Virginia Maintains Big Lead After Third Night of ACC Championships

By David Rieder

GREENSBORO, North Carolina, March 1. THE University of Virginia Cavaliers continued to pull away from rival Virginia Tech in the team standings on the third of four nights at the men's ACC Championships at the Greensboro. Pavel Sankovich, meanwhile, has established himself as the swimmer of the meet, picking up the only individual A cut of the night with his second victory.

Virginia Tech kicked off the night in exciting fashion with a win in the men's 400 medley relay. Zach McGinnis, Emmett Dignan, Greg Mahon, and Joe Bonk won with a time of 3:07.17, a new ACC and meet record. They broke the conference mark that Virginia set back in 2009. Dignan took the lead on the breaststroke leg, and Bonk held off NC State's Jonathan Boffa to earn a tight victory. Mahon commented afterwards that “We knew we had a chance coming in. We were [seeded] seventh, but we knew we had four guys who could get it done.” Bonk said that “I knew they [NC State] were coming. I was just happy I could get this W.”

Mike Camper, Ian Bishop, Barrett Miesfeld, and Boffa finished second for the Wolfpack in 3:07.43, while Florida State finished third in 3:09.46. Pavel Sankovich provided a big spark with his 46.01 backstroke leg, the fastest in the field, and the Seminoles held to a podium finish after that. North Carolina finished fourth in 3:09.78, wrapping up the A qualifying times.

Florida State's Sankovich picked up his second win of the meet in the men's 100 back. The two-time Olympian from Belarus led narrowly the whole race before pulling away on the last 25 to take the win in 45.86. Defending champion Zach McGinnis took second for Virginia Tech in 46.28, and Virginia's Jack Murfee grabbed third in 46.69.

North Carolina's Tom Luchsinger picked up a victory in the men's 400 IM in 3:44.25. Luchsinger, a semi-finalist in the 200 fly at the Olympic Trials last June, took a lead of nearly two seconds after fly with a 49.43 split, and he didn't let top qualifier David Ingraham get any closer than that. “My breaststroke isn't exactly the strongest stroke,” said Luchsinger, “so I knew that if I was gonna have a chance to take the title I needed to be out fast on fly and back and hold on and pray on breaststroke and then really bring it home on the freestyle.” Virginia's Ingraham ended up finishing second in 3:46.68, while teammate Bradley Phillips took third in 3:48.25. Phillips earned his second podium finish of the meet after his win in the 500 free on Thursday.

North Carolina State's Barrett Miesfeld won a exciting race with Virginia Tech's Mahon in the men's 100 fly. Stroke for stroke the entire race, Miesfeld ended up getting his hand on the wall just ahead of Mahon, 46.20 to 46.22. Miesfeld said afterwards, “I knew off the relay earlier I had an awesome split, and it gave the most confidence going into the individual event. Off the start I felt awesome. [Mahon] was running me down! It was a dogfight for sure. I saw him gunning for me, and I stuck my head down. It was so close.” Meanwhile, Georgia Tech's Eric Chiu, meanwhile, matched his prelim time of 47.03 to pick up third.

Virginia's Tom Barrett picked up the win in the men's 200 free. Barrett led the whole way and ended up with a half-second cushion at the finish, touching in 1:35.03. Barrett failed to improve on his 1:35.01 from prelims, saying that “It's always tough coming out for the final and trying to beat your time from the morning, especially when you're swimming pretty hard in the morning, but a win's a win, and I'm stoked. Ever since I got second last year, I've had a glimmer of hope since then, so I've just been thinking about it for a year straight. It was just euphoria when I won.” NC State's Simonas Bilas touched in sixth place at the halfway point, but he finished strong to take second in 1:35.56, just touching out UVA's Nick Alexiou for third. Alexiou touched one one-hundredth of a second behind Bilas in 1:35.57.

Virginia Tech's Ian Bishop won the men's 100 breast in 53.49, holding off a charge from Virginia's Taylor Gray. Swimming out in lane one, Gray showed some outside smoke to grab second in 53.67. Duke's Hunter Knight, meanwhile, picked up third in 53.72. Knight, along with fifth-place finisher Jim Zuponeck, helped the then-seventh-place Blue Devils wrack up some big points and move up to sixth by the end of the night. Knight said that his swim “went really well. First time getting hardware at ACCs, so no regrets.” Zuponeck, meanwhile, spoke about Duke's impressive team performance. “That's just awesome. We've been training with each other for the last three years, and we've been pushing each other in practice every single day.”

Team Scores
1. Virginia 528
2. Virginia Tech 400
3. North Carolina 374
4. Florida State 353
5. North Carolina State 323.5
6. Duke 197
7. Georgia Tech 179.5
8. Boston College 93

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