The North Carolina women’s swimming and diving team learned that, in fact, everything is not bigger in Texas.
The Tar Heels navigated an unusual meet format, which limited teams to eight swimmers and a diver, to finish second this weekend at the SMU Classic in Dallas.
The six-team invitational forced teams to be creative with their roster selections.
Coach Rich DeSelm acknowledged the challenge.
“You try to come up with a competitive lineup,” DeSelm said. “Typically, you try to take your best swimmers, but you also have to bring some of the more versatile swimmers … It’s a fun way of doing things.”
While the Tar Heels didn’t take the top spot in many races, they claimed several second- and third-place finishes in championship races and won many of the secondary finals.
Those swims were key in securing a runner-up finish.
North Carolina started off with many strong performances in Friday’s relay races. UNC netted two second-place finishes in the 400-yard medley relay and the 800-yard freestyle relay.
On Saturday, junior Stephanie Peacock turned in a dominant performance of the meet for UNC. She won the 500-yard freestyle in 4:38.39, breaking the meet record. Peacock finished more than six seconds ahead of the second-place finisher, University of Southern California senior Haley Anderson.
Also of note was sophomore Danielle Siverling. She finished second in the 200-yard freestyle final and won the B-final of the 500-yard freestyle race to earn valuable points for the Tar Heels.
Junior individual medley and butterfly specialist Cari Blalock was impressed with Siverling’s performance.
“She really turned it on this weekend when it came to racing those girls and getting to the blocks first,” Blalock said. “She did a really good job of staying mentally tough and cheered us on when she was out of the water, and it was awesome to see her race as fast as she did.”
However, some of the most important performances of the meet came from freshmen Madison Burns and Lauren Earp.
Burns claimed second place in the secondary finals of both the 200-yard and the 400-yard individual medley races. Earp was a part of many of the successful relay teams.
Siverling said the performances of the two freshmen were not surprising.
“They have really stepped it up,” she said. “They’ve been part of the team; they’ve really worked hard in practice, and it’s shown.”
The No. 19 Tar Heels finished ahead of three teams that were ranked ahead of them coming into the meet.
Siverling was happy to see the team perform so well in its third meet of the season.ACC
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