Jan. 12, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- North Carolina's nationally ranked swimming and diving teams posted a pair of victories over Navy Saturday at Lejeune Hall in Annapolis. The No. 22 men's team from Chapel Hill recorded a 175.5-124.5 win, while the No. 16 women's program won a 213-84 decision.
The meet served as the home opener for the Mids and the first event in the newly-renovated Lejeune Hall.
"I can't say enough how exciting it is to be back in here," said Navy men's swimming head coach Bill Roberts. "We've been in here for about two weeks now, and it is just really awesome. I thought today there was a great crowd, including a lot of the people who were part of the renovation, and it meant a lot to just have a great day in Lejeune Hall."
"There is elation out there to be back in Lejeune Hall," said Navy women's swimming head coach John Morrison. "It seemed we were stuck in a rut for awhile over the last few months, and we were just trying to keep the motivation up. Finally, we are back home and I see it as being one of the best on the East Coast if not in all of college swimming."
The Navy men's team fell to 5-4 on the year with the loss, while North Carolina's squad, which placed 14th at the 2012 NCAA Championship, improved to 4-0 on the season with the win. On the women's side, the Tar Heels, who finished 19th at last year's national championship, are now 3-1 on the season while the Mids are 6-2.
This was the first time the North Carolina women's team competed against Navy in Annapolis and today marked the first visit to The Yard for the North Carolina men's team since the 1973-74 season.
"It was important to have a team like North Carolina here today for a lot of reasons," said Roberts. "It is our first meet in the facility and they are a highly competitive program on both the men's and women's sides. It was great racing out there. We knew we had to be good today and I am real proud of what we did."
"Our program is moving in the right direction and is going to a different level with being able to swim against a program such as North Carolina here in our own facility," said Morrison. "We need to see this level of competition, we need to be pressed, we need be trying to go after times and feel uncomfortable out there. That is going to happen in a short time at the Patriot League Championship and we have to be up to that challenge, which means trying to do things we haven't done before. Racing against a team like North Carolina and feeling uncomfortable is a good thing."
North Carolina began the men's portion of the meet by edging Navy for the win in the 200 medley relay. The Tar Heels posted a time of 1:41.15 to narrowly win the race by just over six-tenths of a second. After the Tar Heels placed first, third and fourth in the 800 freestyle, North Carolina saw two of its swimmers narrowly finish first and second in the 200 freestyle. J.T. Stilley won the race in a time of 1:55.45, with teammate Brad Dillon placing second with a clocking of 1:51.65. Finishing just behind Dillon were Navy's Hugh Davison (Jr., Towson, Md.) in third place with a time of 1:51.67 and Riley Mita (So., Stevenson Ranch, Calif.), who completed the course in a time of 1:52.99, in fourth place.
The Tar Heels would finish first, second and third in the 100 backstroke, but Navy swimmers claimed the top-three spots in the 100 breaststroke. Sean Murphy (Jr., Hudson, Ohio) won the race in a time of 1:02.87, Luke Hoffer (Jr., Chapel Hill, N.C.) finished in second place with a clocking of 1:03.47 and Ben Grove (Jr., Winchester, Va.) placed third thanks to his time of 1:03.57.
Another close race followed in the 200 butterfly. North Carolina's Tom Luchsinger edged Navy's Ben Bondurant (Sr., Atlanta, Ga.) for the win by just four-tenths of a second. Luchsinger recorded a time for 2:00.44 to better Bondurant's posting of 2:00.84. The first half of the meet came to a close with Navy's Robbie Parker (Sr., Vienna, Va.) winning the 50 freestyle in a time of 22.95 and Ben Freedman (Jr., Kennewick, Wash.) placing second by less than six points on the three-meter springboard.
Navy carried its momentum into the second half of the meet as Davison posted a time of 50.96 to win the 100 freestyle. The Tar Heels then placed first, second and third in the 200 backstroke but, just as earlier in the meet when North Carolina swimmers claimed the top-three spots in one event, Navy answered with a 1-2-3 finish of its own in the next event. Hoffer won the 200 breaststroke in a time of 2:16.88, Murphy followed in second place with a time of 2:19.39 and Grove claimed third in the event with his posting of 2:19.50. Navy then finished first, third and fourth in the 400 freestyle, with Thomas Duvall (Fr., Durham, N.H.) winning the race in a time of 3:55.80.
North Carolina would finish out the meet by winning the 100 fly, the one-meter diving event, the 400 individual medley and the 400 freestyle relay.
"I was real pleased with our performance today," said Roberts. "We came out and I thought we raced really well in the beginning. North Carolina clipped us in a couple of races very early, but we didn't back down. Toward the middle of the first half of the meet we picked up some really good steam. We had a nice second set, but North Carolina just finished stronger than we did.
"At this point, mid-January, I would hope our guys feel encouraged and excited about the next six to eight weeks of our season. They know they have a lot of things to takeaway from today's meet and improve upon. I think they showed they have a lot of fight in them with a lot of effort, and that is a reflection of their belief and their effort and their training."
The women's meet saw North Carolina quickly win the first four events of the day before Laura Gorinski (Sr., Greensburg, Pa.) won the 100 breaststroke in a time of 1:11.09. Her clocking gave her a 1.13-second win over North Carolina's Katie Rechsteiner. Gorinski would later pick up the victory over Rechsteiner by almost the same margin in the 200 breaststroke. Gorinski posted a time of 2:33.71 to better Rechsteiner's clocking of 2:34.83.
Picking up a second-place finish in an event on the day for Navy was Colleen Randolph (Jr., Annapolis, Md.), who did so in the 400 individual medley with her time of 5:04.67. Additionally, Navy's Jordyn Nicholl (Sr., Acworth, Ga.) finished in third place on the one-meter springboard (239.48), Ellen Bradford (Fr., Knoxville, Tenn.) placed third in both the 200 breast (2:38.80) and in the 400 IM (5:09.10) and Toni Paruso (Sr., Savannah, Ga.) finished in third place in the 100 fly (1:02.62).
"We had a very strong performance, from top to bottom, in terms of the times we were able to post," said Morrison. "We are real pleased with the overall performance of the team. We're getting to where we want to be. We're excited to see some of the pieces to fall into place this close to the championship portion of our season."
Both Navy teams will next be in competition on Jan. 26 when they swim at Penn State.