ACC Weekly Preview: Defending Champion Wolfpack Make Their Debut

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Through the first two full weeks of ACC swimming and diving action, only one team has yet to compete in a meet: the defending conference champion NC State Wolfpack. That changes Friday evening, when NC State hosts conference (and geographic) rival Duke along with Penn State in a home meet in Raleigh.

What’s changed for NC State since last season? Well, a bit. Todd DeSorbo, one of the key figures behind the Wolfpack’s sprint program, has departed for Virginia. Alexia Zevnik and Kayla Brumbaum, the two seniors who led the Wolfpack women to their first ACC title since 1980, have both graduated.

But this team is still very clearly the class of the conference. Head coach Braden Holloway has restructured the program since DeSorbo’s departure, with Bobby Guntoro taking more responsibility for the sprint group.

That sprint group, by the way? Still really good, with Ryan Held now a senior and Justin Ress a junior. The versatile Andreas Vazaios is back, and so are distance swimmer Anton Ipsen and backstroker Hennessey Stuart. It would be an upset if all of these men did not score A-final points at the NCAA championships.

The women, too, bring back a strong core with Hannah Moore going into her senior season set up as well in the distance events as anyone not named Katie Ledecky. Sprinter Elise Haan and backstroker Ky-Lee Perry both made big impacts last season in their first year with NC State.

The NC State women are scheduled to compete each of the next five weekends, and the men all but one of those weekends. The competition will only get tougher each time out: Wisconsin and Texas loom, and the women will head west to face Cal and Stanford.

Virginia & LSU at Pitt, 4 p.m. Friday & 10 a.m. Saturday

In the only other intra-conference matchup of the weekend, Virginia travels to face Pittsburgh, with LSU also in on the action. Virginia swept Penn State in DeSorbo’s debut meet last week, and now the Cavaliers will handle their first road test.

The Cavalier women got the post-Leah Smith era started with sprinter Caitlin Cooper and backstroker/butterflyer Emma Seiberlich each claiming multiple wins against the Nittany Lions. Pitt is strong in the distance events with Amanda Richey, but it’s unlikely either the Panthers or the Tigers can hang with UVA’s women.

In the men’s meet, the Cavaliers’ Brendan Casey and Sam Magnan matching up with Pitt’s Aaron Sett in the distance races should be the highlight of the competition.

Georgia Tech at Notre Dame (12 p.m. Friday) and at Northwestern (10 a.m. CT Saturday)

Two weeks after a pair of home wins against Pitt, the Yellow Jackets will head north for a midwestern swing against Notre Dame and then Northwestern. Georgia Tech was impressive in their start to the season, with Iris Wang sweeping the 50, 100 and 200 freestyles and both Christian Ferraro and Caio Pumputis looking like instant-impact freshmen.

Notre Dame, meanwhile, scored a signature win against Louisville two weeks ago and this past weekend hosted Texas A&M and Michigan State. Sophomore freestyler Abbie Dolan is the Irish swimmer to watch on the women’s side as she goes head-to-head with Wang, and distance swimmer Zach Yeadon and sprinter Justin Plaschka were the two standouts against the Aggies last week.

Michigan at Louisville, 5 p.m. Friday & 10 a.m. Saturday

If this matchup sounds familiar, that’s because the Michigan and Louisville women faced off just this past weekend at the SMU Classic in Dallas, with the Cardinals just edging out the Wolverines for second place. So it figures that Mallory Comerford and Siobhan Haughey will again match up in the freestyle events — without tech suits this time — after Comerford twice edged Haughey at the SMU meet.

The Cardinals finished last season as the superior team at the NCAA championships, but it was Michigan that dominated all three sessions of a unique-format dual meet between the two schools last October in Ann Arbor.

After being swept at the hands of Notre Dame in the season opener and now facing the Wolverines, Tennessee and Virginia await on the November schedule — a busy fall for Arthur Albiero’s Cardinals.

