Only a week after their last meet against Virginia, the NC State swimming teams showcased their dominance in the pool once again, overtaking Virginia Tech on Senior Day at Willis R. Casey Aquatic Center on Saturday, Jan. 30.
After bouncing back from a loss against No. 2 Virginia last weekend, the No. 6 women (4-1) beat Virginia Tech handily by a score of 168-126. The No. 6 Wolfpack men (5-0) followed suit with a final score of 164-136.
“We needed to see a couple people in a few more events to end the season before we head to championships, and I feel like we got some pretty good looks from that,” said head coach Braden Holloway. “The energy was great, it was the seniors’ last home meet, and we just wanted to have fun today and have some good racing. I think we did that.”
The first podium sweep of the meet came as sophomore Ross Dant, freshman James Plage and junior Curtis Wiltsey took first, second and third, respectively, in the 1,000-yard freestyle. In the women’s 100-yard backstroke a few heats later, junior Kylee Alons easily nabbed first with an impressive 53.61. Despite currently holding the school record in the event, sophomore Katharine Berkoff was seemingly not present for the 100 backstroke and left it to her teammates Alons and senior Danika Huizinga to post first and third, respectively. The Wolfpack men also swam well in the 100 back, as sophomore Kacper Stokowski led the field and finished first with a 47.50 time.
In the 200-yard butterfly, freshman Megan Pulley finished nearly two body lengths ahead of her teammate, sophomore Faith Hefner, to post a 1:59.46 in what turned out to be her best performance of the season. From freshman Abby Arens’ nail-biting win in the 200-yard butterfly last Saturday to Pulley’s impressive performance this weekend, the Wolfpack has no shortage of excellent butterflyers. Notably, star sprinter Alons did not swim in the 50-yard freestyle, although senior Victoria Fonville finished first with an impressive 22.95.
“For some of those ladies, they’ve been hitting [the same] events a lot,” Holloway said. “For some of them, I was okay with letting them mix it up and race in another area, instead of the events they’ve been doing over and over again.”
Heading into the 100-yard freestyle, both the NC State men and women had a solid lead over Virginia Tech. The Wolfpack men continued to dominate the distance events, as Dant and Plage took first and second yet again in the 500-yard freestyle. In the 200-yard individual medley, all-around swim stars Alons and senior Kate Moore took first and second, respectively. Alons finished ahead of the competition by nearly two body lengths with a time of 2:00.15, and Moore followed suit with a time of 2:02.79. To close out the meet, the men pulled off a narrow victory of less than a half-second against Virginia Tech in the 200-yard freestyle relay, posting first in 1:19.57.
The Wolfpack will return to the pool for the ACC swimming and diving championships in Greensboro. The men will compete on Feb. 17-20, and the women will follow suit on Feb. 24-27.