Medal winning swims lift the H2Okies to top five finish at ACCs

Women's ACC Championship
Virginia Tech 5th

ATLANTA - The Virginia Tech women’s swimming and diving team surged to a top five finish at the 2017 ACC Swimming and Diving Championships on Thursday, giving them their 13th consecutive top five finish at the conference meet since joining the league in 2004-05.

Senior Jessica Hespeler took home the silver medal in the 1650 free, her second medal of the week, and junior Klaudia Nazieblo claimed the silver medal in the 200 fly in the final night session of the championship.

"That was a hard fought fifth place team finish. We had to pass three top 25 programs in Duke, Notre Dame, and Florida State to do it,” head coach Ned Skinner said. “Incredible leadership along with very gifted swimmers and divers is why we excelled. Jess Hespeler and Klaudia Nazieblo were outstanding tonight. The men's divers also did a tremendous job all week and they have set up the men's swimmers for a great meet in a week and a half.”

Hespeler started off the night session by reaching the podium for the second time of week by swimming a 16:05.26 in the mile. Her time of 9:39.02 through the first 1000 yards set a program record previously held by Erika Hajnal in 2009. Nazieblo became the second H2Okie to reach the podium of the night after swimming a 1:54.80 in the 200 fly, her third-consecutive podium appearance in the event in as many ACC Championships.

On the men’s diving side, Thomas Shinholser and Mauro Castro-Silva both reached the finals of the platform event with Shinholser placing fifth with a score of 339.45 and Silva finishing eighth with a 312.85. Those points made them the top scoring men’s squad at ACCs for the fifth-straight season

“I was very pleased with the diving squads. To come home with a champion in Ashlynn Peters was huge, and I am proud of all of the divers who contributed to this big fifth place finish,” head diving coach Rob Piemonte said. “The men carried on our streak of being the highest scoring men's diving program in the ACC, and all men made great contributions to this accomplishment.”

It was all H2Okies in the B final of the 200 back where freshman Reka Gyorgy finished first with a time of 1:54.57 and freshman Chloe Hicks placed second with a 1:54.71. Both swimmers improved on their prelim times. The performance for Hicks concluded an impressive week where the true freshman also finished third in the B final of the 100 back.

Nazieblo barely missed the podium in the 200 back despite finishing with an impressive time of 1:53.07. She broke her school record in the prelims with a 1:53.03. Also reaching the A finals of the 200 back was senior Fiona Donnelly who swam a 1:55.17 in the prelims and an eighth place time of 1:56.07 in the finals.

Juniors MJ Ulrich and Kelly Henry appeared in the C final of the 200 breast and finished third and fifth, respectively. Sophomore Leah Rogers turned in a B cut time of 1:59.51 in the C final of the 200 fly to improve on prelim time while Grace Kowal, another freshman standout, swam a 16:37.01 to place 12th overall in the mile. After reaching the B final of the 200 free last night, junior Adriana Grabski swam a 49.1 in the prelims of the 100 free before registering a time of 49.69 in the C final.

The Tech women will be back in action on March 15 for the first day of the NCAA Championship in Indianapolis. The Tech men will kick off their postseason with the men’s ACC Championship from Feb. 13-16. The H2Okies will also be hosting the NCAA Zone A Diving Championships from March 6-8 at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center.

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