Tar Heel swimming & diving heads to Charlottesville for rivalry

Though the North Carolina men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams try to maintain their focus on the end-of-the-season championship meets, this weekend is all about one rivalry.

The meet against an undefeated Virginia team in Charlottesville Saturday represents one of the last conference meets for the seniors, and the first taste of a long-standing rivalry for the freshmen.

With all the hype that comes with this competition, coach Rich DeSelm is relying on his seniors to lead the team.

“I’m counting on them for their leadership, knowing what this meet is like, the intensity of it, the rivalry,” DeSelm said. “I hope their experience and wisdom from doing it three times will be helpful for them and the team.”

The No.16 women’s team (3-1) hasn’t beaten UVa. in the last three years, while the No.22 men’s team (4-0) won its dual meet last year for the first time since 2008.

Senior co-captain Katie Nolan said she is more excited about this meet than she is nervous, but she’s prepared for another close competition,

To come away victorious, senior co-captains Brett Nagle and Nolan are ready to step up and lead their teammates through one of the most exciting meets of the season.

“Our goal is always to get better as the season goes on. So we want to be at our highest level for this meet and come away with a victory, but know that it’s geared at peaking later,” Nagle said. “We don’t want to make this meet any bigger than it is.”

UNC will have no problem with its level of intensity going into the competition, but the true challenge will come with design of the meet.

In previous meets the men’s and women’s teams alternate by event, but in this meet, the men will complete all of their events before the women take over the pool.

This means each swimmer will have half the recovery time he or she is used to.

To succeed, Nolan said her solution is mental toughness and confidence.

“You need to be really confident in yourself and know that what you’ve been doing all year is the right thing,” Nolan said. “Having all this work behind you just builds up your confidence even more.”

Contact the desk editor at sports@dailytarheel.com.

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