Queens, VMI, Liberty (women) at Virginia Tech, 4 p.m. Friday

The Hokies proved their abilities last weekend in Durham, N.C., sweeping both Duke and Florida State in a three-team competition. This week’s meet will feature two other Virginia-based teams, plus Queens coming up from Charlotte, N.C., in what figures to be a relatively easy win for VT.

Boston College at Loyola Maryland (4 p.m. Friday) and at George Washington (2:30 p.m. Saturday)

The Eagles are back in action with two Mid-Atlantic dual meets after hosting the Northeast Catholic Invite last weekend.

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Sun Yang Defends Master’s Thesis About Himself

Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Three-time Olympic Gold Medalist Sun Yang defended his master’s thesis from Soochow University (SU) on Oct. 17.

The topic? None other than himself and one of these medals:

The university is located in East China’s Jiangsu Province where Yang is studying physical education and currently training for Tokyo 2020.

His thesis, titled “An analysis of the skills of the Men’s 200m freestyle champion at the 31st Olympics,” evaluated his experience in the race, and not any of the drama surrounding it.

The defense left Chinese fans of both swimming and academia with a variety of feelings. One commented: “He is definitely entitled to research his own success. He is the most brilliant swimmer in China, after all.”

Others were not buying it: “In short, I’m not convinced,” added another commenter. “How could he finish all his courses when he had to train every day?”

This is not the first time Yang has created comment controversy. After testing positive for the stimulant trimetazidine in 2014, Yang has been one of the most discussed swimmers worldwide.

In 2015, he was awarded Swimmer of the Meet honors at the World Championships, causing a complete outrage on Twitter. The Tweets came after not only his doping controversy, but after he skipped his 1500 free as well.

The reactions to his self-defense are sparking similar controversy as more people learn about his thesis subject.

The Global Times and The Shanghaiist contributed to this report. 

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Local Diver Brooke Leftwich Verbally Commits to Virginia Tech

Photo Courtesy: Allyson Leftwich

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NEW COMMIT: Brooke Leftwich has verbally committed to dive for Virginia Tech beginning next fall. Leftwich is from Roanoke, Virginia, where she is a senior at Cave Spring High School. She dives for the H2okies club team and practices at Virginia Tech.

Leftwich has only been diving for one year. She made the switch to the sport after an injury ended a highly successful gymnastics career. At the Virginia AAA State Championships last year Leftwhich finished second. She was Regional Diver of the Year.

She told Swimming World,

“I am very proud and excited to have committed to dive at Virginia Tech! The coaching staff, team, and academic opportunities are amazing, and I am excited for the next four years! Go Hokies!”

The Hokies built a large class early. Leftwich joins a women’s class of 2022 that includes Anna Landon, Jennifer HauserLauren MeekerRachael HolpNatalia Fryckowska, Abby Larson, Alex SlaytonJulia Bruneau and Loulou Vos

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Mallory Comerford, Lane Stone Honored as ACC Swimmers of the Week

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Mallory Comerford of Louisville has been selected as the ACC Women’s Swimmer of the Week, and Florida State’s Ayla Bonniwell and Miami’s Wally Layland have been named Co-Divers of the Week. On the men’s side Virginia Tech’s Lane Stone has been named the ACC Men’s Swimmer of the Week, and Joshua Davidson of Florida State has been tabbed as the Men’s Diver of the Week.

Comerford and the Cardinals placed second in the SMU Classic, finishing ahead of No. 6 Michigan, No. 21 UCLA, Miami and SMU, and finishing just behind No. 7 Southern California by 0.5 points. The Kalamazoo, Michigan, junior swam in six events, taking the gold in the 100 free, 200 free, 500 free and 200 free relay, and silver in the 400 medley and 800 free relays. Comerford clocked NCAA A cut times in the 100 free (47.00), 200 free (1:41.70), and was a part of the 200 free relay team that posted an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 1:28.72.

