INDIANAPOLIS, IND. - The University of North Carolina women's swimming and diving team finished in the Top 20 for the sixth straight year and earned its highest national finish since 2013 as the 2017 NCAA Division I Championships concluded Saturday night at the Indiana University Natatorium.
"We are proud of the 11 Tar Heel women representing UNC at the NCAAs and proud of earning a 17th-place finish," said UNC head coach Rich DeSelm. "It was a team effort. We had a great week together, learned a lot and performed well. The desire to excel for their school and teammates was truly evident. It was a fun week despite some ups and downs. All said, the women broke five more school records this week in the 100 backstroke, 100 butterfly and 100 freestyle and the 400 medley and freestyle relays. This team has been rewarding to work with and we as a staff are proud of them."
Coach Rich DeSelm's Tar Heels placed 17th with 73 points. That was Carolina's best finish since it was 12th in 2013.
"On behalf of our staff and the rest of the team, I would like to thank our seniors for their dedication to the team, their persistence in working toward excellence, their leadership in the classroom, on campus and in the pool and, of course, their competitive fire," said DeSelm at the conclusion of the Championships.
"Finishing their NCAA careers in Indianapolis were Macey Arnold, Sarah Hitchens, Caty Hulsey, Sarah Koucheki, Hellen Moffitt and Emily Pfeiffer," said DeSelm. "Each of these women swam career best times either at the NCAAs or ACCs and several qualified for their first NCAAs this year with several going on to earn first-team and honorable mention All-America honors.
"At home, seniors Liliana Casso, Abby Fisher, Katie McKay and Katie Munch all were vital contributors to our success during the course of this season as well. All 10 of these women provided invaluable leadership to our team and their impact will be felt as we move on to a new season in 2017-18," concluded DeSelm.
Carolina had three scoring entries on Saturday night as the 400-yard freestyle relay team finished 11th, Caroline Baldwin captured 12th in the 100-yard freestyle and Sarah Koucheki merited 14th place in the 200-yard butterfly.
In Saturday's preliminaries, Caroline Baldwin qualified 11th in the 100-yard freestyle with a school record time of 47.70, breaking her own University mark of 47.96 seconds set last month at the ACC Championships. In the evening session, Baldwin finished 12th, earning honorable mention All-America honors. Her time of 47.72 seconds was just a fraction off her school record time set in the prelims.
Senior Sarah Koucheki earned the first All-America honors of her Tar Heel career as she finished 14th in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 1:54.96. She earned her way into the consolation final with a 15th place qualifying time of 1:55.16.
Carolina's 400-yard freestyle relay team broke the school record time in the preliminaries, qualifying in 11th place with a time of 3:13.42. The previous record was 3:13.49 set at last month's ACC Championships. The prelims relay included Caroline Baldwin (48.24), Sarah Hitchens (48.17), Brooke Bauer (48.86) and Hellen Moffitt (48.15). In the consolation finals in the evening, Carolina was the 11th place finisher with a clocking of 3:13.50, just .07 of a second off it school record set in the morning. The finals relay included Caroline Baldwin (48.48), Sarah Hitchens (48.60), Brooke Bauer (48.22) and Hellen Mofitt (48.20).
SATURDAY FINALS RESULTS
Caroline Baldwin, 12th Place, 47.72
Sarah Koucheki, 14th Place, 1:54.96
400-Yard Freestyle Relay
11th Place, 3:13.50, Caroline Baldwin (48.48), Sarah Hitchens (48.60), Brooke Bauer (48.22), Hellen Moffitt (48.20)
SATURDAY'S PRELIMINARY RESULTS
21st, Hellen Moffitt, 1:53.19
11th, Caroline Baldwin, 47.70
25th, Sarah Hitchens, 48.41
15th, Sarah Koucheki, 1:55.16
32nd, Caty Hulsey, 1:57.61
10-Meter Platform Diving
27th, Elissa Dawson, 229.25 points
400-Yard Freestyle Relay