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UNC takes third in ACC Championships

After nearly two weeks of competing in the ACC Championship swim meet in Greensboro, the North Carolina men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams both finished third.

Virginia took home the men’s and women’s titles for the sixth consecutive year.

Both UNC teams had swimmers record top finishes in the 200-yard butterfly.

On the men’s team, senior Tom Luchsinger won the event at the ACC meet for the third time and set a new ACC Championship record.

On the last day of women’s competition, Feb. 23, junior Cari Blalock bested her own school record. Junior Meredith Hoover finished less than one second behind her for a second-place finish.

“We were on fire the last day,” coach Rich DeSelm said. “We had a window of opportunity and we capitalized upon it.”

The women jumped three teams on the meet’s last day to claim third place, despite not having All-American Stephanie Peacock who was out with an illness.

“I was really proud of the women on the team for not giving up and for fighting their way back into a position to have a respectable finish,” DeSelm said.

In the meet’s last event, four underclassmen — sophomore Danielle Siverling and freshmen Lauren Earp, Hannah Lincoln and Ally Hardesty — won the 400-yard freestyle relay, outpacing UNC’s school record by more than a second.

The four All-ACC swimmers were the first UNC team to win the conference title in that event since 2007.

“It was just electric,” DeSelm said. “The girls had a goal and they wanted to prove that they could compete.”

Earp said swimming in the ACC meet for UNC was an experience unlike any she had witnessed before.

“I have been to many junior international meets, but this is a whole different world,” Earp said. “Nothing can really prepare you for that and how exciting it is.”

Earp said the relay team felt pressure to carry the team in the meet’s last event.

“Everyone was really nervous, but we were all able to put that aside and step up to do what we needed to do,” she said.

The men’s team saw success in relays as well, setting school records in the 200-yard medley relay and the 400-yard medley relay, which featured four freshmen.

Junior J.T. Stilley broke the 23-year-old school record for a 200-yard split in an 800-yard freestyle relay.

“That’s a pretty impressive accomplishment,” DeSelm said. “And it’s also the record that stood on the books for the longest period of time of any record in the history of our program.”

DeSelm said he was proud of both teams and their efforts against tough competition.

“It’s a very competitive league and getting more so,” DeSelm said. “The men’s meet was as deep and fast as I’ve ever seen it.”

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