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Aqua Jackets Ascend in 2005

April 7, 2005

Georgia Tech hosted the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships for the first time in school history and did not disappoint. The men posted a third-place finish for the second time in program history, rallying past North Carolina in the final day, while the women tallied a program-best 286.50 points at the ACC meet, finishing in sixth place.

Both teams qualified two athletes for the NCAA Championships; Sam Morgan and Rob Miller for the men and Vesna Stojanovska and Elizabeth Stowe for the women.

Morgan clocked a time of 15:05.37 in the 1650-yard freestyle to garner All-America honors for the second consecutive season. A native of Gainesville, Ga., Morgan also tallied 24th and 25th-place finishes at the NCAA meet in the 500 free and 400 IM, respectively.

“I think it’s simply the rewards of putting the necessary training time in, having a great coach [Stu Wilson] and a talented group of swimmers to train with,” said Morgan.

Stojanovska, a native of Skopje, Macedonia, qualified for her second straight NCAA meet this season. She finished 24th in the 200 butterfly, 25th in the 200 free and 28th in the 500 free.

“I wish I would’ve done as well as I did last year,” said Stojanvoska who finished 10th in the 200 fly at last year’s NCAA meet.

Freshmen Rob Miller and Elizabeth Stowe made their debuts at the national meet, both qualifying in the 500- and 1650-yard freestyle events. Miller logged a 29th-place finish in the men’s mile, while Stowe finished 35th in the women’s mile.

At the ACC Championships, Morgan and Stojanovska claimed individual ACC titles. Morgan finished first in the men’s 1650 free with a NCAA automatic qualifying time of 14:54.71, setting a new pool record. Stojanovska clocked a school record time of 1:59.27 in the women’s 200 fly to capture the first ACC crown in the history of the women’s program.

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.

“If felt awesome,” said Morgan on winning his first ACC title. “This was equal to my expectation on the ACC Championships,” continued Morgan. “I though I had a good shot of being All-ACC in at least two events (500 free and 1650 free), and I was.”

Stojanovska also earned All-ACC accolades in the 200 free with a school record time of 1:47.67 and finished fifth in the 500 free with a NCAA ‘B’ standard time of 4:47.36, breaking her third school record at the meet.

“I feel like I had a really good ACC meet,” said Stojanovska. “I knew that I had a chance at winning an ACC title, I just thought it would’ve been in the 200 free.”

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. Burkhardt, a native of Phoenix, Ariz., 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.

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 competition 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.

All four divers qualified and competed at the NCAA Zone Diving Championships, March 11-13, hosted in the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center. Stowers came within five points of qualifying for nationals on the platform, finishing in 11th 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, 800 free relay), Teemu Kettunen (100 fly), Rob Miller (500 free, 1650 free) and Sam Morgan (500 free, 1650 free, 800 free relay, 400 IM).

NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS
Sam Morgan (500 free, 1650 free, 400 IM)
Rob Miller (500 free, 1650 free)
Vesna Stojanovska (200 free, 500 free, 200 fly)
Elizabeth Stowe (500 free, 1650 free)

NCAA ZONE DIVING CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS
Tony Burkhardt
Stephanie England
Laurissa Prystaj
Evan Stowers

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

All-ACC HONOREES
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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