Smith breaks 10-year-old ACC record in the 50 free
    Tech women sit in 26th-place after day one of the NCAA Championships
    March 20, 2008

    Day One Results Virginia Tech - 26th
     
    COLUMBUS, Ohio - After winning both the 50 and 100-yard freestyle titles at the ACC Championships back in February, Sara Smith (Jr., McGaheysville, Va.) broke the 10-year-old conference record in the 50 free to help put Virginia Tech in 26th-place after day one of the 2008 Women's NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships at Ohio State's McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion.

    Virginia Tech currently has seven points after Smith finished 16th in the 50 free final for one point and the team of Smith, Jessica Botzum (Sr., Raleigh, N.C.), Jordan McHorney (Virginia Beach, Va.) and Megan Newell (Ashburn, Va.) placed 14th-overall in the 400 medley relay for six points to earn All-American honorable mention honors. Tech was the lone ACC member to have swimmers represented in Thursday night's finals as Georgia Tech and Miami only had divers reach the 1-meter final. Arizona leads the team competition with 151 points, while Auburn (132) and California (89) are in second and third, respectively.

    A 2007 All-American in the 100-yard freestyle and honorable mention in the 50 free, Smith swam a time of 22.74 in the final for her second honorable mention but finished tied for eleventh in the morning prelim at 22.38 to break the school and ACC record times. Smith tops her own previous school record mark of 22.42, which she set at the 2007 NCAA Championship 50 free final to finish 10th-overall. The old ACC time was 22.40, set in 1998 by North Carolina's Richelle Fox.

    "Sara had some incredible swims this morning," head coach Ned Skinner said. "She broke one of the premiere records in the ACC, which is just awesome, especially in light of the process that she went through this year with mononucleosis."

    Smith was also part of two more broken school records while coming close to breaking another ACC record. The 400 medley relay team finished 12th in the prelim with a school record time of 3:37.06, just .08 seconds off the ACC record owned by Florida State, before completing the final at 3:38.05. The previous Tech record time of 3:40.74 was set by the same four women at this year's ACCs.

    The 14th-place finish in the final is the best performance ever by a H2Okie relay squad as the men's 800 freestyle team finished 15th in the 2006 NCAAs.

    "The four swimmers have just been clicking so well this entire conference season, as you look at not only their 200 medley relay victory at the ACCs but also at their performance in the 200 medley relay at the Last Chance Meet to get here," Skinner said. "To come here in what would arguably be their second relay event and just miss the conference record and post splits that are way beyond their lifetime bests is just unbelievable."

    In the first event of the day, the women set a school record in the 200 freestyle relay at 1:32.02 to finish 19th-overall, missing out on the No. 16 spot for the final by almost two seconds. The previous record time was 1:32.13, set at the '08 ACCs, but by Smith, McHorney, Kaleigh Gomes (Fr., Charlotte, N.C.) and Becky Horning (Sr., Sterling, Va.).

    "Our main objective is to try to bring home as many All-American performances as we can and to be top-20 in the team race," Skinner said. "We feel like we have that in our sights. Tomorrow's a good day for us. We have our best relay (200 medley), and we have Botzum in the 200 breaststroke and a couple of chances (Smith and Newell) in the 100 butterfly.

    "We want to have a chance to be in the top-20, and I think if our medley relay can go out and execute tomorrow morning, we'll see where it takes us," Skinner added.

    Day two of the NCAA Championships begins Friday morning with the prelims at 11 a.m. and continues at 7 p.m. with the finals. Fans can follow all of the action live at http://www.ncaa.com/swimming-womens/default.aspx?id=460.

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