Bonniwell, a sophomore hailing from Ithaca, New York, placed first in both the 1-meter and 3-meter competition to help Florida State earn the win over Virginia Tech.

Layland was named the “high point diver” at the SMU Classic after scoring 29 points for Miami. The senior from Orlando, Florida, placed first on the 3-meter and second on the 1-meter.

Stone, a freshman from Christchurch, New Zealand, played a key role in Virginia Tech’s victories over No. 20 Florida State and Duke. The Hokie swimmer turned in three gold-medal winning performances in his collegiate debut, winning the 200 free (1:38.78), 500 free (4:27.24) and 1000 free (9:20.51).

Davidson, a freshman from Tomball, Texas, placed first on the 1-meter, posting a season-best score of 342.00. The Seminole diver also turned in a 327.40 in 3-meter competition, helping Florida State defeat Duke.

Press release courtesy of the ACC.

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Isaac Jones and Beryl Gastaldello Named SEC Swimmers of the Week

Photo Courtesy: Reagan Lunn/Georgia Tech Athletics

The SEC has announced its top performers of the week for the middle week of October. Kentucky’s Isaac Jones and Texas A&M’s Beryl Gastaldello were the top honorees. Read more about all award-getters below.

Male Swimmer of the Week
Isaac Jones • Kentucky
Senior • Allansford, Australia

Jones led the Wildcats in a 1-2-3 sweep of both the 500- and 1,650-yard freestyle events vs. Eastern Michigan. He posted a nation-leading swim in the mile with his time of 15:32.35. The Kentucky record-holder in the event, Jones won the mile by more than 30 full seconds as the second-place finished came in at 16:02.67. He won the 500 free by more than four full seconds. Jones also helped Kentucky’s relay team to a first-place finish in the 200 free relay, swimming the second leg with a 20.93 split.


Male Diver of the Week
Colin Zeng • Tennessee
Junior • Fujian, China

Zeng recorded his first diving sweep of his Tennessee career, earning the top spot in the 1-meter (377.50) and 3-meter (410.35) events as No. 18 Tennessee defeated No. 10 Auburn and No. 25 Wisconsin. His efforts on the 3-meter marked the first time he cleared 400 points on the boards this season. The win was UT men’s first dual meet victory against Auburn since 2008 and the first on the road since 1995 as part of a perfect 7-0 season.


Male Freshman of the Week
Hugo Gonzalez • Auburn
Rivas-Vaciamadrid, Spain

Gonzalez won all four of his individual events, sweeping the backstroke and IM events in a double dual meet with No. 18 Tennessee and No. 25 Wisconsin. His winning time in the 400 IM (3:47.78) is currently the fastest in the nation, while his top time is the 200 IM (1:47.15) ranks second. Gonzalez posted a winning time in the 200 back (1:45.53), the fourth fastest in the nation. He also swam on the winning 400 medley relay, with his 100 back split of 47.45 ranked as the second-fastest 100 back in the country.


Female Swimmer of the Week
Béryl Gastaldello • Texas A&M
Senior • Miramas, France

Gastaldello won three individual events and was a part of three winning relays as No. 5 Texas A&M took first place against Michigan State and No. 25 Notre Dame. She took first place in the 50 free (22.40) and 100 free (48.68), good for fifth place in the national rankings. Gastaldello also earned a first-place finish in the 100 fly (53.43), the sixth-fastest time in the nation. She was a part of the winning 200 medley relay, 400 medley relay and 200 free relay.


Female Diver of the Week
Brooke Schultz • Arkansas
Freshman • Fayetteville, Ark.

Schultz claimed the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard titles as Arkansas split its first two conference meets, defeating No. 11 Missouri and narrowly falling to South Carolina. She won the 1-meter with a score of 331.75 and the 3-meter with a score of 360.20.


Female Freshman of the Week
Bailey Bonnett • Kentucky
Pittsburgh, Pa.

