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It was another successful calendar year for the Virginia Tech swimming and diving program as both the men and women H2Okies finished in the top five at the ACC Championships and in the top 25 at the NCAA Championships. Individually, Tech had multiple swimmers earn All-American honors saw a few student-athletes excel on the international stage.
That success has carried over into the early half of the 2016-17 campaign where Tech has seen time in the CSCAA top 25. With All-Americans Brandon Fiala, Robert Owen and Klaudia Nazieblo leading the way, the H2Okies are poised to have another strong postseason.
Here are some more accomplishments both in and out of the pool for the H2Okies from the year 2016.
-Women finish 25th at NCAA Championships
-Men finish 19th at NCAA Championships
-Norbert Szabo participates at 2016 Olympics representing Hungary
-Signed Reka Gyorgy, 2016 Olympian for Hungary
-11 School Records Broken (seven Women’s, four Men’s)
-Klaudia Nazieblo named All-American in the 200 Butterfly
-Brandon Fiala 3x All-American (100 Breast, 200 Breast, 200 IM)
-Seven Honorable Mention All-American Performances
-Men’s and Women’s team extend top five ACC finish streak to 10 years
-Brandon Fiala MVP of Men’s ACC Championships
-Men’s and women’s diving squads scored the most points at ACC’s four out of last five years (the men have been first the last four years in a row.)
-Brandon Fiala and Robert Owen capture ACC titles
-Nine ACC Medal Performances (Nazieblo, Paluszek, Fiala, Castro Silva, and Owen)
-26 2016 NCAA Qualifiers (13 men, 13 women)
-Team GPA of 3.09 (men) and 3.37 (women)
-Presented first ever “Professors at the Pool” featuring 25 Virginia Tech Professors
-Brandon Fiala named ACC Swimming and Diving Scholar Athlete of the Year
-Logan Stevens named Scholar Athlete of the Year at Virginia Tech
-Swimming and Diving qualify 28 Athletes to Olympic team trials
-Robert Owen finishes sixth in the 200 backstroke at US Olympics Trials and is named to the U.S. National Team
-Ned Skinner named U.S. National Team Coach
-Brandon Fiala semifinalist at US Olympic Trials in the 100 breaststroke and 200 IM
-Klaudia Nazieblo Polish National Champion in the 200 butterfly
-Logan Stevens finishes with bronze medal at USA Diving National Championships
-Men conclude fall season with 6-0 record and 2 invitational titles
-Men extend undefeated home dual meet record since the opening of the CAC in 2011
-Women conclude fall season 4-2 and win the H2Okies Fall Invitational
-Women currently ranked 25th in the country
-Men top 25 all year with being ranked as high as 9th (currently 21st)
-Senior Brandon Fiala named ACC Athlete Representative on the Power 5 Autonomy Board
-Coach Andy Hodgson, a former ACC record holder and British national team member, joins the H2Okies
-Community service involvement includes: two free swim clinics, The Big Event, Operation Christmas Child, reading to elementary students, The Humane Society.
-Weekly Monday Message to include motivational and educational material such as alcohol awareness, social media, and leadership aspects of being a student-athlete.
The Virginia Tech men's swimming and diving sit at No. 9 in this week's CSCAA Coaches poll after going 3-0 last week against Duke, West Virginia and William & Mary last weekend. The H2Okies will be back in action next weekend in the Steel City against Pitt and Notre Dame.
Sophomore Norbert Szabo has been named the ACC Male Swimmer of the Week by CollegeSwimming.com after a standout performance in the Virginia Tech swimming and diving teams’ 175-117 victory over Penn State on Saturday.
Szabo placed first in all three of his individual events and earned 26 points for the H2Okies in those victories. He posted a 1:39.06 in the 200 free, a 1:48.35 in the 200 fly and a 49.17 in the 100 fly. Szabo’s times in the 200 free and 200 fly ranked third and eighth, respectively, in the website’s top swims of the weekend.
Tech will be back in action on Friday, Oct. 21, at 5 p.m. for its first day of action against Duke with West Virginia and William and Mary at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center. Day two will begin 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22.
The H2Okie divers had their photo day last week on campus in anticipation of the upcoming season.
The Virginia Tech women's swimming team completed the preliminaries for day three at the 2016 ACC Championships. Klaudia Nazieblo swam a 4:11.82 in the 400 IM and will compete in the A Final later tonight. Fiona Donnelly also swam a 4:14.68 and will be in the A final.
