After four days of fierce competition in Greensboro, North Carolina, the UVA Men’s Swim and Dive team placed fourth with 961 points behind Louisville, NC State, and Virginia Tech. Despite missing the podium, this fourth place finish is an improvement for the program that has not won an ACC Championship since 2013. The young team’s success can be largely attributed to breakout stars rising to the occasion at this unique ACC Championsip.
Freestyle was a strong stroke for the Wahoos this weekend, with multiple swimmers landing in the top three across the board. First year Matt Brownstead had multiple winning performances at his first ACC Championship ever, winning the 50 free and setting a new school record in the process, 18.88. Later that weekend, he also won the 100 freestyle. Brownstead was also a part of the 200 yard freestyle relay team of Konnar Klinksiek, Justin Grender, and August Lamb who set a new school record that had been on the books for a decade. On the distance side, second year Jack Walker clocked a season’s best for himself and placed third.
With over two-thirds of the team composed by first or second years, Head Coach Todd DeSorbo commented that the team is “learning quick.” On the second day of competition, first year Noah Nichols placed second in the 100 yard breaststroke, smashing the school record by over a second. These younger swimmers are crucial to the Wahoo’s future success, and the upcoming NCAA Tournament will be an incredible test for the program as the work to continue to rebuild the program.
On the final day of competition, the Wahoos were in fifth place, but thanks to a slew of fast finishes, the team finished the meet in fourth place. One of those finishes was by Justin Grender, a third year, who placed second in the 200 yard backstroke and swam the second fastest time in school history.
The Hoos will look to continue their post-season success at the NCAA Tournament March 24-27. This year’s championship will be an important step for the Wahoos to collectively flex their prowess while also preparing Olympic hopefuls for the Olympic Trials in June. The ACC Network will be replaying the highlights of the meet on March 8 from 7-9 pm.