ATLANTA – The 24th-ranked Georgia Tech men’s swimming and diving team opened up the 2001 ACC Championships in grand fashion by setting a pair of school records in the preliminaries of the first day of competition.
The Yellow Jackets placed eight swimmers into tonight’s final and consolation races, including a pair into the championship heats.
Sophomore Shilo Ayalon opened the day in the 500-yard freestyle by finishing third in the prelims with a school-record and NCAA “B” qualifying time of 4:24.09. His time broke the school record of 4:28.17 that he set at last year’s ACC meet by over four seconds. Virginia freshman Ian Pritchard will be the top seed in the finals after he set a new ACC meet record with his time of 4:18.24 on Thursday morning.
Tech’s record-setting morning was continued in the 200-yard individual medley by junior David Laitala, who recorded the fifth-fastest time of the morning. Laitala’s time of 1:49.33 broke his own school record of 1:49.79, and also bettered the NCAA “B” qualifying standard.
Jacket junior Leo Salinas had a strong morning session, as he also turned in a NCAA “B” time of 4:28.15 in the prelims and will be the second-seeded swimmer in the consolation finals this evening.
Five Yellow Jackets will compete in tonight’s bonus consolation heats as freshman Ricky Rauch was 20th in the 500 free prelims with a time of 4:34.33, rookie Chris Biedrzycki and junior Carl Nylander were 20th and 21st in the 200 IM with their times of 1:52.30 and 1:52.49 respectively, and Josh Hersko and Brendan Forbes placed 21st and 22nd in the 50-yard freestyle with times of 20.97 and 21.19.
The day one finals will begin this evening at 7:00 p.m., and the meet will continue on Friday with prelims scheduled for 11 a.m. and finals at 7:00 p.m.