In the 100 fly, Maggie Gruber swam a 52.14 to put herself in the A final and is also the second fastest time in school history in the event. Jessica Hespeler recorded a 1:45.05 in the 200 free to break the school record of 1:45.25 set in 2010 by Katarina Filova.
Weronika Paluszek clocked a time of 59.97 in the 100 breast which is just .02 off the school record she set.
The finals are set to begin at 6 p.m. and will be carried live on ESPN3.
Former Hokie diver Ryan Hawkins wrapped up competition in his first Pan American Games in Toronto last night as he took home two top-10 finishes.
Hawkins best finish came as he and his partner, Zach Cooper, finished fifth in the finals of the men’s 10-meter synchronized dive. Competing against divers from North and South America, the pair finished with a final score of 348.39. It was the first time Hawkins and Cooper had competed together internationally.
He also competed in the individual 10-meter platform where he got off to a great start but ultimately finished 10th.
Hawkins was in second place after two of the six rounds but fell out of contention after a balk on his fifth-round dive only netted him a score of 30.40 points. He was able to end on a positive note as he posted an 82.20 on his last dive, his best score of the finals.
Hawkins, a three-time All-American and 2012 ACC Champion in the platform event, was still thrilled with the opportunity to represent his country.
“It was nerve-wracking. I think I had more nerves in the morning, but I was still nervous in the finals. It was such a cool experience just being up there and doing my dives,” said Hawkins.
Priot to the finals, Hawkins had finished ninth in the preliminaries with a score of 380.90, allowing him to move on to the finals as part of the top twelve qualifiers.
Securing a gold medal in the 10-meter platform event at the Pan American Games secures a quota spot for the winner’s country for the 2016 Olympics. Ivan Garcia won the 10-meter platform and earned Mexico the quota spot.
Hawkins will have multiple chances to earn an Olympic bid as he has qualified for all the men’s diving events that will take place at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Diving Trials. Those qualifiers will be held June 18-26 in Indianapolis, Ind.
After the ACC Championships, a few Tech swimmers took their stab at Olympic trials qualifying, swimming in a long course pool (50 meters as opposed to 25 yards). A few Tech swimmers hit Olympic cuts to earn them a shot at the Olympic trials.
Robert Owen - who swam an NCAA A-cut gold-medal time in the 400 IM at the ACC Championships - was the highlight of the time trials, swimming the 200 back with an Olympic-cut time of 1:58.58. This is the third fastest US time and the eighth-fastest time in the world for 2015.
After taking a gold only a few days before in the 200 IM at the ACC Championships, Brandon Fiala swam the 100 breast in 1:03.56 to sneak under the cut. He swam the 200 IM in 2:04.79, also under the cut.
Older brother CJ Fiala also swam an Olympic-cut time in the 50 free at 22.99. This swim wasn’t quite as significant for Fiala because he already swam under the cut this past summer when he hit 22.96 at summer Nationals.
Jake Ores and Michal Szuba also swam under the trials qualifying standard in the 400 free, with Ores clocking a 3:56.38 and Szuba clocking a 3:56.26.
This season, both the men’s and women’s swimming & diving teams finished third at the ACC Championships. Tech was the only program to have both teams in the top three and it did so behind 14 total medals. Here’s a look at the medals Virginia Tech won over the last two weeks.
2015 ACC WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIPS
Kaylea Arnett - 3-meter
Kaylea Arnett - Platform
Kaylea Arnett - 1-meter
Emma Villarreal - Platform
Fiona Donnelly, 400 IM
Klaudia Nazieblo, 100 back
Klaudia Nazieblo, 200 fly
Nazieblo, Paluszek, Gruber, Hespeler; 400 medley relay
2015 ACC MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIPS
Brandon Fiala, 200 IM
Robert Owen, 400 IM
Jake Ores, 1650 free
Logan Stevens, 3-meter
Thomas Shinholser, Platform
Burns, Bureau, Latimer, Szuba; 800 free relay
Ahead of the upcoming ACC Championships, we asked senior diver Kelli Stockton a few questions about the upcoming championships.
You guys obviously had a good year in the dual-meet season, finishing with a record of 11-3, In your eyes, how did the dual-meet season go for you guys as a team?
I think it went really well. I don’t know a lot about the swimming side of it, but I know they’ve done well in a lot of meets. Diving has been doing really well. I think Ron’s been happy with how our season has gone.
