Last year, Stephanie Peacock helped score 42 of the North Carolina women’s swimming and diving team’s 44 points at the NCAA competition, en route to the team’s first top-20 finish in nine years.
This year, with the reigning 1650-yard freestyle champion battling illness during the postseason, the Tar Heels had to find those points elsewhere.
But they recovered all of Peacock’s points and more. UNC placed 12th in the NCAA competition, which took place between March 21 and 23. It was the highest finish for the Tar Heels in twelve years and the highest finish this season by an ACC team.
“It was a lot of fun,” coach Rich DeSelm said. “They were spirited, and loose, and very excited to reach a team goal they set at the beginning of the fall — to be at least top-12.”
This goal was set in the fall, when Peacock was healthy and expected to qualify for NCAA’s. But illness prevented her from participating, leaving gaps for the team to fill.
“They realized that if the team goals were going to be met, each and every one of the girls that were going needed to do their part to make that happen,” DeSelm said.
UNC scored 38 of its 110 points in the 200-yard butterfly, where Cari Blalock placed third by barely edging fourth-place teammate Meredith Hoover. Katie Nolan followed in 10th place.
Hoover’s preliminary time of 1:54.47 set an ACC record, nearly four seconds faster than where she was at the beginning of the season.
Blalock also earned All-America honors in both the 400- and 200-yard individual medley relays.