ATLANTA, GA. – Michael McBryan set the school record in the 200-yard breaststroke twice on Thursday to highlight action on the final day for the University of North Carolina men’s swimming and diving team at the 2017 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships. Carolina finished seventh in the team standings as the Championships concluded at the McAuley Aquatics Center on the Georgia Tech campus.
Carolina had four championship finalists in individual events on the final night of the meet with Henry Campbell taking fourth in the 1650-yard freestyle, Michael McBryan taking fifth in the 200-yard breaststroke, Jorden Merrilees placing sixth in the 200-yard backstroke and Craig Emslie notching seventh in the 200-yard breaststroke.
“Like our women two weeks ago, our men had a successful ACC Championships," said Tar Heel head coach Rich DeSel. "Overall, we set six new UNC records and had over 20 new UNC all-time Top 10 times. While we dropped in the team standings, we had some outstanding performances. With only a few exceptions, everyone on the ACC team had lifetime best times. The ACC is evolving into one of the top conferences in the country. The competition was outstanding and multiple team point total battles evolved. We were in one and my staff and I are proud of how the men fought for every place and point."
1650-Yard Freestyle (Timed Final)
Junior Henry Campbell of Manassas, Va., capped off a brilliant meet in his three individual swims with a fourth-place finish in the 1650-yard freestyle in a career best time of 14:54.16. He also earned silver medals in the meet in the 500-yard freestyle and 400-yard individual medley. Campbell’s time was a career best (previous was 14:57.70) and he is now the third-ranked Tar Heel in history behind only All-Americas Joe Kinderwater and Chip Peterson. Campbell also swam a career best 1000-yard split in the race at 9:07.27 (previous best time was 9:09.12). He remains the sixth fastest Tar Heel 1000-yard freestyler ever.
Senior Jorden Merrilees capped off a great meet by finishing sixth in a time of 1:41.58, just off the career best time of 1:41.35 he established in the preliminaries. The Australian senior also finished fourth in the 500-yard freestyle and fourth in the 200-yard freestyle during the meet. Sophomore Patrick Cusick had a solid swim in the “B” final, moving up three spots from his seed time to tie for 13th place in a career best time of 1:43.92 (previous was 1:44.11 in prelims).
Merrilees and Cusick are the second and eighth fastest performers in UNC history in the event.
Lucas Popp tied for 20th place with a time of 43.85, just shy of his career best 43.71 set in the preliminaries.
Michael McBryan and Craig Emslie both had terrific swims in the finals of the event with both moving up one spot from prelims to finish fifth and seventh, respectively. In both prelims and finals, the two Tar Heel swimmers swam under Alex Gianino’s previous school record time. McBryan went 1:54.68 in the finals for the new University mark after going 1:54.86 in prelims. Emslie, now the second fastest Tar Heel in history, twice went under his previous personal best of 1:56.00 by going 1:55.43 in prelims and 1:55.67 in finals.
Austin Sellers moved up two spots in the “C” final from the preliminaries, taking 19th place overall with a career best time of 1:59.06. The sophomore lowered his career best for the second time on Thursday as he went 1:59.32 in the prelims. He came into the meet with a career best of 2:00.07.
Senior Michael Meyer finished off a tremendous meet by rallying in the late stages to win the “B” final and take ninth place overall in a time of 1:44.55. He also took third in the 400 IM and fifth in the 200 IM in this meet. He is now the fourth fastest Tar Heel 200 butterflier in history. Senior captain Matt Conway placed 13th in 1:45.32, just one-tenth of a second off his career best set in Thursday’s prelims. Freshman Collier Cobb moved up five spots in the “C” final, going from qualifying 23rd to finishing 18th. Cobb’s time of 1:46.64 makes him the 10th fastest Carolina performer ever. He took nearly 2.5 seconds off his previous career best time coming into the meet which was 1:49.05.
