As a freshman, senior swimmer Evan Reed didn’t really understand the meaning of prestigious swim meets. Meets like the ACC championships were nothing more than just another contest.
“Being a freshman, sophomore or junior, you don’t really quite realize how important this meet is,” Reed said. “It doesn’t really hit you until you’re a senior.”
Over time, Reed has grown into one of the most successful swimmers on the squad and a leader for the team in and out of the pool.
This weekend, he will look to take the team to a conference championship at the ACC Men’s Swimming Championship in Christiansburg, Va.
While Reed may not have understood the importance of the ACC championships earlier in his career, those years were spent honing his skill to compete for this weekend — he just didn’t know it at first.
“Looking back on it, everything that I’ve done since I got here — since day one of freshman year — has been striving toward ACCs,” he said. “This is the last chance to achieve the goal that I have wanted since I got here.”
Now that he has been a part of multiple conference championship meets, Reed is prepared to flex his role as the team’s leader going into the weekend.
“I’m going to do everything in my power to not only do my best, but to motivate everybody else to do their best and encourage them to do their best,” he said.
UNC comes into the ACC championships with the best conference record of any team this season at 6-1.
In order to win the championship, UNC will have to outperform N.C. State, which was the only ACC team to defeat UNC in a dual meet during the regular season, and the Virginia Cavaliers, who have won the conference title all but one year since 1999.
Coach Rich DeSelm admits that even though the Tar Heels sit atop the conference standings, he doesn’t see his team as the favorites to win.
“Any time you’re going up against a defending champion who has won as many years as Virginia has, to upset them will take everything that we have and then some,” he said.
UNC beat the Cavaliers in a dual meet earlier this season, marking just the second time the Tar Heels won the matchup since 1998.
In that meeting, three different Tar Heels won individual events.
Dominick Glavich, Steve Cebertowicz and David MacDonald will need strong performances again for UNC to repeat that success.
Despite the challenges Virginia poses for UNC, Reed believes the Tar Heels have the ability to win the title.
“This year is different than past years,” he said. “It’s a different feeling. It’s a different team. I can say from experience that it’s definitely a different atmosphere than it has been.
“It’s a good atmosphere, and it’s one that I think is going to win us the ACC championship.”
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