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The Daily Tar Heel

Tired Tar Heels Persevere Against 'Pack

Four months ago, North Carolina's women's swimming and diving team lost to No. 1 Georgia in its first dual meet of the season.

The Tar Heels haven't lost since.

UNC overcame season-end exhaustion and preserved its perfect conference record Friday by knocking off N.C. State 149-92 in its last dual meet of the season.

"It's a really long season," junior Summer Mack said. "Everyone is in that middle section right now between being rested and not rested, so to get up and swim and have energy to do that is hard to do."

The No. 8 Tar Heels' season began back in October, and the women have competed virtually every weekend since.

But the longevity of its regular season and the hot temperature in the pool couldn't stifle UNC. The Tar Heels (8-1, 5-0 in the ACC) claimed nine victories in 11 events.

"It's not really that great of a pool, as far as its conditions," Mack said.

But Mack didn't let the lacking Wolfpack facility get to her. Mack placed first in the 100-yard butterfly and swam the third leg of both the 200 and 400 medley relay teams.

"It's not a bad facility, but comparatively speaking to what we're going to be swimming in at ACCs, it gives us a lot to look forward to as far as our times improving," Mack said.

Co-captain Erika Acuff felt a little off of her game as well. Despite this, the senior made sure she went out on top. In her last dual meet of her career, she was the only Tar Heel to win two individual events.

"I'm pretty beat up and really tired," Acuff said. "I didn't feel very good today comparative to the other meets I've had in the past couple weeks. So I was pretty happy with my swims."

Acuff nailed the competition in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4 minutes, 55.32 seconds and won by a one-second margin in the 400 individual medley (4:20.06).

Junior Katie Hathaway's 100 breaststroke performance (1:03.98) drowned any Wolfpack swimmer's hopes of challenging her dominance in the event.

Hathaway said she is confident that UNC's undefeated conference record is telling of how they will defend its title in the ACC Championships Feb. 15 and 16 in Virginia.

"I would say our ACC performances are a pretty good indicator," Hathaway said. "But more than that are the times everyone's been swimming.

"Everyone's been improving at every single meet. That's much more of an indicator than winning dual meets."

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