Virginia Tech’s divers are consistently crushing other teams in the diving scores, what is it about this program and coach Piemonte that allows you guys to have so much success?
We work together really well. We’re all really close and we are a close-knit team. You can tell we are different from other teams when we go to meets because we are all hanging out and spending time together and you can tell some other teams aren’t as close. Also, Ron does a great job keeping us positive and focusing on the good things we do rather than what we do wrong. I think it also helps to have so much support from Ned and the swimming side.
You get to practice everyday with some of the best divers in the country, how has that pushed you into becoming a better diver?
We definitely push each other a lot. The girls especially are very competitive with one another. We all put up really close scores at meets. So it’s always exciting because we never know who’s going to win and who’s going to be second. We always try to push each other because we all want to be up there with the other person.
I know you guys are working hard to get ready for the championship season. What are you most excited about for the championships coming up?
I’m personally excited because it’s in Atlanta because I love that pool. ACCs is my favorite meet of the year. It always fun to be with the big group of swimmers that are excited to be there and all the teams get so into it. It’s always just a really fun time, and I’m sad it’s my last one.
This will be your fourth trip to the ACC Championships, so you’ve been on the big stage before. How do you deal with your nerves and calm yourself before a big meet?
I try to just not think about it and enjoy it and have fun. I know that I’ve put in the work for it, and I’m ready so I have to make sure I don’t freak out mentally. I remind myself that whatever happens, happens.
After a successful dual-meet season that saw the H2Okie men go 9-1 and the women go 9-3, Tech now jumps into championship gear with the VT Invitational, the ACC Championships and the NCAA Championships left for competition. We caught up with head coach Ned Skinner and head diving Ron Piemonte to hear their thoughts on how the season has gone.
Over the last four years, one of Tech’s most formidable swimmers has been Collin Higgins. As a freshman in 2012, he earned Teach 16 points at the ACC Tournament before earning 28 points his sophomore year. Last year, Higgins crowned his ACC success by winning the bronze in the 200 back and earning Tech a whopping 68 team points to help give the H2Okies their first ACC Championship. He also earned Honorable-Mention All-American honors in the 200 back (9th place) at the 2014 NCAA Championships. Higgins holds the ACC and school record for the 200 back and holds the second-fastest 100 back time in program history.
We asked Collin about the winter break training trip in Florida and here’s what he had to say:
You guys travelled down to Florida for some training over the winter break. What did the coaches have you guys doing and how was that trip?
We actually did more training out there than ever before. The coaches did their best to mix things up - sometimes by having us work out on the beach. Some of us even did a "track set,” which we would combine sprints on the track with training in the water. Practices like that help give us a mental break from swimming back-and-forth, nonstop for hours at a time. In addition to having two practices everyday but one, we lifted at least three times so we were training close to five hours a day.
I’m sure a hard-core training trip like that isn’t always fun, but did the team still manage to enjoy the time together in Florida?
Training trip has always been difficult with the exhausting schedule we have, but our team always finds a way to stay positive. Beach volleyball is a team favorite. Despite being tired from morning practice, we would all make it to the beach after and play up until we had to leave for our second practice. Sometimes we'd even play again after that practice as well. In the end, just being on the beach with the warm weather helps get us through the intense training. It puts us all, coaches included, in a great mood.
Coach Skinner has talked a lot about the senior leadership on this team, what’s your take on the impact the seniors have made on the training?
To me our senior class is one of the strongest to come through this program. Whether it's staying positive during a tough practice or motivating others, the senior class has shown a real dedication to be the best we can be. Another key factor has been the overall team atmosphere - not just created by the seniors. Come to any of our meets and you can hear how loud our team is as opposed to the other teams. Perhaps most importantly, our team respects the senior class and all it has accomplished and worked for. The example that has been set is almost enough motivation by itself to get the rest of the team excited and hungry for success.
Now aside from yourself, are there any guys on the team you look at during a workout and say, “that guy’s just insane?” Who is your grittiest teammate?
It's hard to single out just one guy. Our entire team puts their all into every practice, lift or meet. However, if there's any role model to look at in this program, it's Morgan Latimer. Mentally or physically, he keeps his cool and throws down when it's needed. As far as the grittiest I'd have to throw out Lucas Bureau. Everyone on the team knows hard this kid pushes himself, especially in the weight room. Sometimes we're worried he does too much. He broke his hand in a practice over training trip and hasn't missed a lift or practice since. Despite the injury, he's still finding ways to make us shake our head in disbelief.
