Fiala, Owen shine on day three of ACC Championship

ATLANTA – Seniors Brandon Fiala and Robert Owen both reached the top of the podium for the Virginia Tech men’s swimmers in the 100 breast and 400 IM, respectively, on the third day of the ACC Championship on Wednesday evening.

The win gave Fiala the fourth ACC gold medal of his career. He also became the first H2Okie to reach the top of the podium in the 100 breast. Owen is the sixth ACC swimmer and the first swimmer in program history to win three gold medals in the 400 IM.

Notre Dame slid past the H2Okies to move into third in the team standings with one day of competition remaining. Before factoring in platform diving, Tech has 611 team points, three points behind the Fighting Irish.

“Robert Owen and Brandon Fiala are champions in and out of the pool,” head coach Ned Skinner said. “Our motto is ‘20 for 20’ and each man will contribute to the cause this week. They are connected at a level that I have not seen in this sport and I am proud of their resolve to bring their very best".

Fiala’s 51.51 in the finals gave him an NCAA automatic qualifying time. In the prelims of the 100 breast, Fiala’s time of 51.50 broke his own school record, was the fifth fastest time in the country this season and the 11th fastest performer in the history of the event in yards. The time initially set an ACC meet record but was later broken by Peter Kropp of Duke in the very next heat.

Owen’s time of 3:38.43 was an NCAA automatic qualifying time, set a new ACC Championship record, broke his own school record and ranks among the top five times in the country this season. Also in the A final of the 400 IM was senior Zach Switzer who swam a 3:50.98.

Sophomore Michael Craddock finished with 3:46.86 in the B final of the 400 IM, two seconds off his prelim time and a new personal best. Right after Owen’s victory, Brent Benedict continued the momentum by winning the C final of the 100 fly with a 47.38. Harrison Pierce placed fifth in the B final with a 47.24. Sophomores Sean Workman and Jake Lamparella swam the second and third fastest times, respectively, in the C final of the 100 back.

In the 200 free, sophomore Norbert Szabo reached the A final with a prelim time of 1:34.86 and placed eighth in the final with a 1:35.54. His prelim time ranks among the top five times in Tech history.

Senior Adam Stacklin turned in a strong performance in the 200 free where he swam a B cut time of 1:36.65 to place third in the C final. Also finishing third in the C final of the 100 breast was junior Justin Edwards who turned in a B cut time of 54.31.

Wrapping up the evening, Tech’s 400 medley relay swam a B cut time of 3:09.01 to earn 44 team points.

Prelims for the final day of the ACC Championship will start at 10 a.m. with the 200 backstroke.

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