Led by standout performances from first-year Aranza Vázquez, the North Carolina women's swimming, women's diving and men's diving teams earned mix results at the 2021 ACC Women's Championship over the weekend.
The ACC Women’s Championships concluded on Saturday, Feb. 20, at the Greensboro Aquatic Center. Hosting both men's and women’s diving in conjunction with women’s swimming events, the Tar Heels placed eighth with a total score of 516.5 points. Coming in first place was the other half in the South’s oldest rivalry, Virginia, with a total of 1486 points.
The Tar Heels' divers produced standout performances, earning a total of three gold medals and one silver medal to continue their dominant season.
North Carolina placed first in the men's diving portion of the event with 214 points, beating second-place Miami by seven.
Who stood out?
Continuing her impressive first-year campaign, Vázquez placed first in the women’s 3-meter and platform events with scores of 376.30 and 337.10, respectively. The latter was a record for the UNC program. She also took home the silver medal in the women’s 1-meter event. Vázquez was named Most Valuable Diver for the women’s competition.
Another North Carolina standout diver was Anton Down-Jenkins, who took home the gold medal in both the men’s 1-meter and 3-meter events. Alongside teammate Vázquez, Down-Jenkins also earned the Most Valuable Diver honor for the men.
UNC also earned the silver medal in the men’s 1-meter event with sophomore Alexander Hart.
Junior swimmer Grace Countie placed third in the women’s 100-yard backstroke with a time of 51.52 seconds.
When was it decided?
Following a solid performance on the first day, the men’s diving team aimed to keep its top rank, and it did just that for the entire duration of the competition.
Going into the second day of competition in ninth place, North Carolina’s women’s swimming and diving teams hoped to stage a comeback. On the second day, the Tar Heels moved to seventh place but fell to eighth in the third day of competition. They ended the ACC Championships in this same rank.
Why does it matter?
Following dominant wins against South Carolina and rival Duke, an eighth-place finish out of 14 competitive ACC teams is a solid performance by North Carolina. With room for improvement certainly apparent, the qualifying Tar Heels seek to continue bettering their times and skills for upcoming meets and eventually the NCAA Championships in March.
When do they play next?
The ACC Men’s Swimming Championships are set to start on Feb. 24. The UNC swimming and diving program will have an opportunity to close its home season with the Last Chance Meet in Chapel Hill in the week between the ACC Championship and NCAA Championship. Women’s swim and dive will perform in this meet on Feb. 28, and the men’s meet will be on March 7. Both events are set for 6 p.m.
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