Current Date: Fri, 07 Mar 2014 18:13:56 -0500
Navy’s swimming and diving teams hosted North Carolina on Saturday to reopen Lejeune Hall, which recently underwent nearly $11 million in renovations.
Navy’s full pep band and hundreds of students crowded into the arena, making for a larger crowd than North Carolina’s swimmers said they were used to. All that remained was for the Midshipmen to harness all that emotion and energy into a big victory on senior day.
Unfortunately for Navy, North Carolina was there to crash the party.
The Tar Heels’ men’s and women’s teams swept the Naval Academy to improve to 4-0 and 3-1 in dual meets, respectively.
“They have a great institution,” coach Rich DeSelm said in a telephone interview.
“And it was great for our team to see a first-class operation. They obviously take a lot of pride in their program and they had a wonderful senior day.”
The Tar Heels had quite a day themselves.
On the men’s side, North Carolina was led by two relay wins to complement nine individual victories that paced a fairly tight 175.5 to 124.5 combined team win.
A quartet of freshmen stepped up for the Tar Heels, as Ozzie Moyer won both diving events while Matt Kwatyra, Nic Graesser and Mitch DeForest combined for four individual and two relay victories.
Senior Tom Luchsinger, who won the 200-meter butterfly, knew it was going to take total focus to outlast an emotional Navy squad.
“This wasn’t a meet that we could just swim through,” Luchsinger said.
“We really needed to step up and have some good races, and I think we did that really, really well.”
North Carolina’s women’s team had little trouble on its way to a lopsided 213-84 victory.
The Tar Heels won 14 of the 16 races, and senior co-captain Katie Nolan had nothing but praise for her teammates after the meet.
“Everyone was really positive and people were swimming well, and we really took on this challenge,” Nolan said.
“The freshmen are so fun, and they really add a whole other attitude to the team. We are so lucky to have them.”
The pool in Lejeune Hall has a non-traditional layout, which features short course yards instead of short course meters, so none of Saturday’s times will be comparable to the Tar Heels’ regular marks.
Deselm said he thought that wrinkle provided his team with a good opportunity to race with a clean slate.
“We didn’t really worry about the time on the scoreboard,” Deselm said. “We were mostly focused on racing and swimming our races and getting our hand on the wall first.”
UNC’s men’s and women’s teams, which rank 22nd and 16th in Division I, respectively, will look to take that competitive spirit back to Chapel Hill as they head into the bulk of their ACC schedule.
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