10-Meter Platform Diving
The diving competition was held in conjunction with the women’s championships two weeks ago in Atlanta and the 10-meter platform diving scores were added into the team scores on Thursday. Four Tar Heels scored in the event. Freshman Bryan Allen led the way with a 14th-place finish with 267.70 points. Junior Sean Burston scored 259.90 points and took 17th place. Senior Jack Nyquist placed 21st with a score of 248.95 points and freshman Devin Bellamy garnered a 23rd place finish 240.75 points.
400-Yard Freestyle Relay
The Tar Heels took fifth in the event with a time of 2:53.76. The Carolina relay included Craig Emslie (43.88), Lucas Popp (43.27), Jorden Merrilees (43.12) and Henry Campbell (43.51). Emslie’s leadoff time in the event moved him into fifth place all-time amongst Tar Heel 100-yard freestylers.
Senior Jorden Merrilees qualified sixth in the event by swimming a career best time of 1:41.35. That was almost two seconds better than his previous career best time of 1:43.08. With that time, Merrilees moved into second place all-time amongst Carolina swimmers in the event, behind only school record holder Nic Graesser, who went 1:40.83 in 2016.
Sophomore Patrick Cusick claimed the last spot in the “B” final by placing 16th in a time of 1:44.11. That was a personal best (previous was 1:44.58). With that clocking, he moved into eighth place all-time amongst Carolina swimmers.
Lucas Popp qualified for the “C” final with a time of 43.71. That was a career best time for the senior from Wichita, Kan. His previous personal best was 43.85. He moved into a tie for fourth place in school history with Evan Reed in the event.
Both Michael McBryan and Craig Emslie went under the previous school record in the preliminaries. Both Tar Heels also went career best times. McBryan qualified sixth in 1:54.86 and Emslie placed eighth in 1:55.43. Those were the two fastest swims in Tar Heel history, taking down Alex Gianino’s school record time of 1:55.69 set in 2014. Going into today, the previous career best times for McBryan and Emslie were 1:56.54 and 1:56.00, respectively.
Austin Sellers qualified for the “C” final in the event with a time of 1:59.32. He placed 21st in the prelims and his time eclipsed his previous career best of 2:00.07.
Two Tar Heels qualified for the “B” final and another for the “C” final, all in career best times. Michael Meyer placed ninth in 1:44.36, moving him into fourth place in Tar Heel history behind only Ben Colley, Tom Luchsinger and Dominick Glavich. Matt Conway qualified 13th with a time of 1:45.22. His previous career best was 1:45.39 and he ranks seventh on the all-time Tar Heel performers list in the event. Freshman Collier Cobb placed 23rd with a time of 1:47.32 which was almost two seconds faster than his career best time of 1:49.05.
FROM COACH DeSELM
"Our seniors were great leaders and racers, too. Co-captain Matt Conway, Jorden Merrilees, Michael Meyer, Lucas Popp, Eugene Tee and diver Jack Nyquist were our senior leaders at the ACCs and, along with the other seniors in this class – Josh Beals, Christian Caveness and Patrick Riess – had a tremendously positive four-year impact upon our program. Other members of the team had tremendous meets, but Henry Campbell certainly deserves mention. Henry emerged into a nationally prominent competitor this past week. His 500 free, 400 IM and 1650 free, plus his splits on the 400 & 800 Free Relays, were outstanding. He set school records in the 400 IM and 500 free and his 1650 was another best time. Jorden Merrilees set the school record in the 200 free and Michael Meyer in the 200 IM. Juniors Craig Emslie and Michael McBryan also each set a record in the breaststrokes and will, hopefully, have the opportunity to compete at NCAAs. We now look forward to preparing for and competing in NCAA Championships in a few weeks.”
FINAL TEAM SCORES: 1. NC State 1297.5; 2. Louisville 1134; 3. Notre Dame 923.5; 4. Virginia Tech 883.5; 5. Florida State 730; 6. Virginia 709.5; 7. North Carolina 700; 8. Duke 607; 9. Georgia Tech 576; 10. Pittsburgh 513; 11. Boston College 167; 12. Miami 108.