Bonnett recorded two NCAA ‘B’ cut times in the dual meet against Eastern Michigan. She won the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:01.43, and posted her second ‘B’ cut in the 400 IM, coming in second with a time of 4:19.38. Bonnett swam the fastest split of any athlete in the event in the 200 free relay at 23.58, helping Kentucky’s relay team win the event.

Press release courtesy of the SEC.

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The Week That Was: Comerford Shines At SMU Classic

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

This week gave NCAA fans one of their first big weekends of college racing, with Louisville’s Mallory Comerford putting on a show at the SMU Classic. Read about her strong performances at that meet and the biggest stories of the week below in The Week That Was!

The Week That Was #5 – Adam Peaty Receives Queen’s Honors

adam-peaty-gbr-2017-world-champs-2

Photo Courtesy: SIPA USA

World record-holder and Olympic gold medalist Adam Peaty was awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) honor this week from the Queen. The news Peaty would be awarded the MBE was announced back in December of 2016, and it was officially bestowed on the swimmer on October 11. The honor is bestowed on individuals who have made “an outstanding achievement or service to the community. This will have had a long-term, significant impact and stand out as an example to others.” Peaty followed up his impressive 2016 with a successful 2017, breaking the 26-second barrier in the 50 breaststroke and winning two golds at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest and has become a leader for a resurgent British national team. Peaty will be diving back into competition next year for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The Week That Was #4 – Petition To Name 2024 Aquatic Center After Muffat

camille-muffat (2)

Photo Courtesy: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

This week a change.org petition began to name the 2024 Olympic aquatic center after the late French Olympic gold medalist Camille Muffat. Muffat was the second French woman after Laure Manaudou to win an Olympic gold medal when she won the 400 free at the 2012 Olympic Games. Muffat also won the first relay Olympic medal for the French women in London as part of the 800 free relay, which earned a bronze. The swimmer retired back in 2014, just one year before she died in a helicopter crash while filming a reality TV show. The petition, which can be signed here, is currently aiming to get 25,000 signatures to get her name on the wall of the Olympic aquatics center.

The Week That Was #3 – Leah Smith Moving To Tucson

leah-smith-usa-2017-world-champs

Photo Courtesy: SIPA USA

Olympic medalist Leah Smith announced this week a move to Tucson, Arizona to continue training with longtime coach Cory Chitwood. Smith explained her decision to move with a statement to Swimming World: “While Charlottesville will always have a piece of my heart, I can’t wait to begin a new chapter in my life in Tucson, Arizona as I continue to train with my long-time coach, Cory Chitwood. I would like to thank the team and staff at the University of Arizona for being so kind and welcoming to me. Bear down and Wahoowa!” Chitwood was the assistant at Virginia from 2013-2017 and is following Augie Busch to Tucson after he took the head coaching job at Arizona in July. Smith was NCAA champion in the 500 and 1650 in 2015 and 2016 while competing for Virginia, and most recently won three medals at this summer’s World Championships in Budapest.

The Week That Was #2 – Despite Fundraising, Wright State Swim & Dive To Be Cut

wright-state-logo-2

Photo Courtesy: Wright State University

Despite a successful fundraising campaign that had seemingly saved the Wright State University swimming & diving teams, it was announced this week that the school will be cutting both programs following the 2017-18 season. Wright State was initially planning to cut the team last May before a campaign was started to raise $85,000 to save the programs. While that did secure the team another season, Athletc Director Bob Grant stated “…it is clear we are not able to fund operations of these programs after this season. And counting on external funding alone to pay for operations is not sustainable nor is it fair to the student-athletes and their families because of the uncertainty it creates year-to-year.” Following the completion of the 2017-18 season student-athletes will be able to transfer without penalty and any student-athletes who choose to stay will have their existing athletic scholarships honored. You can read the full announcement from Wright State University by clicking here.

