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Wednesday December 7th

UNC swimming and diving teams face quality competition at Tennessee Invitational

UNC first-year Michelle Morgan swims the butterfly during the UNC swim and dive meet against USC at Koury Natatorium on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022.
Buy Photos UNC first-year Michelle Morgan swims the butterfly during the UNC swim and dive meet against USC at Koury Natatorium on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022.

The North Carolina swimming and diving team lost to No. 10 Tennessee 280-106 in the men’s competition and lost 198-190 in the women’s competition at the Tennessee Invitational after the three-day meet in Knoxville, Tenn. 

What happened?

The finals on Thursday, Nov. 17 included 11 events. In the women’s 200-yard free relay, the North Carolina ‘A’ team, consisting of sophomore Olivia Nel, graduate Sophie Lindner, sophomore Greer Pattison and fifth-year senior Grace Countie, finished in second with a time of 1:26.99, just .03 seconds behind the University of Virginia’s ‘B’ team.

In the men’s 200-yard free relay, the Tar Heels’ ‘A’ team finished fourth behind Tennessee, Virginia and Michigan, the 'B' team placed sixth and the 'C' team eighth. 

Junior Patrick Hussey placed fourth in the men’s 500-yard free with a time of 4:18.21. Meanwhile, first-year Louis Dramm finished sixth, just over two seconds behind Hussey. 

On Friday, the UNC ‘A’ team of Pattison, Countie, Nel and sophomore Skyler Smith placed first in the women’s 200-yard medley relay, dropping 2.15 seconds off its entry time and finishing in 1:36.04. The men’s ‘A’ team placed fifth in the 200-yard medley, dropping 2.56 seconds from its entry time.

Junior Boyd Poelke placed second in the men’s 100-yard fly behind Tennessee’s Jordan Crooks. 

In the men’s 200-yard freestyle final, senior Tomas Sungiala placed second and Dramm finished just one spot behind him in third, with times of 1:34.63 and 1:34.95, respectively. 

Virginia’s Kate Douglass pulled away from UNC senior Ellie Vannote in the women’s 100-yard butterfly, placing first and finishing just under two seconds ahead of Vannote. 

On the final day of the invitational, UNC’s Lindner finished second in the women’s 200-yard backstroke with a time of 1:53.46, three seconds behind Tennessee’s Josephi Fuller who dropped two seconds from her preliminary time. 

Virginia dominated the women’s 200-yard breast stroke, a race in which Douglass came in first with a new American record of 2:03.57 and Virginia swept the top three. North Carolina sophomore Skylar Smith and junior Kat Ward placed seventh and eighth, respectively. 

Who stood out? 

On the men’s side, Hussey impressed with two top-five finishes in the 500-yard free and the 400-yard individual medley. Dramm also stood out, with strong performances in the 500-yard free and 200-yard free. 

On the women’s side, junior diver Aranza Vazquez scored a 375.00 in the three-meter diving final, finishing second behind South Carolina’s Brooke Schultz. 

Lindner was a another standout on the women’s side, helping the Tar Heels to a second place finish in the 200-yard free relay, while dropping five seconds from the relay team’s preliminary time. 

When was it decided?

The Tennessee Volunteers dominated the meet from the start. The Volunteers defeated two ranked opponents on the men’s side and two on the women’s, with the only loss being to No. 1 Virginia in the women’s competition. 

Why does it matter?

The Tennessee Invitational provided an early-season test for both the men’s and women’s teams, who are ranked No. 23 and No. 17, respectively. The meet featured No. 1 Virginia, No. 7 Tennessee and No. 14 Michigan on the women’s side, and No. 9 Virginia, No. 13 Tennessee and No. 16 Michigan on the men’s side. 

As conference meets begin in the spring season, the Tar Heels will look to build on their performance in the Tennessee Invitational and continue their strong start to the campaign.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels’ next meet is on Jan. 20 against N.C. State and Virginia in Chapel Hill. The meet starts at 5 p.m. 

@mdmaynard74

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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