INDIANAPOLIS, IND. - University of North Carolina swimmer Tom Luchsinger, a 2013 graduate, won the national championship in the 200-meter butterfly and senior swimmer Meredith Hoover set a new school record in the women's 200-meter butterfly at the 2013 United States Swimming Phillips 66 National Championship at the IUPUI Natatorium Tuesday evening.
Luchsinger blew away the field in the 200-meter butterfly and destroyed his own school long course record in the event. Luchsinger, a 22-year-old from Mt. Sinai, N.Y., won the championship in the event by more than a second, finishing in 1:55.57. Tyler Clary of Club Wolverine finished second in 1:56.58.
Luchsinger became the first Tar Heel men's swimmer to win an event at the U.S. National Championships since Yann deFabrique captured the 800-meter freestyle at the February 1996 meet in a time of 8:19.40.
"I am kind of in shock. It is starting now to sink in," said Luchsinger. "I didn't come into the meet expecting to make the World Championship Team but now I am in the pleasant situation of getting to change my plane tickets.
"I have an incredible coaching staff and they have been incredibly helpful in my improvement," said Luchsinger. "From improving my turns to learning how to breathe coming off the walls made a huge difference in this race."
"We have had a tremendous first day at the World Championship Trials with the highlight being Tom Luchsinger's victory in the 200-meter butterfly," said UNC head coach Rich DeSelm. "Tom's swim tonight was a culmination of a career of dedication to being his best, to his hard work, to his competitiveness as a racer and to the overall team effort of our staff and the support of his teammates."
"He swam an aggressive race. Tom built the race smartly and stuck to his race plan," said DeSelm. "We are very proud of Tom and what he has accomplished."
With his victory, Luchsinger earns a spot on the U.S. team which will compete in the 15th FINA World Championships which are scheduled for July 19-August 4, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain. He will now relinquish the spot he previously had earned on the U.S. Team headed to the World University Games in Kazan, Russia July 6-17.
Luchsinger will be the first Tar Heel men's swimmer to represent the United States at the World Championships since Trevor Runberg in 1998 in Perth, Australia.
Luchsinger took control of the race by the 100-meter mark and was never headed, touching in 1:55.57. Luchsinger eradicated his previous University record in the 200-meter butterfly that was 1:57.01 set at the U.S. Swimming Championships in 2011. He qualified Tuesday in 1:57.74 in the prelims and then took more than two seconds off that time to claim the title in the championship heat.
"I knew I was somewhere in the front because I got to see some of the guys on the last turn and when I touched there was no one to either side of me," said Luchsinger. "I also want to say the guys I race with in this event are stand up guys. There was no stress in the ready room. Just a group of guys who love to race."
UNC senior Meredith Hoover (Concord, N.C.) also had a record breaking swim on Tuesday as she finished 11th in the 200-meter butterfly in a school record time of 2:11.77. She broke the existing school record of 2:12.02 set by rising sophomore Emma Nunn at the 2012 NCSA Junior National Championships.
"Meredith Hoover swam a brilliant race this morning and just missed making the Top 8 which was certainly the goal. She came back tonight and swam even better which she characteristically does in finals," said DeSelm. "She improved upon her lifetime best time by over a second and posted a UNC school record. In the process she solidified her status as one of the best 200 butterfliers in the country."
Danielle Siverling also swam in the 100-meter freestyle and swam a 56.95, just shy of her personal best time of 56.66.
"Danielle was just off her best time in the 100-meter freestyle this morning. That swim should set her up well for 200-meter freestyle tomorrow which is normally a better distance for her," DeSelm said.
UNC Swimmers Winning Individual Titles at U.S. Swimming National Championships
June 2013 - Tom Luchsinger - 200-Meter Butterfly - 1:55.57
Feb. 1996 - Yann deFabrique - 800-Meter Freestyle - 8:19.40
Aug. 1965 - Thompson Mann - 100-Meter Backstroke - 1:00.50
Aug. 1965 - Thompson Mann - 200-Meter Backstroke - 2:12.40Aug. 1964 - Thompson Mann - 100-Meter Backstroke - 1:00.00