GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Freshman Jan Switkowski captured his first career gold medal to lead the way for the Virginia Tech swimming team on Thursday evening, as the H2Okies held firm in second place after two days of competition at the Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships at Greensboro Aquatic Center.
Tech, now with 411 points, sits in in second by just four points through seven events, as the ACC included the 1-meter diving event with this evening’s scores after it was completed last week. NC State still leads with 415 points, but the H2Okies are 73 points ahead of third-place Virginia and 73.5 ahead of North Carolina in fourth.
Switkowski’s gold medal in the 500 freestyle highlighted the second stellar evening in a row for the H2Okies. The freshman from Lublin, Poland touched the wall with a school-record time of 4:18.15 to take the top spot on the podium by almost two seconds.
The win marked the first time since 1996 that a swimmer from a school other than Virginia or Florida State has won the 500 freestyle. Sophomore Michal Szuba (4:21.14) and junior Jake Ores (4:21.69) also scored in the championship final of the event, taking fifth and sixth, respectively.
The gold from Switkowski came on the heels of the H2Okies’ other medal of the evening, as sophomore Joe Bonk, juniors Morgan Latimer and C.J. Fiala and senior Emmett Dignan captured the silver medal in the 200 freestyle relay to start the night’s finals. The group clocked a time of 1:18.08, missing the school record by just two hundredths of a second en route to an NCAA “A” qualifying time.
Freshman Brandon Fiala turned in another top performance in his first-ever ACC Championships, qualifying for the finals in the 200 IM with a school-record time of 1:44.71, before clocking a 1:45.23 in the finals to earned the H2Okies 25 points for a fifth-place finish.
Junior Owen Burns took eighth in the same event with a finals time of 1:45.97, while junior Collin Higgins (1:46.30) and sophomore Lucas Bureau (1:46.34) finished 11th and 12th in the B-final. Junior Nick Tremols won the C-Final with a time of 1:46.06 to cap off the H2Okies’ highest-scoring event of the evening.
In the evening’s final event, the 50 free, sophomore Joe Bonk finished third in the B-Final and C.J. Fiala won the C-Final to give Tech a final pair of NCAA “B” cut times. Senior Emmett Dignan had clocked a 20.09 in the preliminaries to earn his own NCAA “B” cut.
“I thought we were outstanding today,” Head Coach Ned Skinner said. “From Jan winning the 500 freestyle to Brandon’s school record in the 200 IM, the performances we had today were great momentum builders and that, to me, is what’s so important: just keeping that momentum going.”
The championship continues Friday at 11 a.m. with the 400 individual medley, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke and 100 backstroke preliminaries, with the finals in those events, in addition to the 400 medley relay, beginning on Friday night at 7 p.m.
A live video stream of event finals will be available on theACC.com on Friday and Saturday from 7 to 9 p.m., with Dean Linke handling play-by-play and Warren Perry adding analysis.
There is no charge for admission to the 2014 ACC Swimming & Diving Championships. Parking is available for $8 or for $15 for a session pass.
All Championship information, including a full event schedule and live results, can be found at the attached links.
For updates on Virginia Tech swimming & diving, follow the Hokies on Twitter Follow @VT_SwimDive