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NC State Women Win First ACC Title Since 1980, Break UVA's Nine-Year Streak

NC State Women Win First ACC Title Since 1980, Break UVA's Nine Year Streak
Photo: NC State Athletics
It's an all out attack on the record boards tonight, folks. NC State's Alexia Zevnik popped off the fastest time so far in the NCAA this year in the 200 backstroke, Louisville's Mallory Comerford broke her ACC record from this morning, and NC State running away with the 400 Freestyle Relay shaving a second and a half off the previous conference record.

NC State sent out a warning shot to the rest of the NCAA this week. Tonight alone, they put up three girls in the A-final of the mile, four in the top eight of the 100 freestyle, and three in the top eight of the 200 backstroke. 

They came away with the Conference Championship tallying 1183.5 points, only 80 points ahead of Virginia, and Louisville finished 3rd with 1027 points. North Carolina kept things interesting, not far behind, with 980 points. 5th place was a very impressive Virginia Tech team. 6th went to Duke, then followed by Notre Dame, FSU, Pitt, Georgia Tech, Miami, Boston College, and Clemson.


ACC Meet: 15:25.30 (Leah Smith - Virginia, 2016)
Conference: 15:25.30 (Leah Smith - Virginia, 2016)
NCAA 'A' Automatic: 15:53.50
NCAA 'B' Consideration: 16:30.59

1.) Leah Smith (UVA): 15:31.49 (NCAA 'A')
2.) Jessi Hespeler (VA Tech): 16:05.26
3.) Rachel Muller (NC State): 16:06.01
4.) Hannah Moore (NC State): 16:09.48
5.) Amanda Richey (Pitt): 16:16.30
6.) Cecelia Williams (UVA): 16:18.41
7.) Anna Jahns (NC State): 16:25.35
8.) Verity Abel (Duke): 16:25.91

It's a sweep! Leah Smith made it official, winning her 4th ACC title in the 1650 (in addition to winning the 500 four years in a row as well). Her time was just a few seconds off her swim from last year, but there may be more in the bag for her big matchup at NCAA's. VA Tech's Jessi Hespeler came in second in 16:05.26 and Rachel Muller of NC State was third in 16:06.01, passing her teammate Hannah Moore with a 200 to go.


ACC Meet: 1:49.87 (Courtney Bartholomew - UVA, 2015) 1:49.61 (Alexia Zevnik - NC State, 2017)
Conference: 1:49.53 (Courtney Bartholomew - UVA, 2015)
NCAA 'A' Automatic: 1:51.95
NCAA 'B' Consideration: 1:59.19

1.) Alexia Zevnik (NC State): 1:49.61 (ACC MEET RECORD)
2.) Hellen Moffitt (UNC): 1:51.64 (NCAA 'A')
3.) Elise Haan (NC State): 1:52.82
4.) Klaudia Nazieblo (VA Tech): 1:53.07
5.) Alice Treuth (NC State): 1:53.66
6.) Mackenzie Glover (NC State): 1:53.72
7.) Alina Kendzior (Louisville): 1:54.71
8.) Fiona Donnelly (VA Tech): 1:56.07

Destroying her best time in meet record fashion, alpha wolf Alexia Zevnik stormed the pads in 1:49.61 tonight, which is also the fastest time in the NCAA so far this year. Let's take a look at these splits shall we?

27.94 (53.92)
27.76 (55.69)

Zevnik's time is also faster than the winning time at last year's NCAAs by Kentucky Wildcat Danielle Galyer's 1:49.71. Zevnik has some great closing speed and was significantly faster than Galyer's last 100 (25.8/27.6/28.1/28.1) in 2016.

Coming in 2nd was Hellen Moffitt, who came through with a personal best and new Tar Heel record of 1:51.64, eclipsing her 1:52.35 from last year. Just behind her was Elise Haan, who finished with bronze in 1:52.82, also a personal best.


ACC Meet: 47.00 (Mallory Comerford - Louisville, 2017) 46.75 (Mallory Comerford - Louisville, 2017)
Conference: 47.00 (Mallory Comerford - Louisville, 2017) 46.75 (Mallory Comerford - Louisville, 2017)
NCAA 'A' Automatic: 47.99
NCAA 'B' Consideration: 49.99

1.) Mallory Comerford (Louisville): 46.75 (ACC RECORD)
2.) Courtney Caldwell (NCSU): 47.89 (NCAA 'A')
3.) Ky-lee Perry (NCSU): 47.97 (NCAA 'A')
4.) Caroline Baldwin (UNC): 48.23
5.) Sarah Hitchens (UNC): 48.36
6.) Casey Fanz (Louisville): 48.43
7.) Lotta Nevalainen (NCSU): 48.62
8.) Natalie Labonge (NCSU): 48.85

Mallory Comerford came through with more fireworks tonight, re-breaking her own conference record with a scorcher, hitting in 46.75 (22.82/23.93.) Look at those splits - 1.1 seconds separating the two 50s which is downright incredible. Olivia Smoliga who won last year's NCAA's was a hair faster at 46.70, but split her race a bit differently (22.40/24.30.) Comerford's bread and butter perhaps is the 200, but this 100 is easily just as impressive. Following in 2nd was Courtney Caldwell​ of NC State in 47.89. 50 freestyle champion, Ky-lee Perry touched the wall in 3rd with a 47.97 after being in 6th after prelims.


