The No. 5 NC State men’s swim team took home the ACC Championship at the Greensboro Aquatic Center for the sixth year in a row scoring 1250 points with a commanding lead of 161 points.
The Wolfpack has shown its overwhelming dominance in the ACC yet again this year. The team brought home six event titles with four being individual titles and two being relay titles.
Senior Coleman Stewart had an outstanding performance in his last ACC Championship of his career which won him the Most Valuable Swimmer of the four-day event. Stewart took home the gold in 100-yard backstroke for the third straight year while finishing with the best time in the nation at 44.04. Stewart also defended his title in 200-yard backstroke with a time of 1:37.71, making it his third consecutive in that event as well. After taking home golds in two different relay events, this is Stewart’s third year in a row with four ACC golds.
Sophomore Nyles Korstanje earned his first individual ACC titles as a member of the Wolfpack. Korstanje finished first in a very close 50-yard freestyle event with a time of 19.25 which was just 0.06 seconds in front of Louisville’s Abdelrahman Sameh. Korstanje also snagged the gold in 100-yard freestyle with a time of 42.13 and won by more than half a second. After two relay wins with Stewart as well, it’s Korstanje’s second year in a row bringing home at least three ACC titles.
The Wolfpack also had multiple other podium finishes throughout the week. Stewart and Korstanje would both finish on the podium for 100-yard butterfly with Stewart finishing at 44.92 and Korstanje just behind him at 45.47. Freshman Ross Dant would also bring home a bronze in the 1650-yard freestyle event, clocking in at 14:37.69. Junior Erge Gezmis took a bronze medal, finishing third in 200-yard IM with a time of 1:43.19.
NC State also had outstanding performances in relays with four podium finishes and two of them coming with gold. On the first day, the Wolfpack 200-yard medley relay team of Stewart, sophomore Rafal Kusto, junior Luke Sobolewski and Korstanje took first place in the event with a time of 1:24.13 which is top five in the nation. The 800-yard freestyle relay team of junior Eric Knowles, Stewart, freshman Hunter Tapp and senior Noah Hensley brought home the silver for the event with a time of 6:14.98, just under three seconds behind Louisville.
The Wolfpack’s 200-yard freestyle relay team of Korstanje, freshman Noah Henderson, senior Mark McGlaughlin and Hensley also finished in third with a time of 1:17.70. The other Wolfpack gold for the relays came on the last day by way of the 400-yard freestyle relay team of Stewart, Korstanje, Tapp and Hensley with a time of 2:48.03.
With such a commanding performance in the competitive ACC Championship, the NC State men’s swim team is in a strong position to carry its momentum to finish strong in the NCAA finals. Stewart also has the opportunity to capture the NCAA individual title in 100-yard backstroke after breaking the NCAA record for this season. Korstanje also has an opportunity to make a statement in the NCAA finals as a young and quickly improving underclassmen after taking home his first two individual titles, coming in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle.
The NCAA Men’s Championship doesn’t start until Wednesday, Mar. 25 and lasts until Saturday, Mar. 28 in Indianapolis, Indiana.