BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Virginia Tech swimming and diving teams posted solid finishes in their season opening meet on Saturday at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center, as the H2Okie women swept NC State, 85-55, and James Madison, 99-41. The men defeated the Wolfpack 155-145.
The H2Okies captured a total of 22 first-place finishes (13 for the women, nine for the men) and earned 22 second-place spots, en route to a pair of victories over conference opponent, NC State.
“The women had a great meet today,” commented head coach Ned Skinner. “We were short handed in multiple events and we really showed strong front-end speed and great leadership from our upperclassmen. This sets us up well as we know we will be getting stronger and stronger as the season goes.”
Senior Erika Hajnal set the tone for the women early in the meet as she touched the wall first in the 1000 freestyle with a time of 10:03.95, which was close to 15 seconds faster than the runner-up. Hajnal had a perfect day, recording first-place finishes in all three races she participated in, including the 200 butterfly and 500 freestyle.
“Erika continues to be one of the greatest swimmers in the history of our program,” commented Skinner. “Sabrina Benson showed as a freshman that she is a really good player. Heather Savage and Keri Sink are truly fighters and live the life for this program.”
Benson impressed spectators with two first-place finishes in her first collegiate meet of her career. She came in with a time of 55.70 in the 100 backstroke and a 2:03.28 in the 200 backstroke, while leading the 200 medley relay to a second-place finish in the first race of the day.
In addition to Benson’s and Hajnal’s top finishes, junior Heather Savage had a near perfect day as she recorded two first-place finishes and a second-place showing. In the 50 freestyle, Savage touched the wall first at the 23.67 mark and at the 55.53 mark in the 100 butterfly. She placed second in the 100 freestyle with a time of 51.90.
In the 200 IM, Jace Howanitz placed first with a time of 2:06.35, while Keri Sink followed behind at 2:06.36. Sink also recorded a top finish in the 100 breaststroke coming in at 1:04.58.
On the men side, the 200 medley relay set the tone for Tech as the ‘A’ team, consisting of Charlie Higgins, Nathan Hoisington, Karl Botha and Gregory Mahon, came in first with a time of 1:30.26, which set a new pool record. The ‘B’ team, consisting of Michael Hallock, Nevin Cook, James Crabb and Adam Skipper, followed close behind coming in second at the 1:33.06 mark.
“The men won a very close and hard fought meet today against NC State,” noted Skinner. “I felt our men’s team swam very well, considering the tough training we have been undergoing and they rallied and put up a great fight. Overall this was a great day.”
The 100 backstroke was a huge race for the men as three H2Okies took the top spots. Junior Zach McGinnis came in first with a time of 48.98, while Higgins followed in second at the 50.08 mark. Junior Tom Sheranek placed third touching the wall at 51.40.
Freshman Collin Higgins set a new pool record in his first collegiate race, coming in at 1:48.57 in the 200 backstroke. Two seconds later, McGinnis touched the wall with a time of 1:50.57 to take second place.
Senior Matt Baumler and freshman Morgan Latimer took the top-two spots in the 200 butterfly coming in at 1:49.76 and 1:50.41, respectively, while freshman James Crabb came in third with a time of 1:50.91.
Mahon recorded solid finishes, coming in first in the 200 IM with a time of 1:53.41 and second in the 100 butterfly at the 49.30 mark.
In diving competition, Tech dominated as it took the top-two spots in all but one category. Newcomers, Logan Kline and Kaylea Arnett recorded new pool records in the 1- and 3-meter boards, respectively. Kline, a junior transfer, scored a 310.95, while Arnett scored a 320.25.
“I am really happy today for how the diving teams competed,” commented head diving coach Ron Piemonte. “The girls swept both the 1-meter and 3-meter events taking over first, second and third place which is very impressive. Logan Shinholser had a very good day for the men and we had seven divers qualify for NCAA Zones overall. I am very happy for the first meet to see where our divers are and how well they are diving. I think this is a good sign of what to expect for the rest of the season.”
Shinholser took the top spots in both boards for the men, recording a 361.45 in the 1-meter and 386.75 in the 3-meter good for 18 points overall for Tech. Hawkins posted solid scores in both events, recording second-place finish with a 345.10 in the 1-meter and 317.45 good for third place in the 3-meter.
Butts and Trope also recorded points for Tech. Butts placed fourth in the 1-meter with a score of 315.05 and Trope came in fifth with a score of 304.55.
Stockton placed third in both boards, charting a score of 266.25 in the 1-meter and 302.35 in the 3-meter. In her first collegiate event she recorded six overall points for the H2Okies.
Tech will enjoy a two-week break before hosting North Carolina on Oct. 28 at 3 p.m.
For updates on Virginia Tech swimming & diving, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_SwimDive).