H2Okie men capture first-ever Nike Cup title
Women finish second as Botzum qualifies for the NCAAs again
November 17, 2007

Nike Cup Day Three Results Men - 1st of 7; Women - 2nd of 7
Saturday's prelims
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Led by memorable performances from seniors Scott Beard and Jessica Botzum over three days, the Virginia Tech men's swimming team captured their first-ever Nike Cup title in a seven-team field that included two ACC schools and Kentucky, while the women pushed No. 11 North Carolina to the edge before finishing second on Saturday at the University of North Carolina's Koury Natatorium.

Combined, the H2Okie men and women scored the most points at 1,899 with North Carolina second at 1,773. On the men's side, Tech finished first with 964.5 points, followed by Clemson at 806.5, No. 16 North Carolina at 716, Kentucky at 649, Yake at 340, Syracuse at 222 and East Carolina with 138.

For the women, No. 11 North Carolina won the team title with 1,057 points, followed by No. 25 Tech at 934.5, Clemson at 655, No. 18 Kentucky at 537, East Carolina at 309, Syracuse at 215 and Yale with 99.5 points.

"We have been going to this meet for over 10 years, and I've always wanted to have a team come out on top," head coach Ned Skinner said. "It was such a total team effort from the swimmers, divers, parents and coaches. This is so much fun. I'm proud to be a part of it."

"Breaking seven school records over the weekend, I have to stress on very little rest, is something we're really proud of," Skinner added. "The tough fall schedule that we've had to culminate in some great performances at the Nike Cup shows the condition that our team is in."

A day after winning the 100 butterfly with a Nike Cup record time and finishing second in the 100 backstroke with a school record time, Beard (Chesterfield, Va.) concluded the meet by finishing third in the 100 freestyle and helping the 400 freestyle relay team win with a NCAA 'B' qualifying time of 2:58.27. In total over three days, Beard also helped the 200 free, 200 medley and 400 medley relay teams win while also finishing 10th overall in the 200 IM.

"I would say Scott Beard on virtually no rest swam like one of top swimmers in the country that he is," Skinner said. "I'm proud of his efforts and his leadership. I think it inspired a lot of our swimmers because we had so many swimmers emerge this weekend."

That list includes Kaan Tayla (Ankara, Turkey), Jake Bova (Roanoke, Va.), Ian deToll (Culpeper, Va.) and Scott Harkins (Williamsburg, Va.), who all played important roles in those relay victories. Also, on Saturday, Tayla finished second in the 100 freestyle with a school record time of 44.10, toping his own previous record of 44.13 set last year. In the same event, deToll, Richard Ulatowski (Hamden, Conn.) and Bova placed sixth, eighth and ninth overall, respectively.

Harkins led the charge in the 200 breaststroke, finishing third with Carter Moore (Richmond, Va.) and Jonathan Huss (Midlothian, Va.) placing eighth and ninth, respectively. Jimmy McLaughlin (Herndon, Va.) and Ryne Francis (Gilbertsville, Pa.) finished fifth and 10th, respectively, in the 200 backstroke to add points for Tech.

In the 1,650 freestyle, Griffin Lutterbein (Manakin-Sabot, Va.) broke two school records while finishing second overall. First, he broke the 1,000 freestyle at 9:20.83 on his way out to the mile and then concluded the race with a record time of 15:26.62. Ben Miller (Reston, Va.) also had a strong performance as he finished sixth in the race.

The big surprise may have come in the 200 butterfly when freshman Trey Stewart (Luling, La.) recorded the fourth fastest time in program history at 1:48.31 to win the only individual swimming event of the day for the men.

"Trey Stewart is such a tenacious competitor," Skinner said. "The way he managed that race was so awesome. He lined it up at the 150 and closed it out coming off the last turn, swimming like the guy was a senior."

Two days after winning the 1-meter event, diver Mikey McDonald (Annandale, Va.) finished out with a second-place showing in the 3-meter. Chris Waldheim (Sugar Land, Va.) and Daniel Martin (Fairfax, Va.) also reached their second final, placing fifth and seventh overall, respectively.

On the women's side, 2007 ACC Swimmer of the Year Botzum (Raleigh, N.C.) qualified for the NCAA Championships for the second day in a row, winning the 200 breaststroke with a NCAA 'A' qualifying time of 2:14.06 after winning the 100 breaststroke on Friday. While many Hokies have set 'B' qualifying times this season, Botzum so far is the only one to have automatically qualified for the NCAAs.

"She is the epitome of what it's like to be an Academic and Athletic All-American," Skinner said. "She lives the life and exudes confidence and passion for her team. It's remarkable what she brings to us. It's kind of a bummer because someday, we know we'll be without her. We're just enjoying every second we have with her."

In that same race, Tech had four other women finish in the top 12 as Millie Campbell (Richmond, Va.), Sarah Losinger (Marietta, Ga.), Jessica Earl (Marietta, Ga.) and Marianne Flynn (Rading, Pa.) placed sixth, seventh, 10th and 12th overall, respectively. In the 200 backstroke, Kelly deMarrais (Bernardsville, N.J.), Allison Luttermoser (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) and Sarah Ameen (Manassas, Va.) finished third, fourth and 12th overall, respectively.

A day after winning the 100 butterfly with a school record time, Megan Newell (Ashburn, Va.) placed fourth in the 200 butterfly with Abby Barney (Virginia Beach, Va.) and Julie Sablik (Roanoke, Va.) finishing sixth and 10th, respectively. For the 100 freestyle, Sara Smith (McGaheysville, Va.) took fourth in the finals after recording a 'B' time of 50.78 in the prelims. Jordan McHorney (Virginia Beach, Va.) and Kaleigh Gomes (Charlotte, N.C.) took eighth and ninth, respectively, in the same event.

In diving, Sarah Milton (Plano, Texas) and Julia Bradford (Mansfield, Mass.) reached the finals of the 3-meter and placed fifth and eighth, respectively, after reaching the finals in the 1-meter on Thursday.

The breakout performance of the day for the H2Okie women may have belonged to the freshman Lauren Ritter (Sterling, Va.), who finished fourth in the 1,650 freestyle with a 'B' time of 16:45.57, the second fastest time in school history. During the race, she broke the school record time in the 1,000 freestyle at 10:07.31.

"We're really proud of her performance," Skinner said. "She is such a competitor. It seems like our team feeds off each other so much that when you see someone like a Lauren Ritter, you just expect more out of yourself."

With a successful showing at the Nike Cup that included 13 total first-place finishes and many NCAA Championship 'A' and 'B' qualifying times set over the three-day meet, the swimming and diving program will now focus on one more dual meet before the winter break.

"I would say it's been an interesting journey," Skinner said. "I'm proud of this team because this year has had more challenges behind the scenes than it appears. I'm just so thankful for our seniors and our coaches' leadership to guide us.

"We are going to be ready for NC State coming off Thanksgiving," Skinner added. "That's a big rivalry dual meet for us, so we can't think of a better way to round out the fall than to go to Raleigh, North Carolina."

Tech visits the Wolfpack on Sat., Dec. 1, for a 1 p.m. start time.