Aqua Jackets Rise at 2005 ACC Championships

March 1, 2005

ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech men’s swimming and diving team rallied on Saturday night to finish third at the 2005 Men’s Atlantic Coast Conference Championships and the women tallied a program-best 286.5 points a week earlier to finish sixth at the 2005 Women’s ACC Championships, in the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center.

“Our success at ACC’s was fantastic,” said head coach Seth Baron. “The athletes did a great job. In addition, my assistant coaches did a fantastic job in preparing our athletes and I can not thank them enough. Our success was truly a team effort: coaches, swimmers and divers.”

The men posted a third-place finish for just the second time in school history and moved ahead of North Carolina on the final day of competition. It was the first time that the Tar Heels finished worse than third at any conference championship.

“Jumping up from fifth to third place at the conference championship was a huge improvement for our men,” said Baron. “Third place looked like a long shot after Saturday’s prelims, but our guys put together a great session of swimming and overcame the odds.”

In just its fourth year of women’s swimming and diving, Tech finished sixth behind ranked teams Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida State and Virginia Tech.

“We’re extremely excited about the way we finished the ACC Championships with two All-ACC honorees and our first ACC champion,” said Baron. “We broke several school records throughout the meet and we feel that this young program is moving in the right direction. It looks like we could possibly have two athletes qualify for the NCAA Championships for the first time since the inception of the program.”

Junior All-American Sam Morgan and sophomore All-American Vesna Stojanovska claimed their first ACC titles for the Yellow Jackets.

Morgan, a native of Gainesville, Ga., finished first in the men’s 1650-yard freestyle with a NCAA automatic qualifying time of 14:54.71, setting a new pool record. Morgan also garnered All-ACC honors in the 500 free with a NCAA ‘B’ standard time of 4:21.50, finishing third. He also swam a leg of the 800 free relay team that set a new school record with a NCAA ‘B’ cut time of 6:34.45.

Stojanovska, a native of Skopje, Macedonia, posted a NCAA ‘B’ cut time of 1:59.27 in the women’s 200 butterfly to break the school record and capture the first ACC crown in the history of the women’s program. The sophomore also tallied All-ACC honors in the 200 free with a school record time of 1:47.67, for her second NCAA ‘B’ standard of the meet. In the 500 free, Stojanovska finished fifth with a third NCAA ‘B’ standard time of 4:47.36, breaking her third school record at the meet.

Sophomore Tony Burkhardt became just the third Tech diver in the history of the program to earn All-ACC honors at the men’s ACC meet. The Phoenix, Ariz., native scored 345.95 points on the one-meter springboard to finish in third place. He persevered through a leg injury on the one-meter board on Friday night and finished his diving with a pulled quad to finish in eighth place.

Freshman Elizabeth Stowe shaved 40 seconds off last year’s school record in the mile and finished third for the Jackets with a with a NCAA `B’ cut time of 16:28.08 to earn All-ACC honors. The Lawrenceville, Ga., native also set a new school record in the 1000 free with a split time of 10:00.90 during the 1650 free.

For the first time in school history, Tech had divers in every finals for both boards at the men’s and women’s ACC meets.

Freshman Evan Stowers joined Burkhardt in the finals of the three-meter diving event. Stowers, a native of Independence, Ky., set a new school record with a score of 537.20 in 11 dives to finish in fourth place.

Junior Laurissa Prystaj posted top-eight finishes for Tech on the women’s one- and three-meter springboards. A native of Fairport, N.Y., Prystaj finished sixth on the three-meter board (488.70) and seventh on the one-meter board (267.35).

Freshman Stephanie England qualified for the finals of the three-meter board to join Prystaj on Friday night. England, a native of Titusville, Fla., tallied a score of 434.20 in 11 dives to finish in eighth place.

Several other Aqua Jackets posted NCAA `B’ standards at the ACC Championships and qualified for the finals; Ryan Bishop (200 IM, 400 IM), Matt Figh (200 free, 500 free, 1650 free, 800 free relay), Ofer Finkler (800 free relay), Jason Howard (100 free, 200 free), Teemu Kettunen (100 fly), Rob Miller (500 free, 1650 free) and Sam Morgan (500 free, 1650 free, 800 free relay, 400 IM).

ACC CHAMPION
Sam Morgan (1650 Freestyle)
Vesna Stojanovska (200 Butterfly)

All-ACC
Tony Burkhardt (1-Meter Diving – 3rd)
Sam Morgan (500 Freestyle – 3rd, 1650 Freestyle – 1st)
Elizabeth Stowe (1650 Freestyle – 3rd)
Vesna Stojanovska (200 Freestyle – 2nd, 200 Butterfly – 1st)

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