GREENSBORO, N.C. - The North Carolina women's swimming and diving team set a trio of school records Wednesday night at the 2014 Atlantic Coast Conference Women's Swimming & Diving Championships at the Greensboro Aquatic Center. After the first day of competition, the Tar Heels are in a tie for second place in the competition.
Both Tar Heel relay teams that swam Wednesday night also set NCAA "A" qualifying times for the 2014 NCAA Championships.
"We're excited to get underway in Greensboro for the ACC women's swimming and diving championship and the men's diving competition," said UNC head coach Rich DeSelm. ""We had a good night. We had three school records out of two races. That's very impressive."
This is an exciting time of the year for all of us. I speak for the entire coaching staff in saying how much we've enjoyed working with this team and we look forward to many record-setting swims and NCAA qualifying efforts over the next three days."
A veteran group of Tar Heels combined to finish second in the 800-yard freestyle relay in a school record time of 7:03.72. The relay included junior Danielle Siverling, who led off with a 1:44.72, followed by sophomore Lauren Earp (1:47.48), sophomore Ally Hardesty (1:46.06) and senior Stephanie Peacock (1:45.46). The Tar Heels' previous school record in the event was 7:06.32, set three years ago. That Tar Heel relay included Peacock, Stephanie Eisenring, Emily Kelly and Katura Harvey.
Siverling's leadoff time of 1:44.72 erased the second oldest existing record in the UNC women's record book. That 200 free time was less than a second off an automatic qualifying time. Even more important was the fact Siverling eclipsed the University standard of 1:45.01 that had held up since the 2003 season. Jessi Perruquet established that record with a swim that earned her an NCAA co-championship at 200 yards freestyle that season.
"We had four great women on that relay," said DeSelm. "Danielle Siverling has really improved some technical things that are now helping her becoming her very best. Tonight she showed up and broke an 11-year-old school that was already a very fast time. That got us off to a great start. I'm very proud of all of them for stepping up and getting us another school record and NCAA "A" time.
The North Carolina women started off Wednesday night with a fourth-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay in 1:37.87, a University record time. The Tar Heels also had an NCAA "A" qualifying time in the event and was one of six relays to achieve NCAA automatic standards.
The Tar Heel relay included a trio of seniors in Carly Smith (backstroke), Katie Rechsteiner (breaststroke), Cari Blalock (butterfly) and sophomore Hannah Lincoln (freestyle). Lincoln's anchor leg was of particular note as she had the fastest split in the 11-relay field at 21.40. Lincoln's split lifted the Tar Heels past both Duke and Florida State in the final 50 yards and into fourth place in the event.
UNC's splits in the relay were 25.07 for Smith, 27.83 for Rechsteiner, 23.57 for Blalock and 21.40 for Lincoln. Carolina's previous school record in the event was 1:37.89 set in 2011 by Carly Smith (24.80), Layne Brodie (27.39), Katie Nolan (24.04) and Rebecca Kane (21.66).
Virginia won the event in ACC record time in 1:36.16 followed by NC State (1:37.18), Notre Dame (1:37.61), North Carolina (1:37.87), Duke (1:37.91) and Florida State (1:37.97). Spots #2-#6 were separated by a mere 79 one-hundredths of a second.
"It was an interesting relay. The back two legs were really outstanding," said DeSelm. "Carly Smith has been a mainstay on this relay a long time did a good job leading off for us. Katie Rechsteiner had her lifetime best split in the breaststroke leg and Cari Blalock had one of the fastest splits we've ever had on this relay in the fly. Sophomore Hannah Lincoln was on fire on the freestyle leg, breezing to a 21.40. We were moving very well at end of event and with a few more yards we might have moved up a couple more spots."CURRENT TEAM SCORES: Virginia 128, North Carolina 108, NC State 108, Notre Dame 102, Florida State 102, Virginia Tech 96, Duke 94, Pittsburgh 90, Georgia Tech 74, Miami 72, Boston College 66