CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – The Virginia Tech swimming and diving teams fell to conference foe North Carolina Friday evening at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center. Both squads fought from start to finish but came up short as the men lost 165-135, while the Tar Heels defeated the women, 190-110.
The H2Okie men fell to 1-1 on the season and in the ACC, while the women moved to 2-1 and 1-1 in the conference.
“The women raced very well today against one of the ACC’s perennial programs,” commented head coach Ned Skinner. “We had quite a few ladies step up and win events which is very impressive. The effort of Heather Savage, who continues to be a great swimmer for us, is very exciting. Sabrina Benson and Erika Hajnal have been so impressive as in what they bring to the team. The way they go about racing is really impressive.”
In the first event of the day, the 400 medley relay ‘A’ team of Benson, Keri Sink, Savage and Jace Howanitz swam the fastest they have swam at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center, touching the wall second with a time of 3:45.67 to put the first four points on the board for Tech.
Hajnal continues to impress as she placed second in the 1650 freestyle, ten seconds faster than the previous pool record, but North Carolina’s Stephanie Peacock took over the pool record as she swam outstanding, coming in first with a time of 16:14.61. Hajnal took home the title in the 200 butterfly, touching the wall first at the 2:02.38 mark in her second race of the day. Overall she put 17 points on the board for the H2Okies.
In addition to helping her 400 medley relay team to a second place finish, Benson helped collect four points in the 200 freestyle relay. The freshman also took home an individual title in the 100 backstroke with a time of 55.64, which marks a personal best.
Savage swam very consistently, grabbing 16 points for Tech. The junior touched the wall second in three races, including the 100 backstroke, 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly. Junior Keri Sink marked a personal best in the 200 butterfly coming in with a time of 2:05.07 for a fifth-place finish. Sink also recorded second-place finishes in the 200 breaststroke and 200 IM.
“On the men’s side, we fought hard,” noted Skinner. “Getting it to the end of the meet is something that we have never been able to do and we almost got them. A couple little things here or there would have made a big difference, but we really feel like our men are starting to emerge as players. Charlie Higgins is doing a great job and the emergence of sophomore Nathan Hoisington is really exciting for us. Matt Baumler is such a gamer and what he’s doing for us in the water and in the sidelines is great. We feel proud of the way the men came out and gave it a shot today.”
The men started the day strong in the 400 medley relay, as Zach McGinnis, Hoisington, Gregory Mahon and Greg Morgan posted a time of 3:18.40, which set a new pool record. Following the ‘A’ team was the quartet of Higgins, Nevin Cook, Karl Botha and Bryan Uncur with a time of 3:20.08. The two teams combined a total of 15 points for Tech with the top-two finishes.
Freshman Jake Ores put points on the board as he came in third in the 1650 freestyle with a time of 15:56.91, while Uncur and freshman Owen Burns combined for three points coming in at the fourth and fifth spots, respectively, in the 200 freestyle.
Higgins and Botha each took home an individual title, while Hoisington collected two of his own. Higgins touched the wall first in the 100 backstroke with a time of 49.48 and Botha recorded a time of 49.81 in the 100 butterfly. Hoisington grabbed the titles in the 100 and 200 breaststroke, adding 18 overall points for the H2Okies.
Matt Baumler remained consistent with two second-place finishes in the 100 and 200 butterfly coming in at 49.96 and 1:49.14, respectively. The senior added eight overall points for Tech, while Greg Morgan came in with a second-place showing in the 50 freestyle and third in the 100 freestyle which was good for seven points.
“Today was filled with highs and lows,” commented head diving coach Ron Piemonte. “We had a lot of good finishes and some of the divers did a really good job. We had a couple little hiccups with someone hitting the board and a failed attempt, which isn’t normal for us. Those things just kind of happened. But overall we came back and swept the second women’s event and went one-two in the men’s event. I think the divers really stepped up and did a great job.”
Freshman Kaylea Arnett continues to impress as she took home a title and set a new Virginia Tech record in the 3-meter event with a score of 343.50. Following Arnett in the 3-meter were Logan Kline and Kelli Stockton, who came in second and third, respectively, putting up 16 overall points for the H2Okies.
For the men, Logan Shinholser took first place in the 1-meter event (338.40) and second in the 3-meter (384.90). Ryan Hawkins followed Shinholser in the 1-meter with a score of 319.05. Overall the men contributed 17 points for Tech.
The H2Okies will be back in the pool tomorrow, Oct. 29, when they host Florida State, Duke and UNC Wilmington. Swimming competition will begin at noon, while the diving events will start at 10:30 a.m.
For updates on Virginia Tech swimming & diving, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_SwimDive).