ATLANTA (Feb. 20) – The 24th-ranked Georgia Tech men’s swimming and diving team will look to continue its strong 2001 campaign by competing this weekend at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships in Charlottesville, Va. The three-day meet will be hosted by the University of Virginia, and will take place from Thursday, February 22-Saturday, February 24.
The Yellow Jackets are coming off of one of the most successful dual-meet seasons in school history, as the team recorded an 11-3 record in the regular season. The eleven wins tied the 1991 squad that finished 11-1 for the most dual-meet wins in the program*s history, and also marked the team*s first winning season since 1992 (7-6).
Tech will be looking to build on its showing at the 2000 ACC Championships, when the club placed sixth at the meet, the highest finish in school history, and scored a school-best 289 points. That meet also featured the Jackets’ first All-ACC performer since 1996, as then-sophomore David Laitala finished second in the 100-yard butterfly, to become on the second Tech swimmer to earn All-ACC recognition. Brandon Lumm had earned the distinction on the 3-meter diving board in 1994 and *96.
Laitala will again be one of the team’s leaders entering the championships, as he recorded the Jackets’ top times in four individual events, including the 50 and 100-yard backstroke, along with the 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley. He was also part of four of Tech*s top relay teams in 2001 as well.
A pair of sophomores that will be looking to make an impact on this year’s meet will be Shilo Ayalon and Tomonori Tsuji. The duo holds six school records between them, and each ranks among the national leaders in 2001 in their respective events. Ayalon set a pair of records in 2001, as he smashed both the 1000 and 1650-yard freestyle with his times of 9:09.01 and 15:18.83 respectively. Tsuji also had a record-setting winter, as he set a new pool mark in the 200-yard breaststroke at NC State with his season-best time of 2:00.89.
In the diving well, freshman Paul McCarty will lead the Yellow Jackets on both the one and three-meter boards. McCarty has already qualified for the NCAA Zone Championships and will be joined by senior Dustin Thorn in the diving competition.
The meet will begin each day with preliminaries at 11 a.m. and finals at 7 p.m. Results will be available on www.virginiasports.com and an update on Georgia Tech performances will be on www.ramblinwreck.com.