GREENSBORO, N.C. - Tom Luchsinger grabbed a runner-up finish in the 200-yard individual medley and six Tar Heels posted career best times on the second night of the 2013 ACC Men's Swimming & Diving Championships at the Greensboro Aquatics Center.
Luchsinger clocked a career best 1:45.08 to take second in the 200 IM while J.T. Stilley and Alex Gianino also claimed top five finishes for UNC in the 500-yard freestyle and 200-yard IM, respectively, with Stilley going under 4:20 for the first time in his career.
"We had a good day. We had people in every event sprinkled through the evening session," said UNC head coach Rich DeSelm. "We had a lot of best times this morning in qualifying. It is proving to be a really fast meet and a very deep meet to qualify for the Top 8 and the consolation finals. Swimmers really need to be sharp and fast in the morning."
The Tar Heels find themselves in fourth place after the second day of the championships. Virginia leads the way with 256 points followed by Virginia Tech with 217 points, Florida State with 205 points, North Carolina with 192 points, NC State with 133 points, Georgia Tech with 118 points, Duke with 91 points and Boston College with 70 points. Florida State won three events on the night, taking the 200 free relay, 200 IM and 50 free while Virginia (500 free) and Duke (one-meter diving) won one event each.
Carolina started out the evening with a fifth-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay, relying on three freshmen and a junior to carry the Tar Heels to a time of 1:18.98, an NCAA "B" cut in the event. It was a fast event overall with the top four teams all swimming to NCAA "A" times in the final. The UNC relay consisted of freshman Logan Heck (20.02), junior Kyle Ficker (19.63), freshman Sean Sullivan (19.48) and freshman Nic Graesser (19.85).
J.T. Stilley led the way for Carolina in the 500-yard freestyle with a fourth-place finish as three Tar Heels posted career best times with their evening swims. Stilley clocked a 4:19.09, well under his previous best of 4:20.78, which he set in the preliminaries. Stilley's time moved him into fourth place on the all-time performers list at UNC behind only Chip Peterson, Yann deFabrique and James Hamrick. Senior Brett Nagle was also a championship finalist and finished seventh in 4:21.85. In the consolation final, both Brad Dillon and Mitch DeForest bettered the career best times they had posted in Thursday's prelims, going 4:21.60 and 4:23.81 to finish 10th and 12th, respectively. Dillon had gone 4:22.10 in the prelims while DeForest went 4:24.84. The two swimmers have both shaved significant time off their career bests going into the season.
"J.T. came back tonight and came close to the school record and almost in the medal category," said DeSelm. "Brad Dillon in the B final had a great swim. He's dropped about seven seconds this year. Mitch DeForest also had an excellent swim and he has dropped about five seconds this year."
Senior Tom Luchsinger turned in a brilliant swim to lead UNC efforts in the 200-yard individual medley. He posted his best ever ACC Championships finish in the event with his second place, rallying on the freestyle leg to move into the second spot. His time was 1:45.08, a career best, beating his previous mark of 1:45.77. He trails only Tyler Harris on the Tar Heels' Top 10 all-time performers list. Junior Alex Gianino was also a championship finalist for Carolina as he finished fifth with a time of 1:46.34, just shy of his personal best set in the prelims. Two Tar Heels scored for Coach Rich DeSelm's team in the consolation final as Patrick Myers placed 13th in 1:48.29 and freshman Matt Kwatyra took 15th place in 1:48.66. Sophomore Tyler Hill swam in the bonus consolation final and placed 19th overall with a career best 1:49.22 (previous best was 1:49.96).
"The highlight for us was Tom Luchsinger's second place in a 1:45.08. That's a very nationally competitive time for Tom. Alex Gianino was just off his time this morning, getting fifth. Those guys got some nice points for us tonight in the "A" final," DeSelm commented.
The Tar Heels had two consolation finalists in the 50-yard freestyle as freshman Logan Heck turned in one of the best swims in the event in Tar Heel history. He clocked a 19.79 to win the consolation heat and finish ninth overall. His preliminary time was 19.96, which was his career best before he bettered it in the evening. Heck is only the third UNC swimmer to break the 20-second barrier in history and ranks behind only Steve Cebertowicz and Kyle Ficker on the all-time performers list. Ficker was the last qualifier in the morning heats but moved up two spots in the evening to finish 14th overall at 20.11.
"Logan Heck broke 20 seconds this morning for the first time. He came back faster tonight and won the consolation final and that was a great emotional lift for our team," said DeSelm.The Championships continue on Friday at the Greensboro Aquatics Center with preliminaries at 11 a.m. and championship finals at 7 p.m.