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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC swimming and diving teams split dual meet with Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Valdas Abaliksta swims the 100-yard breaststroke during a meet against Virginia in Koury Natatorium on Friday, January 22, 2021. Photo courtesy of Jeff Camarati.

The North Carolina swimming and diving team faced off against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Friday, with the women’s squad picking up a big win and the men’s teaming losing by a slim margin.

What happened?

The Tar Heels faced off against the Yellow Jackets on Friday, with the women’s diving team ultimately winning 169-131 and the men’s team losing by a close margin of 154.5 to 145.5. Carolina competed hard, but the teams just weren’t quite able to edge out the Yellow Jackets. The diving team impressed in a big way, claiming three first place finishes. 

The Tar Heels haven't started off on the hottest of hands, but they have a lot to be optimistic about based on their current level of performance.

Who stood out?

The Tar Heels had plenty of standout performers, with senior Heidi Lowe finishing first in the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard free. Junior Addison Smith also excelled in the event, pushing ahead of her Wolfpack competitors in the 200-yard free and finishing with a time of 1:49.42. Smith also finished with a time of 4:55.17 in the 500-yard free. 

Senior Grace Countie was also feeling dangerous on Friday, earning three first-place finishes and tacking on a second-place finish. Countie finished in first place for the 100-yard backstroke and on the 200-yard free relay team, and earned second place on the 200-yard back. 

On the diving side, senior Anton Down-Jenkins and junior Alexander Hart earned first and second place in the 1-meter and 3-meter events, respectively. Down-Jenkins continued a high level of performance after recently being given ACC Diver of the Week honors. On the women’s side of things, sophomore Aranza Vasquez won first place in the 1-meter event and finished second in the 3-meter event. Junior Paige Burrell also showed up for the Tar Heels, finishing in third place in both the 1-meter and 3-meter events. 

Senior Tomas Sungaila had a strong performance for the men’s team, finishing in first place in the 50-yard freestyle and in second place for the 200-yard free and the team-based 200-yard free relay. Senior Tucker Burhans finished in first place in the 100-yard back and with the 400-yard medley relay team, and graduate Valdas Abaliksta added on two second place finishes in the men’s 100-yard breaststroke and the 200 yard breaststroke. 

When was it decided?

The events were closely contested, but the Tar Heel women’s squad was able to take home the win by claiming first place in three of its four diving contests against the Yellow Jackets. The Tar Heels earned an early win, and look to continue pushing the limits of what they can do.

Why does it matter?

With an early season victory, the Tar Heels were able to get an early season feel of what the season is going to be like. It is never easy to perform at the highest possible level at the start of the season, which is why there is plenty of reason for the Tar Heels to be even more optimistic about the road ahead. Their conditioning is only going to get better and better from here, and with better conditioning comes greater success.

When do they play next?

Carolina’s divers are heading to Missouri on Nov. 17 for an invitational event, and the next swimming meet will be at the N.C. State Invitiational in Greensboro from Nov. 18-20.

@DTHSports |

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