The NC State men’s and women’s swimming teams took on South Carolina in their first meet of the season for the second consecutive year.
The meet started out on the wrong foot when the Gamecocks won three out of four diving matchups, with the Pack only winning the women’s 1-meter diving event, with a score of 256.95, adding nine points to the score.
Despite this, the women’s team won 197-100 while the men’s team came away with a 194-104 victory. The scores are reminiscent of last year’s victory over the Gamecocks when the Pack won 197-101 in women’s and 198.5-99.5 in men’s.
One of the most impressive finishes for the Pack was junior Kate Moore in the 400-yard IM. Moore finished in first place with a 4:10.50 time, which earned nine points. Not only did Moore win first place, but she broke the pool record for fastest time by .14 seconds.
“That was elite,” head coach Braden Holloway said. “[Moore] has been killing it this year, she’s been in the zone, she’s been training well, she’s had a few days where she has been really tired but then bounces back with a great attitude to get her going. But that swim right there just shows how far she has come since she has been here and I think that was a statement for her.”
In 2018, Moore was an NCAA All-American in the 500 freestyle, the ACC Champion in the 400-yard IM and participated in the NCAA Championships. As a junior, Moore has stepped into the role of being a leader in the locker-room, with so many new faces on the team.
“It feels amazing,” Moore said on breaking the record. “It’s kind of funny because my sister is the one who had it before me, but it’s always family love when we are battling it out, it’s special to have that. As for being a leader, I think that when you are a part of this program you just learn so much each year and you just grow a lot as a person. Being designated a captain this year has helped me step up and learn that I’ve got to lead this team and show the underclassmen what we do and to just improve everyone and myself.”
Moore’s record is just one of many impressive feats for the Pack in this meet. The Wolfpack won all but five of its events while racing in 28 events in the meet. Sophomore Kylee Alons won all three of her solo events, while freshman Sophie Hansson did the same with her two solo events.
Alons placed in first in the 100-yard backstroke, 100-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly. Meanwhile, Hansson finished with a first place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke and 200-yard breaststroke. Both women had first place finishes on relay teams, with Hansson finishing in first on two teams while Alons finished in first on the 200-yard medley relay alongside Hansson.
Meanwhile, freshman Ross Dant finished with a strong day. Dant had a lightning-quick 1,000-yard freestyle that he was in the dominant lead for most of the race. Dant finished with a 9:03.08 time, scoring nine points for the Pack, and beating out the second-place finisher by just under nine seconds.
“It felt really good to see some hard training pay off and it felt really good to swim as a team and just represent what NC State has,” Dant said. “I think this sets me up pretty well going forward with my national standings and showing what I can do right now.”
Dant also finished in second place in the men’s 400-yard IM, closely following the winner, NC State’s junior Eric Knowles. Combine this with other freshman feats such as freshman Hunter Tapp’s victory in the 200-yard freestyle, and the Wolfpack freshmen class looked entirely impressive.
“I think we knew Ross [Dant] was going to be pretty good today, he gives off a lot of emotion,” Holloway said. “This is his first college meet. We knew he’d come out swinging. I think we knew what some of the guys could do, some of them went a little bit quicker. Hunter Tapp showed some really good promise today, I was pretty excited about that. I think a lot of the freshman backstrokers and breaststrokers are going to be competing with each other to be honest, for the most part of the year. I think overall it’s probably what we expected. A few areas where we were better than I expected. I think we gotta understand in college it’s not about how you feel, the expectation is that you go fast no matter what.”
The team certainly expects to continue this sort of production as the season edges on, with a good mix of talented young swimmers and veterans that can help continue the culture that last year’s team helped uphold.
“It’s just a really good start to the season, it’s always really good to start with a win,” Moore said. “I think our team is capable of a lot more and this is just a learning experience for everyone, good and bad, both ways.”
The NC State swimming and diving teams will continue their schedule when they enter the TYR Pro Series from Nov. 6-9 in Greensboro, North Carolina. The TYR Pro Series is a series of races sponsored by USA Swimming. The event will be held in the Greensboro Aquatic Center, where tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for youth and seniors.