ATLANTA — The 24th-ranked Georgia Tech men’s swimming and diving team completed the most successful ACC Championship meet in school history by finishing third in Charlottesville, Va.
The Yellow Jackets set new school records with the third-place finish and 434.50 team point total. Tech finished behind Virginia which won its third-straight ACC title with a conference record 883.50 points. Prior to 2001, Tech’s best showing at the conference meet was sixth place with 289 points a year ago.
Sophomore Shilo Ayalon opened the night in grand style as he placed second in the 1,650-yard freestyle with a blistering time of 14:58.27, which was an NCAA Automatic Qualifying time and smashed Ayalon’s own school record of 15:18.83 by over 20 seconds. Ayalon earned All-ACC honors for the first time in his career as he was second to Virginia’s Ian Pritchard, who set a new conference record with a time of 14:51.70.
Junior Leo Salinas was second in the consolation finals of the 1,650 free with his NCAA “B” time of 15:24.70, and freshman Eddy Oliver was sixth in the consolation with a time of 15:44.37.
Sophomore Scott Lenyk was the Jackets’ second All-ACC performer of the night, as he finished third in the 200-yard backstroke with his school-record time of 1:47.93. The mark broke Lenyk’s own school record of 1:48.42. Fellow second-year performer James Salazar was seventh in the final heat with his time of 1:51.06. Jorge Oliver placed fourth in the consolation finals with his time of 1:51.08, and Carl Nylander was sixth in that race with a time of 1:51.31.
Tech’s third All-ACC performer of the night came in the 200-yard breaststroke, as Tomonori Tsuji was third in a school-record time of 1:58.46. Tsuji earned All-Conference honors for the second time in the meet as he broke his own school record by just over two seconds and met the NCAA “B” qualifying standard. Robbie Foster was eighth in the 200 breast consolation finals with his time of 2:05.96.
The Jackets’ re-writing of the school record book continued in the 100-yard freestyle, as sophomore Josh Hersko finished fifth with his time of 44.86 seconds, which was a NCAA “B” cut and broke Hersko’s own record of 45.39 seconds.
In the 200-yard butterfly, rookie Itai Eden placed seventh with a season-best time of 1:50.08, and Brady Skaggs was eighth with his 1:50.60 mark. Charles Gersbach and Salazar placed sixth and seventh respectively in the consolation finals with their times of 1:52.58 and 1:53.33.
In the diving well, freshman Paul McCarty turned in a solid performance as he finished seventh on the three-meter boards with his score of 455.65.
With the final event of the meet, came another school record for the Jackets, as Tech’s quartet of David Laitala, Jorge Oliver, Brendan Forbes and Hersko placed sixth in the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 3:01.98, which eclipsed the previous mark of 3:04.84 by nearly three seconds.
The Yellow Jacket will return to action on March 3, when they travel to Athens, Ga., to compete in the NCAA Last Chance Meet hosted by the University of Georgia.