Senior Danielle Siverling was a member of the 400-yard freestyle relay team that finished 12th of 16 on the final day of the NCAA Championships in Greensboro Saturday. Siverling’s split was 49.09, just shy of her all-time best. The 400 free relay led the Tar Heels to a 19th-place finish in the tournament in a pool of 46 teams.
“The 400 free relay was really special to me,” said Siverling, a co-captain for the team.
“This year we were determined not to get 17th again (in the relay), so it was kind of cool to have that as my last race ever.”
Siverling had an 11th-place individual finish in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:38.53 and also broke a school record with a 12th-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle, beating her career-best time set last month at the ACC Tournament.
For the third straight year, Siverling earned individual All-America honors.
But Siverling was just one of 12 North Carolina swimmers who earned All-America honors this year at the event.
“We had the focus and the attitude on not only qualifying for the NCAA Championships, but being better than what it takes to qualify,” Coach Rich DeSelm said.
DeSelm also emphasized the importance of the team’s relays.
“We had made relays a pretty big focus this year, and the team stepped up and really embraced that idea, and we were successful in the four out of five relays,” DeSelm said.
“It’s been a great season — it’s been a season of the team really.”
The season of the team ended with the Tar Heels who didn’t qualify for the NCAA Tournament cheering on their teammates in Greensboro, creating a strong fanbase, DeSelm said.
“We just had a very positive season,” DeSelm said. “We have a group of women who are bonded and supportive of each other, work hard in the classroom, work hard in the pool and who want to achieve.”
After four consecutive NCAA appearances, Siverling said she is grateful for the team she’s shared it with.
“I feel like I’m processing everything right now, I still can’t really believe it’s all over,” Siverling said.
And after her last night swimming for North Carolina, Siverling, a Pennsylvania native, thanked those who had supported her throughout her swimming career.
“I may not be a Tar Heel born and bred,” she later wrote on her Facebook page. “But I’ve been adopted by the Tar Heel family, and it will be in my blood for the rest of my life.”