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Virginia Men Take Early Lead In ACC Championships

Feb 25, 2000

Courtesy: University of North Carolina
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Seeking its second successive Atlantic Coast Conference championship, the ninth-ranked University of Virginia men's swimming and diving team utilized both its excellent top line talent and its incredible depth to take the lead after the first day of the 2000 ACC Men's Swimming and Diving Championships at the University of North Carolina's Maurice J. Koury Natatorium.

The Wahoos pace the field with 242 points while North Carolina, the nation's 21st-ranked team, used good balance to place second after day one with 201.5 points. Florida State, ranked 22nd, is third with 162 points and N.C. State, ranked 23rd, is fourth with 151 points. The remainder of the field has Maryland in fifth place with 151 points, Clemson in sixth place with 84.5 points, Georgia Tech in seventh place with 65 points and Duke in eighth place with 46 points.

Virginia captured two individual event titles, while N.C. State claimed another in the swimming events. Florida State claimed the diving title contested on Thursday and FSU and Virginia each won one of the relay events.

Despite their second place team standing. North Carolina swimmers had an outstanding day in the pool. Of the 20 swimmers the Tar Heels entered on Thursday, 17 posted career best times in their events.

The meet opened with an exciting 200-yard freestyle relay that saw Florida State win the ACC championship in the event for the sixth successive year. The relay of Greg Main-Baillie, Nnamnse Ammons, Joey Mashburn and Kevin Flanagan touched in 1:20.62, edging N.C. State by only .04 of second to win the title. The Wolfpack finished second in a time of 1:20.66 and North Carolina was third in 1:20.81.

Virginia senior Austin Ramirez won his fourth successive Atlantic Coast Conference championship in the 500-yard freestyle, breaking the ACC meet record and recording an automatic NCAA qualifying time of 4:18.61 in the process. Ramirez broke the previous meet record of 4:19.53 held by North Carolina's David Monasterio since 1991. North Carolina junior Brad Kline finished second in a time of 4:23.61 and Virginia junior Jamie Grimes led a 3-4-5 Virginia finish by taking the bronze in 4:24.84. UVa's Michael Fuller was fourth and the Wahoos' Mike Wheeler fifth.

Kline's second-place time took over four seconds off his previous career best and was the sixth fastest time in UNC history. Maryland sophomore Michael Malchak set the Terrapin school record with a time of 4:26.53, good for sixth place. Carolina swimmers--Justin Rossi and Stephen Mohr--finished seventh and eighth in the event.

In an incredible finish, Virginia sophomore Chris Mousetis unseated two-time defending ACC champion Doak Finch in the 200-yard individual medley. Mousetis touched the wall in 1:47.68, a Virginia school record, swimming a very swift freestyle leg to win his first ACC title. Finch, a senior, was second, just .01 of a second behind his teammate. Sophomore Chris Helin of North Carolina took third place with a time of 1:47.81, his personal best and the third best time in UNC history.

Virginia's Ed Moses was fourth and N.C. State junior Braden Holloway, the fifth place finisher, set his team's school record with a time of 1:48.47. Three Virginia swimmers, led by Mousetis, all bettered the previous Cavalier school record in the event. Rounding out the field were UNC's Dave Slawinski in sixth, Clemson's Matt Wilson in seventh and N.C. State's Tim Haley in eighth.

The 50-yard freestyle was a great race with N.C. State junior Greg Solt winning the first ACC title of his career. Solt won in a time of 20.02 as North Carolina sophomore Kevin Erndl and Clemson junior Will Rogers finished in a dead heat for second place with times of 20.17. Erndl's time equalled the third best time in school history at UNC and Rogers' time was the third best in Clemson lore. Maryland junior Drew Childs finished fourth with a career best time of 20.38.

The rest of the field had FSU's Kevin Flanagan in fifth, Maryland's Aaron Peterson in sixth, Florida State's Nanamnse Ammons in seventh and Virginia's Troy Johnson in eighth.

The championship in the one-meter diving competition went to Florida State senior Brent Burkman, who unseated N.C. State junior Andy Johnson as the champion. Burkman had 514 points and Johnson was second with 508.9 points. North Carolina senior Christian Zuburg finished in third place with 481.9 points. The rest of the order of finish 4-8 was Florida State's Glen Gonzales, North Carolina's Stephen Krebs, Clemson's Craig Thomas, Virginia's Joe Piorkowski and Florida State's Louis Dondero.

Virginia won the ACC championship in the 400-yard medley relay and in the process smashed the ACC record with a time of 3:11.60. Virginia's relay of Mousetis, Moses, Finch and Johnson bettered the old ACC record of 3:12.80 set in 1999 by Florida State. The Wahoos' time was also an automatic NCAA qualifying time. Florida State finished second with a time of 3:15.11 and Maryland set its school record in the event with a third place finish of 3:17.21.

Action will continue on Friday at Koury Natatorium with the second of three days of the 2000 ACC Men's Swimming and Diving Championships. Preliminaries will start at 11 a.m. and finals will be at 7 p.m. Seating is general admission and tickets are available at the tournament site at the UNC Athletic Ticket Office.