestyle relay, that would decide the victor. The Terrapins needed to secure first and second place finishes to pick up the decision. The Wolfpack relay, however, of Dason, Ritcher, Lucy Lindsey and Kopenitz took first with a 7:37.20 time.
While all swimmers offered solid performances, Kopenitz, who had just swam the grueling 400-IM, dove back in the pool for the anchor leg of the 800-freestyle relay, and came from behind to take control of the event for the Pack.
The State men lost the opening relay, which can often set the overall tone for the meet, but roared back immediately. The Pack won three of the first four events with Mason McGee (9:33.93) taking the 1000-free, while Andrew Lester (1:40.96) collected the 200-free and Stephen Mellor (49.99) bested the 100-back. Dan Forsythe then finished second in the 100-breast with a 57.14, while Mike Seiferth (1:52.25) and Derek Ernst (1:53.83) placed second and third in the 200-butter. In the 50-free Dan Glauber (21.39) took third, while Travis Martinez (21.45) wound up fourth.
The Wolfpack trailed after the first seven events, but depth and experience propelled the team to regain control and forge ahead of the Terrapins.
Lester (46.53), McGee (46.84) and Andrew Keenan (47.39) finished second through fourth in the 100-free, while Seiferth (50.99) grabbed second in the 100-butter. Mellor won again with a 1:47.53 in the 200-back, Forsythe (2:04.96) snagged the 200-breast and McGee (4:37.20) earned the top spot in the 500-free. Kevin Woodhull-Smith won the 400-IM with a 4:01.55, while Lester grabbed second on a 4:07.02.
The men’s diving squad won both events with Austin Hampton securing the 1-meter dive on a 328.87, while Alex Dambly claimed the 3-meter dive with a 354.22. Dambly’s score in the 3-meter dive set a new Maryland pool record.
Wolfpack relays dominated in the 800-freestyle, recording the top two finishes. McGee, Jon Vorpagel, Mellor and Lester swam an event-best 6:51.99, while Martinez, Keenan, Ben Mechak and Woodhull-Smith came in afterwards with a 6:54.37.
The Pack will return to action next Friday, Feb. 1. State will meet North Carolina in Chapel Hill beginning at 5 p.m.