ACC Meet: 2:04.34 (Emma Reaney - Notre Dame, 2014)
Conference: 2:04.34 (Emma Reaney - Notre Dame, 2014)
NCAA 'A' Automatic: 2:07.42
NCAA 'B' Consideration: 2:15.99

1.) Andrea Cottrell (Louisville): 2:06.90 (NCAA 'A')
2.) Laura Simon (UVA): 2:07.24 (NCAA 'A')
3.) Kayla Brumbaum (NC State): 2:07.53
4.) Lina Rathsack (PITT): 2:09.06
5.) Christina Loh Yen Ling (FSU): 2:13.00
6.) Rachael Bradford-Feldman (Louisville): 2:13.09
7.) Lauren James (Louisville): 2:13.41
8.) Vivian Tafuto (UVA): 2:14.48

Louisville's Andrea Cottrell got some redemption tonight's in the 200 breaststroke, stealing the crown from UVA's Laura Simon after Simon stole the 100 crown from her the night before. The race came down to the wire with the top 3 finishers at 1:33.64, 1:33.73, and 1:33.76 at the 150, where Cottrell was actually in 3rd place at the time. Finishing in 3rd was NC State's Kayla Brumbaum in 2:07.53 right behind Simon, which was a new personal best and an NC State team record as well.


ACC Meet: 1:53.19 Tanja Kylliainen 2015
Conference: 1:51.11 Kelsi Worrell 2015
NCAA 'A' Automatic: 1:54.22
NCAA 'B' Consideration: 1:59.59

1.) Kaitlyn Jones (UVA): 1:53.21 (NCAA 'A')
2.) Klaudia Nazieblo (VA Tech): 1:54.80
3.) Jenni Marrkand (UVA): 1:55.29
4.) Grace Oglesby (Louisville): 1:55.24
5.) Sarah Koucheki (UNC): 1:55.52
6.) Catherine Hulsey (UNC): 1:56.04
7.) Abigail Houck (Louisville): 1:56.82
8.) Nicole Smith (Notre Dame): 1:56.82

Last year's champion Kaitlyn Jones earned herself her second ACC title of the meet tonight with a personal best time of 1:53.21, but JUST missed the ACC meet record in by 0.02. Her time was 1.4 seconds faster than her winning time from last year improving on what had already been a wonderfully executed race (25.8/29.2/29.9/29.9). Tonight she was 25.6/29.1/29.0/29.3 finishing like a champ. Klaudia Nazieblo of Virginia Tech finished second in 1:54.80, and Jenni Marrkand touched 3rd in 1:55.29. Top seed Sarah Koucheki looked in great shape ahead of the field at the 100, but faded, falling to 5th.


ACC Meet: 3:11.90 (NC State, 2016) 3:10.31 (NC State, 2017)
Conference: 3:11.90 (NC State, 2016) 3:10.31 (NC State, 2017)
NCAA 'A' Automatic: 3:16.15
NCAA 'B' Consideration: 3:17.59

1.) NC State (Zevnik 47.38, Perry 47.36, Duffield 47.99, Caldwell 47.58): 3:10.31 (ACC RECORD)
2.) Louisville: 3:12.12 (NCAA 'A')
3.) UNC: 3:13.49 (NCAA 'A')
4.) UVA: 3:15.38 (NCAA 'A')
5.) Notre Dame: 3:16.13 (NCAA 'A')
6.) Duke: 3:16.60
7.) FSU: 3:17.35 
8.) GA Tech: 3:18.41

With four girls in the top eight in the 100 freestyle, NC State's 400 Freestyle Relay title should come as no surprise. Even at the end of a very long meet, the girls were still able to put together some incredible splits. Mallory Comerford gave her Cardinals a boost with a 46.68 split, helping them to a second place finish.


1.) NC State - 1183.5   
2.) UVA - 1100.5
3.) Louisville - 1027
4.) UNC - 980
5.) VA Tech - 739
6.) Duke - 725.5
7.) Notre Dame - 654.5
8.) FSU - 625.5
9.) Pitt - 428
10.) GA Tech - 391
11.) Miami - 361.5  
12.) Boston College - 152
13.) Clemson (Diving Only) - 144
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