GREENSBORO, N.C. - The University of North Carolina women's swimming and diving team moved up three spots in the team standings Thursday at the 2013 ACC Championships being held at the Greensboro Aquatics Center.
"Tonight we started to turn the corner, but we have a long way to go to meet our own expectations," said UNC head coach Rich DeSelm. "Tomorrow's sessions are critical for us as we have some great entries and opportunities to help our cause. We are in an unusual spot and will need some incredible teamwork and personal resolve to reach our goals."
With one-third of the meet finished (7 of 21 events), Carolina is in sixth place with 113 points, six points ahead of seventh place Duke. Defending conference champion Virginia leads the field with 309 points followed in second place by Florida State with 177. NC State and Virginia Tech are tied for third with 166 points and Miami is fifth with 159. North Carolina (113), Duke (107), Georgia Tech (79), Boston College (62) and Clemson (8) round out the team standings.
The Tar Heels began the night with a fifth-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay. A relay that consisted of three freshmen and a senior touched in 1:31.25. Hannah Lincoln led off the relay in 23.17, followed by senior co-captain Katie Nolan in 22.54, Ally Hardesty in 23.04 and Lauren Earp in 22.50. " We had some nice splits on the 200 free relay," DeSelm said, "especially Katie Nolan's and Lauren Earp's 22.5's."
The best event of the night for Carolina was the 500-yard freestyle as six Tar Heel swimmers finished among the Top 17 in the event. Sophomore Danielle Siverling and senior Jackie Rudolph were Carolina's top finishers in sixth and seventh place with times of 4:46.21 and 4:46.88, respectively. In the consolation final, freshman Annie Harrison placed 12th in a season best 4:50.05, freshman Emma Nunn was 15th in 4:52.10 and sophomore Kelsey Cummings was 16th in 4:56.60. Junior Meredith Hoover won the "C" final for the Tar Heels and placed 17th overall with a time of 4:52.07, just off her career best time of 4:51.76.
"We were led by Danielle Siverling and Jackie Rudolph in the 500 freestyle. Danielle made an early commitment and was in position to race with the top group," commented DeSelm. "Although she faded, her early speed bodes well for her shorter races Friday and Saturday. Jackie had a career best in the prelims and, while a bit slower in the finals, finished with her second best 500 tonight. In the consolation final, Annie Harrison led our efforts with a great commitment from start to finish."
Junior Cari Blalock had Carolina's best individual finish of the night, taking fifth place in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 1:58.49, just .62 of a second off her career best. "Junior Cari Blalock fought hard against a great field," DeSelm added. Freshman Rachel Canty won the bonus consolation heat and placed 17th overall in a career best time of 2:02.06 (previous best was 2:02.32) while Danielle Jansen was 19th in a season best 2:03.25 and Rebecca Brooks was 20th in 2:03.27.
Carolina's top finisher in the 50-yard freestyle was freshman Hannah Lincoln, who won the consolation heat and placed ninth overall, taking almost a half second off her previous career best time. Lincoln clocked a 22.68 to erase her previous personal best of 23.08 set in the preliminaries. Freshman Lauren Earp was 15th in 23.25 and freshman Ally Hardesty was 16th in 23.47 as all three swimmers who scored in the event for Carolina were first-year swimmers.
Lincoln's time vaulted her into fifth place on Carolina's all-time Top 10 list in the event behind only Rebecca Kane, Richelle Fox, Christy Watkins and Kelsey Morrissy. "Hannah Lincoln highlighted the 50 free for us with an outstanding effort," said DeSelm. "She is awesome underwater and is refining her race. She crushed her lifetime best time with her 22.68 time."Action will continue on Friday at the Greensboro Aquatics Center with the preliminary session at 11 a.m. and finals at 7 p.m.