CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. -- The No. 15 Virginia Tech men’s swimming and diving team beat Virginia in a dual meet for the first time since Nov. 14, 1981 to highlight a stellar Saturday afternoon for the H2Okies at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center.
The men, who moved to 12-2 on the season with a trio of wins this weekend, earned victories in six of the 13 events on Saturday, giving them top honors in eight of the 20 events over the two-day meet.
Junior Collin Higgins had a standout day for the H2Okies, taking home a win in the 100 Backstroke and besting a trio of Virginia swimmers with an NCAA “B” qualifying time of 48.44, while also swimming the first leg for the 400 Medley Relay that wrapped up the weekend with a win in a time of 3:16.07.
The H2Okies also dominated the 100 Butterfly, taking the top two spots in the event. Junior Morgan Latimer led the way with a time of 48.68 and was followed closely by senior Nick Tremols in second, who clocked a 49.69.
The divers turned in another solid performance on the boards, as senior Ryan Hawkins took home a victory in the 1-meter event with a score of 360.55, while his teammates Jared Butts (338.55) and TJ Shinholser (308.60) finished in third and fourth, respectively.
As a team, the men bested a trio of highly-touted opponents, as both No. 18 Virginia and No. 24 Harvard have cracked the national rankings, while Wisconsin is receiving votes. The H2Okies grabbed a 264-105 win over Wisconsin and a 232.50-137.50 victory over Harvard, while besting their in-state rivals 217-153, the first victory over the Cavaliers in more than 30 years.
“This was a total team effort by our men this weekend,” Head Coach Ned Skinner said. “I am very impressed by their team dynamic and their desire to swim and dive for the cause. Our junior and senior classes have put together an environment that I have never seen in my 23 years as a head coach.”
On the women’s side, junior Kaylea Arnett kept her momentum going, winning her second diving event in as many days with a score of 342.60 in the 1-meter event, besting her nearest competitor by almost 30 points. Freshman Ashley Buchter notched a score of 298.95 to take home third place for the H2Okies.
Sophomore Weronika Paluszek grabbed a pair of runner-up finishes, clocking a 1:03.39 in the 100 Breaststroke and swimming the second leg of the 200 Medley Relay, which finished in 1:44.97.
The women took home a dominant victory over Miami, 263-98, while dropping a pair of tough decisions to Wisconsin, 203-164, and No. 9 Virginia, 245-125.
“Our women continue to build momentum and I have faith in this team,” Skinner said. “I believe in them and they have competed well against some top competition. This will serve us well as we move forward.”
Prior to Saturday afternoon's session, the final home dual meet action of the season, the H2Okies recognized their 12 seniors: Emmett Dignan, Hawkins, Garrett Hehn, Nathan Hoisington, Nick Tremols, John Trope, Brittany Boone, Aubree Duncan, Katarina Filova, Caroline Higgins, Natalie Leake and Rachel Sepanski.
The H2Okies will be back in action next weekend, when they head south to Wilmington, N.C., for a dual meet against UNC Wilmington on Saturday, Jan. 25.
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