The Week That Was #1 – USC Edges Louisville By Half A Point At SMU Classic

mallory-comerford-

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

The always-exciting SMU Classic came down to the narrowest of margins this week, with the USC women emerging victorious over Louisville by just half a point, 331 to 330.5. Michigan was not far behind in third with 322. While Louise Hansson, Riley Scott and Maddie Wright all helped to lead the Trojans to victory, Mallory Comerford was the star of the meet, winning three individual events that included several epic showdowns with Michigan’s Siobhan Haughey. The first came on day one in the 200 free, when Comerford threw down an incredible 1:41.70 to Haughey’s 1:42.44. The sprinter from Louisville would go on to edge the Michigan swimmer in the 100 free (47.00 to 47.22), with Comerford adding in a win in the 500 free (4:39.24) to close out the meet. You can see full results from Day One and Day Two to see all the swims from the meet.

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3 Tricks to Surviving the October College Grind

Photo Courtesy: Josh Huger

By Chris Balbo, Swimming World College Intern.

Every college swimmer knows October is the grinding month. Midterms are piling up and yardage is racking up as the temperature is going down. Intervals are dropping with endless weekends of dual meets just around the corner. If you aren’t unbelievably sore, tired, and sleep deprived, you aren’t working hard enough. Spirits are low, but the best give 100 percent of what they have. You can see the fatigue across the pool for everyone: distance, middle distance and last, but not least, sprint. The endless cycle of lift, swim, study, swim, eat, sleep, repeat, repeat, repeat. All aspects of college life are in perpetual breakdown, body, mind and GPA.

How do you survive this month of sore muscles, low spirits, and daunting academics? There is no simple answer to that question. But here are three strategies to try:

1. Rely on your coaches.

swimmer-with-coach-mesa-2016

Photo Courtesy: Brooke Wright

In this time of hard practices, it is a must to trust your coaches. All coaches have a plan for the season. Part of the plan is making October as productive and intense as possible. Most weekends will be spent on the road for dual meet season, making each workout more important than the last. Trust the training, trust the coaches, trust yourself. It may be hard to see the fruits of your labor initially but all in all, the grind is worth the reward in February. Just think, pain now, glory later.

2. Manage your time well.

Beach Studying

Photo Courtesy: Dan Worden

During midterms, don’t sweat the little things. One “bad” practice does not out-weigh weeks of tough training. The same goes for class: one “bad” grade will not kill your GPA. Be proactive, and use your study time wisely. Get ahead during the week. Do not procrastinate and leave all work for the weekends. If you must, use bus travel time wisely to get some weekend work out of the way. Use mandatory athletic study hall hours to your advantage. You might as well get some work done!

3. Recovery, recovery, recovery.

ice-bath-recover-cold

Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr / Swimming Australia Ltd.

Drink a protein shake, hydrate, get a good night’s sleep, and foam roll. These activities are essential to a successful October. Most teams are on the road for the weekend, meaning weekday sleep becomes critical to recovery. Hydration promotes recovery for fatigue as do healthy, nutritious meals. If you have athletic trainers, use them to your advantage. Their job is to take care of athletic recovery, so use them as a resource.

Following these tips does not mean you will avoid the inevitability of hitting rock bottom. It is likely practice morale may suffer from the academic, athletic, and personal stressors of being a college student-athlete. However, these tips relieve some of the mental and physical burdens of swimming. But the most important part of October is remembering why you love the sport of swimming, why you continue to swim through all the pain, and pushing past your own physical and mental barriers. At the end of the season, the hours of grueling training will be well worth the reward.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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Versatile Ryan Bugianesi Announces Verbal Commitment to UMBC

Photo Courtesy: Dan Roth (@SVYCoachDan)

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NEW COMMIT: Somerset Valley YMCA’s Ryan Bugianesi has verbally committed to the University of Maryland- Baltimore County. He’s a senior at Bridgewater Raritan High School in Bridgewater, New Jersey.

