Stephanie Peacock's performance in the 500-yard freestyle led the way for the UNC swimming and diving team on the first night of competition at the Ohio State Invitational at McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion.
Peacock's time of 4:34.42 in the women's 500-yard freestyle was the first gold for the Tar Heels at the meet. Peacock's time was both an Atlantic Coast Conference and UNC record in the 500-yard freestyle and an automatic qualifying time for the 2013 NCAA Division I Championships. It is also the second fastest time in the NCAA Division I times rankings at this point of the season.
After the first night of competition, top scores are close on both the women's and men's sides. For the women, Florida is in first with a score of 264 points, followed by Stanford with 215, Ohio State with 200, UNC with 177, Notre Dame with 117, Wisconsin with 110, Purdue with 51, Indiana with 49, and Texas with 12. For the men, Ohio State sits atop the competition with a score of 361 points, followed by Florida with 278.5, UNC with 183.5, Wisconsin with 123, Indiana with 113, Stanford with 32, and Purdue with 28.
In the first event of the night, both the Carolina women's "A" and "B" relay teams finished in the top 10 of the 200-yard freestyle relay. The "A" team of sophomore Nikki Barczak, senior Katie Nolan, and freshmen Hannah Lincoln and Ally Hardesty took seventh place with a time of 1:32.00. Freshman Lauren Earp, sophomore Danielle Siverling, and juniors Danielle Jansen and Cari Blalock made up the "B" team, which took ninth with a time of 1:33.30. The Florida "A" team took first with a time of 1:29.49.
Two Carolina men's relay teams claimed top 10 spots in the men's 200-yard freestyle relay. The "A" relay team of junior Kyle Ficker and freshmen Sam Lewis, Logan Heck, and Sean Sullivan took fifth with a time of 1:21.71, while the "B" relay team of juniors Alex Gianino and Brad Dillon and freshmen Nic Graesser and Ben Colley was just a second behind, taking sixth with a time of 1:22.71. Host school Ohio State's "A" relay team took first with a time of 1:17.84.
Junior Stephanie Peacock was the first Tar Heel to claim top honors at the meet, finishing the women's 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:34.42. She was joined in the top 10 by sophomore Danielle Siverling in sixth (4:44.97), senior Jackie Rudolph in eighth (4:47.29), and freshman Emma Nunn in tenth (4:49.67).
"In addition to Stephanie's UNC & ACC record setting swim, we had a total of six women (Peacock, Jackie Rudolph, Emma Nunn, Lauren Earp, Meredith Hoover & Annie Harrison) with career best times in the 500 free. This was a great way to start the evening's individual events."
Three UNC swimmers took part in the men's 500-yard freestyle. Junior J.T. Stilley tied Florida junior Signorin for third with a time of 4:21.68. After Stilley came senior Brett Nagle in seventh place (4:22.94) and junior Brad Dillon in tenth place (4:28.48). Ohio State junior Miller took first in the event with a time of 4:19.51. "JT's swim was just off his career best, Brett's was an unshaved best time, Brad Dillon & Tom Luchsinger swam to career best times."
Blalock and Nolan both made appearances in the women's 200-yard IM for the Tar Heels, finishing third (1:58.40) and fifth (2:00.04), respectively. Notre Dame sophomore Emma Reaney claimed first place with a time of 1:55.05. "Katie & Cari sparked the team with their prelim swims and both came back tonight to swim extremely well. Katie Nolan's career best is a great testament to her hard work over the past year. Many of our other women, especially our freshmen, swam great IM's today."
"We had some terrific improvements in the men's IM tonight, with Alex Gianino very close to his lifetime best time and Pat Myers breaking 1:50 for the first time in his career." Though Carolina didn't place anyone in the championship final for the men's 200-yard IM, Gianino (1:49.10), sophomore Patrick Myers (1:49.75), and freshman Matt Kwatyra (1:49.91) all finished within the same second in the "B" final, taking 14th through 16th, respectively. Florida senior Rousseau took first in the event with a time of 1:44.02.
The women's 50-yard freestyle also didn't feature any Tar Heels in the championship final. UNC's Barczak's time of 23.30 was good for a 12th-place finish in the event. Stanford sophomore Maddy Schaeffer sprinted to first with a time of 22.18. "We are getting better in the 50, with Nikki Barczak, Hannah Lincoln and Allyn Hardesty all swimming well today. Ally's time was her lifetime best."
Breaking the cold streak, two Carolina swimmers competed in the men's 50-yard freestyle. Ficker took seventh with a time of 20.60, and Lewis took tenth with a time of 20.94. Florida junior DeBorde won the close event with a time of 19.54. "Our sprint group continues to work hard and today we raced tough in the 50. Like all our events, we need to get better here. We have a great group of young guys working hard to improve and they will."
UNC had no competitors in the first two diving events of the meet. Purdue's Cabassol took first in the women's 3-meter diving championship with a score of 346.70, and Stanford's Ipsen claimed top honors in the men's 1-meter diving championship with a score of 384.15.
Two of the Carolina women's relay teams finished in the top 10 in the 400-yard medley relay. UNC's "A" team of senior Katie Nolan, sophomore Danielle Siverling, and juniors Carly Smith and Katie Rechsteiner glided into seventh place with a time of 3:39.22. The "C" team featuring senior Rebecca Brooks, junior Danielle Jansen, sophomore Nikki Barczak, and freshman Hannah Lincoln was not far behind, with a ninth-place time of 3:42.39.
Carolina's "A", "B", and "C" relay teams finished in the top 10 in the men's 400-yard medley relay. The "A" team, consisting of senior Tom Luchsinger and freshmen Nic Graesser, Kurt Wohlrab, and Logan Heck, took fifth in the event with a time of 3:16.31. The "B" team was right behind them, as freshman Ben Colley, sophomore Brian Bollerman, and juniors Brad Dillon and Kyle Ficker finished in sixth place with a time of 3:17.21. And finally, with a time of 3:18.99, the "C" team of sophomore Patrick Myers, freshman Sam Lewis, and juniors Alex Gianino and J.T. Stilley swam into ninth place. Ohio State's "A" relay team grabbed first place with a time of 3:10.55.
The Ohio State Invitational will continue Saturday with preliminaries at 10 a.m. and finals at 5 p.m.