ATLANTA—Pitt men’s swimming continued to reach new heights at this year’s ACC Championships as 10 Panthers qualified for Wednesday night’s finals, including 100-yard backstroke A Finalist Henrique Machado, while five Panther program records were set at Georgia Tech’s McAuley Aquatic Center.
Machado took sixth place in the 100 back championship final, touching the wall in 46.65 to become Pitt’s best-ever men’s swimming finisher in the Panthers’ four-year ACC history. The senior had previously set a new Pitt school record in the event in the morning to qualify for the finals with a time of 46.58, besting the previous best Panther mark set by Adam Maczewski in 2013.
Pitt seniors Zach Lierley and Gabe Larson also set school records and recorded top-10 finishes for the Panthers with strong races in ACC consolation finals. Lierley placed ninth in the 400 individual medley after winning the event’s B Final and breaking his own Pitt record with a time of 3:46.35. Larson was the runner-up in his 100 breast B Final and took 10th with a time of 53.44, breaking Adam Plutecki’s 10-year-old Pitt record in the event.
The Panthers have already recorded four individual top-10 finishes in men’s swimming at this meet, matching their previous combined total from the previous three ACC Championships.
Pitt’s other consolation B Final entry, Brian Lovasik, placed 15th in the 200 free with a time of 1:37.01, while freshman Eben Vorster had a fantastic C Final in the same event to finish 18th and set another Pitt school record by touching the wall with a time of 1:36.17 to conquer David Sweeney’s time from 2015.
The Panthers’ 400 medley relay team of Machado, Larson, Vorster and Lovasik capped the evening with yet another school record, placing ninth in the event with a time of 3:10.57 to best the previous Pitt standard in the event from 2012 by almost three seconds.
“Today was truly another amazing day for Pitt swimming,” head coach John Hargis said. “To set five school records with three top-10 finishes and an A finalist—all in one day—is a huge step forward for our program. Now we need to recover and finish this meet strong tomorrow because we’re closely competing with several teams in the ACC team standings.”
Boosted by the 10 different individual scorers on Wednesday, the Panthers finished the day in ninth place in the ACC standings with 401 team points, just behind Duke and just ahead of Georgia Tech.
In total, Pitt has now set eight school records this week in Atlanta with one day remaining in the four-day ACC Championships meet for men’s swimming.
Along with Pitt’s previously mentioned historic swims, the Panthers were also well represented in the ACC’s other bonus C Finals Wednesday evening.
Samy Helmbacher placed 18th in the 400 IM as a freshman with a C Final time of 3:47.37. In the 100 breast C Final, Haden Calegan (17th, 54.01) and Brian Ramsey (18th, 54.12) both crushed personal records to take first and second in that particular race, and they were joined by fellow Pitt point scorers Nick Stachel (21st, 54.59) and Boris Kulizhnikov (22nd, 54.66) in the same heat.
Swimming in the morning for the Panthers, Aaron Sett (30th, 3:53.96) dropped his personal record in the 400 IM by almost five seconds, and Jake Tovey (35th, 49.19) likewise posted a career-best time in the 100 fly. Luke Smutny (32nd, 1:38.05), Spencer Gray (48th, 1:40.84), Scott Simmer (49th, 1:40.94) and Tommy Cestare (51st, 1:42.94) all competed in the 200 free, while Kohle Kerchner (32nd, 49.95) lowered his best time in the 100 back prelims.
Swimming resumes Thursday at 10 a.m. for the preliminary heats of the 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 fly. The 1650 freestyle mile heats will start shortly after 4 p.m., while finals for the four races from the morning and the 400 free relay will begin at 6 p.m. and can be seen on ACC Network Extra via ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app as the ACC Championships conclude.
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