How do you think all this training is going to come to fruition in the postseason?
Overall, this has been the toughest year of training I've ever been through, and it feels good. Knowing that we've put all this work in sets us up for nothing short of an amazing championship segment. The team follows our coach, Ned, with blinders on, and we have full trust in him. Year after year he proves that he can get his swimmers ready, and, with the amount of effort that has been put in this year, I don't expect anything
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review recently posted a story about H2Okie Maggie Gruber and her siblings’ athletic success. The story gives Maggie a few shout outs. You can read the whole story here.
Following an impressive performance in a dual meet against rival No. 21 Virginia, senior Morgan Latimer won Virginia Tech’s Athlete of the Week award.
Latimer won two individual races, taking the 200 fly in 1:46.93 and the 100 fly in 48.43. He also helped the 12th-ranked H2Okies win four relay events: the 400 free relay, the 200 free relay, the 200 medley relay and the 400 medley relay. In all his competition, he helped earn Tech 62 team points en route to their 218-135 victory over the Wahoos.
The Richmond, Virginia, native currently has the third-highest 200 fly time in the ACC (1:44.30) and is part of three relay times that rank in the top-five in the ACC. Last season at the ACC Championships, Latimer earned the silver medal for the second year in a row in the 200 fly and finished fifth in the 100 fly and sixth in the 100 back.
Congrats to Latimer on his second-career Athlete of the Week award.
MOVIN' ON UP: THE TOP 25 MOST IMPROVED WOMEN'S TEAMS
January 13th, 2015 | Collegeswimming.com
With the November Invitationals over, teams all over the country are gearing up for the harsh conditions that are Winter Break training, if not already gritting their way through it. At collegeswimming.com, we looked through all the data and compiled the twenty-five teams that have improved themselves the most since this time last year. We based it on current ranking (collegeswimming.com points), change in ranking from last year, and change in power point score from last year.
The H2Okies will take a trip to South Bend, Indiana, to play Notre Dame in their second ACC meet of the year. Joining the H2Okies and the Irish will be Pittsburgh.
Here's what head coach Ned Skinner had to say going into tomorrow's meet:
On the meet at Notre Dame with Pittsburgh:
"I expect us to go to Notre Dame and have an awesome weekend and have a lot of fun. The kids get to travel and fly and I think it's going to be a memorable trip. The way our season plays out, we don't really rest or over-prepare, but I think it is exciting to get out and leave campus and have an opportunity to train and be together and race at a new site. Pittsburgh and Notre Dame are relatively new to the conference so we're still establishing these rivalries so I think it's going to be a really good challenge. If we go out and do what we know we're capable of doing, I like our chances."
On flying Friday morning:
"I don't worry about the flying. This time of year, I think the more hurdles we can learn to overcome, the tougher and grittier we are. When we get closer to the ACC and NCAA Championships we pamper them more and travel two days earlier and make it a lot simpler. I think a little adversity is a good thing. It makes us a little tougher."
On the No. 12 ranking for the men
"I think it's exciting for our program. It validates what the community feels about us. I know the women want to get a quality win against Notre Dame, in particular, which might get us right into that top 25. Then we've got South Carolina and Alabama in a few weeks, so hopefully we can get in there. There are a couple ACC schools ahead of us that we have our eyes on."
Head coach Ned Skinner appeared on The Morning Swim Show on Swimming World Magazine's website this morning. He covers topics such as last year's men's ACC Championship, the Christiansburg Aquatic Center and his favorite celebrity.
Check out the Swimming World Magazing website: http://tv.swimmingworldmagazine.com/shows/all-studio-videos/
Virginia Tech’s men’s swimming & diving team earned a No. 12 ranking by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America on Thursday.
The CSCAA releases rankings on a weekly basis, alternating weeks between men and women’s rankings. Nine CSCAA-member coaches and one media member compile the rankings each week. The rankings only include teams that have posted official times so far this season.
Here are the rankings as of October 30, 2014:
3. NC State
7. North Carolina
10. Ohio State
11. Southern California
12. VIRGINIA TECH
15. Georgia Tech
18. Penn State
T24. Florida State
Also receiving votes: South Carolina, Missouri, Virginia, Air Force, Wyoming, Utah, Texas A&M
Today the H2Okies took care of business in the pool, winning five out of their six contests in the Virginia Tech Swimming & Diving Challenge. Check out this photo gallery from the meet.
