The North Carolina women's swimming team faced a tough early season challenge when it hosted Michigan over the weekend.
The Tar Heels stepped up to the challenge as they defeated the Wolverines, a team they shared a No. 9 ranking with, by a score of 207-163.
Freshman sensation Jessi Perruquet and junior Katie Hathaway led the Tar Heels. Perruquet recorded two individual wins and three relay victories, and Hathaway won two individual events and was a member of two victorious relay teams.
The meet started on a high note for UNC as the 200-yard medley relay team of Christy Watkins, Janna Turner, Summer Mack and Perruquet edged out the Wolverine team of Jennifer Crisman, Traci Valasco, Annie Weilbacher and Laura Kaznecki by .09 seconds.
The race was even heading into the final 50 yards when Perruquet entered the pool to swim the freestyle. She pulled out the victory in the last 25 yards for the Tar Heels.
"We pretty much swam our strongest relays," Perruquet said. "It all goes back to teamwork. Nothing here is about an individual by themselves."
Perruquet continued her assault on the competition in the 200-yard freestyle. She took an early lead in the race and never looked back as she won convincingly with a time of 1 minute, 48.37 seconds. Her time vaulted her into third place in North Carolina history in that event.
The Tar Heels finished off the first night of the two-day meet with an exciting victory in the 800-yard freestyle relay. The team of Hathaway, Katie Scoggins, Molly Freedman and Perruquet edged out the Wolverines. Perruquet began the anchor leg of the race with Michigan leading by 15 yards. Perruquet caught up to the Wolverine swimmer after 100 yards and quickly pulled ahead to claim the victory.
On Saturday morning, UNC picked up right where it had left off. In the first event, the 400 medley relay team of Mack, Hathaway, Erika Acuff and Perruquet cruised to an easy victory.
Hathaway added victories in the 400-yard individual medley and the 200-yard breaststroke.
Acuff contributed wins in the 200-yard IM and the 100-yard butterfly, and Mack won the 100-yard backstroke and Freedman won the 200-yard butterfly.
"We had a lot of girls swimming best times," Hathaway said. "At this time of the season that is very good."
Coach Frank Comfort was pleased with the victory and felt the win would propel his team into the rest of the season.
Said Comfort, "This meet gives us a lot of momentum for everything."
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