That was the expected emotion for the members of the No. 18 North Carolina women’s swimming and diving team as they competed in the 400-yard freestyle relay for the victory against ACC foe No. 6 Virginia on Saturday. But nerves weren't a problem.
“Honestly I think it was more excitement than nerves for all the girls involved,” said senior Danielle Siverling, who anchored the race for the Tar Heels. “I don’t know about the girls watching. I think some of the girls watching were getting really nervous, but I know the girls who were swimming were just really ready to race.”
Moments before the men’s team would finish its dominating 192-106 victory, Siverling and the rest of the Tar Heel women won the race by almost a second and a half — vanquishing the Cavaliers for the first time since 2007 with a 156.5-143.5 win.
“You just talk about fundamentals and swimming for your school, swimming for your team and believing in yourself and that was pretty much what they did,” said Coach Rich DeSelm of his victorious relay team.
Coming into the meet, Siverling said she was confident, but didn’t know if she would ever experience the joy of victory over this team that has dominated the Tar Heels.
“I can’t even describe the feeling,” the senior said. “It was the most exciting home meet I’ve been a part of since I’ve been here. We’re so used to kind of going into that meet determined to win and just kind of letting it slip away at the end.”
Both teams relied on their depth to take down the powerhouse program. The women’s team won just seven races, while UVa. took nine. Despite losing more races than they won, the Tar Heels managed to take enough second and third place finishes to keep the meet close, before winning the final race.
“We have good depth on both teams,” DeSelm said. “We’re pretty well-balanced with some great diving and some great swimming. Certainly a great day for us.”