Tech kicks of the 2014-2015 swimming & diving season by hosting the Virginia Tech Swimming & Diving Challenge. This year's field includes both the men and women from Penn State and Old Dominion as well as the women from Liberty and JMU.
The event has been designated as the annual Margaret Soulen Gilbert Breast Cancer Awareness Meet. The competition is held in memory of Margaret Soulen Gilbert, a Virginia Tech Hall of Fame inductee in 2001, who passed away from the disease five years ago. At Virginia Tech, Gilbert was a record-setting swimmer of the late 1980’s who became the first woman swimmer at Tech to score point in the NCAA Championships.
We’re just 10 days away from the 2014 swimming and diving season, when the Hokies begin with the Virginia Tech Swimming & Diving Challenge by hosting the Penn State and Old Dominion men and the Liberty and JMU women. Last season, the men’s team won the ACC Tournament and finished 20th at the NCAA Tournament and the women finished fifth in the ACC Tournament and 24th at the NCAA Tournament. Here is a quick preview for the upcoming season with last year’s ACC Men’s Coach of the Year, head coach Ned Skinner.
Coming off one of the most successful seasons in program history, what are your goals heading into this season?
We’d like to repeat the ACC team title on the men’s side and we’d like to be a top-15 program at NCAAs, since we’ve been a top-20 team the last two years. Repeating is going to be a strong challenge because there are so many good teams out there, but we feel like we’ve got unparalleled leadership at Virginia Tech. It’s unbelievable what these men are doing, setting the tone in practice, in the weight room, on weekends. I feel like they are a special group, and we are all feeding off that leadership.
On the women’s side, we were runner-up in 2013. We’d like to get back into the upper echelon at ACCs. We’d like to be a top-20 program at NCAAs. We’ve been top-25 the last four years. I feel like we have a women’s group that has developed it’s own set of team standards we are adhering to, and I really feel like we have the squad that can accomplish it’s goals.
You obviously have a lot of challenges on your schedule this year, with the tough ACC teams and hosting Penn State, tell me your thoughts on this seasons schedule and how you think you guys will fare?
I think it’s a great schedule. Someone said to me years ago, “You’ve got to swim to win.” I’d rather not have a perfect record but go up against some of the country’s strongest - like Penn State or Alabama or South Carolina or UNC, UVA, etc. - and be seasoned going into the championships, than be undefeated and not pressed. I think we are going to have a strong record, and I think we’re going to be competitive in every meet. There’s not a team out there that I think the Hokies won’t be able to stand toe-to-toe with.
Tell me how you think your team’s offseason training and competition went this year.
I think it went outstanding. We had a great summer with nearly 30 student-athletes who stayed and trained. We took over 20 swimmers to summer nationals and had great success there. Ron’s divers had a great time training and an excellent summer. Everyone has come back in relative good health and relative good mental health, so I feel like we really did use the offseason to our advantage.
Who are some key returners we should be looking out for this season?
Kaylea Arnett is arguably the strongest student-athlete we’ve ever had. She looks fantastic - a three-time ACC diver of the year. We’d love to see her finish out her career with a bang. Weronika Paluszek - the polish national champion in the summer in the 200 breaststroke - she’s off to a great start with her training and looks great. On the men’s side, Morgan Latimer continues to be one of the most well rounded swimmers we’ve ever had. Collin Higgins, an ACC record holder, just lives the life for the Hokies. Owen Burns is another senior who is coming off working really hard over the summer in the weight room and in the pool. A lot of those guys are going to be hard to recon with. This young man, Robert Owen, was ninth in the 200 backstroke at US nationals. Finally, Jake Ores, coming off an 8th place finish in the 800 freestyle this summer, is a guy to really keep in mind.
What about newcomers? Who do you see coming in and making an impact early?
We’ve been really impressed by Mauro Silva, a diver from Mexico, he looks really good. A young man by the name of Harrison Pierce from Virginia Beach had a fantastic senior year, and he’s just a fine young man who’s working really hard. Claudio Nazieblo from Poland is coming off making the European championships this summer. I think she looks outstanding, as does Adriana Grabski from Pennsylvania. I think we have a lot of fresh faces that we hope will emerge.
Welcome to the newest feature of hokiesports.com, the #HokieHuddle – Swimming & Diving. This feature will concentrate more on the personalities and behind-the-scenes stories from the team, at home and on the road. All daily recaps will remain the same and in the same location, this is just a new way to inform the fans on the team. Keep checking back for new content.