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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC diver Aranza Vazquez wins gold thrice at ACC Swim and Dive Championships

UNC junior Aranza Vazquez dives during a UNC swim and dive meet on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022.

The UNC swimming and diving squads rounded out conference competition at the ACC Championships with the men finishing in eighth place and the women finishing in fourth place.

What happened?

The first day of competition in Greensboro was action packed for the Tar Heels. Junior diver Aranza Vazquez won the three-meter springboard competition with a score of 381.85. In the same event, senior diver Emily Grund finished in third after posting a score of 350.90. The Tar Heels got two of three possible medals in the event. Senior diver Anton Down-Jenkins finished second in the men’s one-meter springboard event, finishing with 395.75 points. Despite not qualifying for the finals, the women’s 200-yard medley relay team of sophomore Greer Pattison, sophomore Skyler Smith, senior Ellie VanNote and fifth-year Grace Countie posted a UNC record with a time of 1:34.70. After the first day of competition, the men sat in sixth place and the women sat in first place.

On the second day of the championships, Vazquez continued to dominate as she took gold in the women’s one-meter springboard with a score of 379.25 to break a meet and UNC record. Countie finished fifth in the women’s 50-yard freestyle with a time of 21.84, which qualified her for the championship final. Junior Patrick Hussey earned a NCAA B qualifying time in the men’s 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:18.39. The Tar Heels finished the second day in Greensboro sitting in seventh in men’s competition and fourth in women’s competition.

The third day did not see many Tar Heels competing, but those who did had good showings. Down-Jenkins proved his dominance once again by earning silver in the men’s three-meter springboard event after finishing with a score of 447.30. Senior diver Alex Hart finished fourth in the same event with a score of 383.20. Hussey was the only UNC swimmer to compete in a championship final event on Thursday; he finished seventh in the men’s 400-yard IM A-final after touching the wall with a time of 3:45.05. After day three, the women remained in fourth place and the men moved up to sixth place.

The fourth day began with a bang, as Vazquez took home gold in the women’s platform diving event. She posted a score of 337.05 and earned her third gold of the championships. VanNote continued her trend of success by finishing eighth in the women’s 200-yard butterfly with a time of 1:57.26 to earn a NCAA B qualifying time. In the A-final of the women’s 100-yard backstroke, Countie and graduate student Sophie Lindner finished fifth and eight, respectively with times of 52.03 and 52.49. Smith finished seventh in the A-final of the women’s 100-yard breaststroke after touching the wall at 59.71. After the penultimate day of competition, the men rescinded back to seventh place and the women remained in fourth place.

On the final day of the championships, Lindner finished eighth in the women’s 200-yard backstroke A-final after touching the wall with a time of 1:54.95. In the C-final of the men’s 200-yard backstroke, junior Noah Rutberg finished third and 19th overall with a time of 1:42.98. In the women’s 400-yard freestyle relay, the team consisting of Pattison, Countie, senior Amy Dragelin and sophomore Olivia Nel finished in fifth.

Who stood out?

Vazquez dominated in all aspects of the championships, taking gold in three events. She became the first diver to complete this feat since 2008. Vazquez was named the week’s Most Outstanding Diver. Down-Jenkins also had a good showing, earning two silver medals of his own. A handful of UNC swimmers showed out, succeeding in both final and consolation competitions.

When was it decided?

The women’s squad established dominance early as they finished the first day atop the rankings. After the second day, they retained their fourth place standing for the rest of the competition. The men stayed in the same ranking vicinity, as they were in seventh place for two days. The last day determined the final standings, but the Tar Heels’ early success helped them stay stagnant on the leaderboard.

Why does it matter?

This showing gives the Tar Heels momentum to compete in the NCAA Championships. It is also a good indicator of next year’s success, as UNC has proven that they can hang with swimming heavyweights numerous times this season. 

When do they play next?

The Tar Heel divers will compete in the NCAA Zone Diving Championships from March 5-8. The women’s swimming squad will compete in the NCAA Women’s Championships from March 15-18, and the men will compete in the NCAA Men’s Championships from March 22 through 25.


@dthsports |

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