Molly Sullivan didn't waste any time in the 2000-01 swimming season.
In her first home meet of the year, the North Carolina swimmer obliterated her personal best in the 1,650-yard freestyle and continued to tear into UNC's record books.
Sullivan scorched the field Saturday at Koury Natatorium in the 1,650 free with a time of 16 minutes, 32.19 seconds. She took the lead early in the race against Rice and never looked back as she lapped several swimmers on her way to victory.
Sullivan finished five seconds faster than her time at the end of last season and vaulted ahead of Leslie Ramsey into fourth place all-time at UNC in the event.
"It's really exciting," said Sullivan, a junior from Las Vegas. "A lot of the pressure is off now."
UNC coach Frank Comfort already has been impressed by Sullivan's performances this season.
"It's utterly fantastic to have a distance swimmer swimming way under lifetime best this early in the season," Comfort said.
Since the end of last season, Sullivan has worked hard to improve her times. She qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials in the 800-meter freestyle during the summer and spent time training in California.
"She put a great summer in - getting ready for the Olympic trials," Comfort said. "She really paid a lot of dues, and she got extremely fit."
During her freshman year, Sullivan won the ACC title in the 1,650-yard freestyle with a time of 16:38.94 and placed eighth in the 500 freestyle. She qualified for both events in the NCAA Championships, finishing 45th in the 500.
Sullivan followed her rookie performance by finishing third in the 1,650-yard freestyle at ACCs her sophomore year. But her time was the fifth-fastest in UNC history at 16:37.20.
Once again she qualified for the NCAAs in both the 1,650 and 500-yard freestyle.
This season Sullivan started the year off strong, taking first place in the 1,000-yard freestyle in the opening meet of the season against top-ranked Georgia.
Even with her great start, Sullivan is not caught up in her individual success. She is more concerned with the success of her team, which is ranked No. 9 in the early season.
"I just want to help the team in every way possible - it's mainly a team thing now," Sullivan said. "It's so exciting right now.
"The potential here is just overwhelming."
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