Bugianesi’s best times are:

  • 200 Fly 1:55.82
  • 200 Back 1:55.09
  • 400 IM 4:09.10
  • 200 IM 1:58.09
  • 1650 Free 16:54.05
  • 1000 Free 9:55.19

He posted lifetime best times in the 200 and 400 IM, 100 fly, and 200 back at YMCA Nationals last spring. Bugianesi set more lifetime bests in long course this summer. He dropped time in his 400 IM, 200 fly, 200 back, and 50 fly. This summer Bugianesi made finals appearances in the 400 IM (15th) and 200 fly (17th).

His best long course times include:

  • 400 IM 4:42.54
  • 200 Fly 2:11.12
  • 200 Back 2:13.56
  • 200 IM 2:17.69

Bugianesi gives the Retrievers a number of point scoring options. At the 2017 CCSA Championships Bugianesi would have been a 200 back and 400 IM B fianlist and a 200 fly and 200 IM C finalist. He also would have been in the top 16 of the 1650.

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Tampa Bay’s Ricardo Martínez Sends Verbal to Cornell

Photo Courtesy: Instagram, @Tbaynation

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NEW COMMIT: Ricardo Martínez has given his verbal commitment to swim for Cornell University for the 2018-2019 season.

Tampa Bay Aquatics’ senior Ricardo Martínez had a breakthrough summer season, posting U.S. Open qualifying times in the 200 back and 200 IM. He raced to a 2:05.41 and 2:06.51, respectively at the Southern Zone Sectionals. He achieved Winter Junior cuts in the 100 breast and 200 free as well. Martínez also competed at the 2017 Futures Championships, where he made the B final in the 100 backstroke.

Martínez will look to transfer his summer success to the yards pool this season, where his current best times are as follows:

  • 100 back – 51.59
  • 200 back – 1:49.47
  • 100 fly – 51.70
  • 200 IM – 1:50.65

At the 2017 Ivy League Championships, Martinez would have made the B final in the 200 back, the second-best finisher for Cornell. The Big Red placed Dylan Curtis (1:46.52) in the A final and Braeden Wong (1:51.55) in the C final in this event. Martinez also has the ability to score in the 100 back and 200 IM, as it took a 51.37 and 1:48.97 to make the B final in these events.

Cornell has also received a verbal commitment from Hunter Hitchens for the 2018-19 season.

*IVY LEAGUE DISCLAIMER:* A “verbal commitment” does not guarantee admission. An Ivy League coach cannot guarantee admission but can only commit support in the admissions process. 

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Breaststroker Emma Lindquist Hands Verbal Commitment to Cal Baptist

Photo Courtesy: Pete Lindquist

NEW COMMIT: Emma Lindquist, of Tiger Aquatics, has verbally committed to swim for California Baptist University beginning next fall. Lindquist swims for Coach Peter Richardson. She’s a senior at Stockton’s Lincoln High School.

Lindquist is primarily a breaststroker. Her best times are:

  • 100 Breast 1:06.72
  • 200 Breast 2:24.46
  • 200 Back 2:12.70
  • 200 IM 2:15.67

She told Swimming World,

“CBU offers the opportunities, not only in the water, but classroom as well for me to advance. On my visit I fell in love with the campus, swim program, coach and my future teammates! Thanks to all the coaches along the way that have dedicated so much time, energy and support!”

The Lancers are the defending RMAC Champions. At last year’s Championships Lindquist would have been a B finalist in the 100 breast. Cal Baptist had a senior and two juniors in the A final. Those were the only Lancers in the event last year. Lindquist will likely be a leader of a young breaststroke group when she arrives in Riverside. In 2017 Lindquist also would have been a 200 breast A finalist. The Lancers had the same upperclass group racing that event.

Lindquist’s Tiger Aquatics teammate Miranda Padilla has also given a verbal commitment.

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