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Tech Men's Swimming and Diving Set for ACC Championships

Feb. 27, 2002

ATLANTA – Coming off a program-best third-place finish in 2001, the Georgia Tech men’s swimming and diving team (6-3, 3-1 ACC) opens this year’s ACC Championships Thursday at the University of Maryland’s Campus Recreation Center Natatorium. Preliminaries are slated for 11 a.m. each day, while finals will begin at 7 p.m. The meet concludes on Saturday.

“The men’s ACC Championships are going to be a very exciting meet,” said Tech head coach Seth Baron. “Our men should have a lot of confidence going into this meet, as our women’s team swam very well last week. Our men know they have done the same work all year long. They should feel very good about their preparation going into this meet.”

Tech is poised to place highly at the meet, as several Jackets rank among the ACC’s best in their respective events. Senior co-captain David Laitala, a two-time all-conference honoree, ranks first in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 48.59. He also ranks fifth in the 200 IM and sixth in the 200 fly.

Junior Shilo Ayalon, an All-American in 2001, leads the Jackets’ strong distance group. He ranks second in the 500 and 1650 free. Senior Leo Salinas is third in the 500 and sixth in the 1650, while sophomore Eduardo Oliver stands eighth in that event.

Ayalon also ranks sixth in the 400 IM.

Junior All-American Tomonori Tsuji should perform well in the breaststroke events, as he stands fourth in the 100 and seventh in the 200 entering the meet. Classmate Robbie Foster ranks sixth in the 100.

Tech’s top diver is Paul McCarty, who enters the meet ranked seventh in both the one-meter and three-meter diving.

Other strong performers should be senior Josh Hersko, who ranks fourth in the 100 free and sixth in the 200, senior Brady Skaggs, who is fifth in the 200 fly, and senior Carl Nylander, who stands ninth in the 400 IM.

Tech should also fare well in the relays, as the Jackets enter with the second-fastest mark in the 800 free relay and third in the 200 and 400 medley relay. All of Tech’s relays rank in the top six.

A year ago, the Jackets scored 434.50 points, finishing behind only annual powers Virginia and North Carolina.

“Last year’s third-place finish was exciting,” said Baron. “Most teams are now going after us and will challenge us for that spot. Our men need to be confident in their approach to this meet. Nobody is going to give us anything. We need to go back to the ACC Championships and earn our position within this conference.”

Tech also will hope to have several student-athletes earn or improve on qualifying marks for the 2002 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, slated for March 28-30 in Athens, Ga. Ayalon and Tsuji swam at last year’s championships, earning All-America accolades.

“One of our team goals for the season is to improve our finish at the NCAA Championships,” added Baron. “To accomplish this goal, we need to get a couple more people to the meet. The quest for that goal begins this weekend.”



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