CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Strong performances by Tyler Hill in the 400-yard IM and the women's 800-yard freestyle relay team helped to keep the Tar Heels in the mix on the second night of the 2012 Janis Hape Dowd Nike Cup at Koury Natatorium.
Youthful tenacity was the highlight of the night for a Carolina team that looks forward to showcasing much more of its competitors tomorrow.
"We're getting a lot of young swimmers a lot of experience," head coach Rich DeSelm said. "It's rare that a freshman can come in and be comfortable with college competition, but we have that."
Junior Stephanie Peacock led the way for the Tar Heels in the second-to-last event of the evening, the women's 800-yard freestyle relay. Joined by freshman Ally Hardesty, senior Katie Nolan, and sophomore Danielle Siverling, the four splashed into first with a time of 7:20.07.
After the second night of competition, NC State grew its lead on both the women's and men's side. The top four teams through two days on the women's side are NC State at 633 points, ECU at 478.5, Navy at 467.5 and UNC at 450. NC State controls the lead on the men's side with 854.5, followed by UNC at 536 and Navy at 479.5.
The night kicked off with a strong performance by NC State sophomores Hannah Freyman and Lauren Poli, junior Zina Grogg, and freshman Riki Bonnema, who took first place in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:43.19. Carolina's relay team, consisting of senior Katie Nolan, juniors Katie Rechsteiner and Cari Blalock, and sophomore Nikki Barczak, secured a fourth-place time of 1:44.10.
NC State kept the ball rolling with a second victory in the men's 200-yard medley relay, with senior Ivan Kopas and juniors Ian Bishop, Barrett Miesfeld, and Jonathon Boffa clocking in at 1:30.81. UNC's "A" relay, made up by freshmen Nic Graesser, Kurt Wohlrab, Sam Lewis, and Sean Sullivan, swam into third place with a time of 1:31.42. Carolina's "C" and "B" relay teams also performed well, taking fifth and seventh place, respectively.
Old Dominion's Kimberly Rashleigh took first in the women's 400-yard IM with a time of 4:14.26. There were no UNC swimmers in the event.
Tar Heel sophomore Tyler Hill swam with a vengeance in the men's 400-yard IM to edge out ECU's Rokas Cepulis for second place (3:58.33). NC State cruised to another first-place finish as freshman Christian McCurdy clocked in a time of 3:56.53.
"Tyler Hill in the 400 IM blew away his best in-season time ever," DeSelm said. "He never touched anywhere close to that before tonight."
Carolina freshmen Hannah Lincoln and Ally Haufler rounded out the women's 100-yard fly, finishing seventh (55.81) and eighth (56.25), respectively. Navy senior Toni Paruso flew into first with a time of 54.65.
NC State junior Barrett Miesfield took first in the men's 100-yard fly with a time of 48.92. UNC freshmen Sam Lewis and Ben Colley finished sixth (50.08) and eighth (50.51) in the event, respectively.
James Madison's Kimberly Helfrich took first place in women's 1-meter diving with a score of 302.75. A pair of Carolina sophomores competed in the event as Natalie Ritter (256.05) and Emily Schmidt (218.55) dove into sixth and eighth, respectively.
Senior Stephanie Eisenring, the only Tar Heel to swim in the championship relay of the women's 200-yard freestyle, finished eighth with a time of 1:53.22. ECU senior Holly Berenotto came in first with a time of 1:50.28.
Carolina had two swimmers in the 200-yard freestyle. Junior J.T. Stilley swam into third place with a time of 1:39.45, and freshman Chris Gondek rounded out the group with an eighth place time of 1:41.35. NC State junior Jonathon Boffa secured a close first-place finish in the event with a time of 1:37.41.
The Tar Heels continued their trend in the women's 100-yard breaststroke, taking sixth and seventh place in the event. Freshman Annie Goessling's time of 1:06.12 was good for a sixth-place finish, and junior Danielle Jansen followed behind her with a seventh-place time of 1:06.68. Navy senior Laura Gorinski took the top spot with a time of 1:02.92.
Ian Bishop, a junior from NC State, won the men's 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 55.95. Carolina sophomore Brian Bollerman competed in the consolation relay, taking 12th overall with a time of 59.22.
Carolina's Lincoln finished eighth in the women's 100-yard backstroke with a time of 58.97. NC State's Grogg really put her back into it to snag first place with a time of 55.38.
UNC was well represented in the men's 100-yard backstroke, with two swimmers performing strongly in the championship relay. Sophomore Clifton Gordon came in fourth (50.27) and freshman Matt Kwatyra came in fifth (50.64). Senior Ivan Kopas of NC State took first with a time of 49.69.
The Tar Heels made a splash in the men's 3-meter diving event, contributing three divers to the top eight. Senior Ryland Jones took third (351.80), freshman Ozzie Moyer took sixth (313.10), and sophomore Ryan Fox plunged into eighth (280.75). Duke senior Jordan Long claimed first with a score of 393.35.
Carolina's first gold of the night came in the women's 800-yard freestyle relay, with a time of 7:20.07. The Tar Heels' first place relay team "A" consisted of junior Stephanie Peacock, freshman Ally Hardesty, senior Katie Nolan, and sophomore Danielle Siverling. Not far behind them was relay team "B", made up of freshmen Annie Harrison and Emma Nunn, junior Cari Blalock, and senior Rebecca Brooks. The four glided into third place with a time of 7:30.62.
The final event of the night was a fitting representation for how each team performed overall. NC State's "A" relay team of juniors Matthew Thomas and Jonathon Boffa, sophomore David Williams, and freshman Simonas Bilis glided into first place (6:35.12) in the men's 800-yard freestyle relay. UNC's "A" relay team featuring juniors J.T. Stilley and Brad Dillon and seniors Tom Luchsinger and Brett Nagle came in third with a time of 6:35.83. Carolina's "B" relay team also finished top 8 with a fifth-place time of 6:45.94.
The Nike Cup will wrap up Saturday with preliminaries at 10 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m.