The Wolfpacker

March-April 2022

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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8 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY MATT CARTER B etween 2015 and 2020, NC State men's swimming and diving placed first in six consecutive ACC Championships. Last year, however, due to a costly disqualification in a relay and the ab- sence of key swimmers using Olympic redshirts, NC State watched while Lou- isville celebrated with the trophy after edging the Pack by a mere two points in the final team standings. On Feb. 15-19, the Wolfpack made certain that its dominance of the con- ference is still alive. The Pack outscored the Cardinals, its nearest competitor, by 309 points. NC State won eight differ- ent races throughout the meet, includ- ing the 400 (in program-record time) and 800 free (with an ACC meet record) relays, and the 400 medley relay, the race in which the Pack was DQ'd in 2021. Individually, freshman David Curtiss made a splash in his ACC Champion- ships debut, winning the 50 free in 18.74 seconds, which is the second-fastest time in school history behind Ryan Held's 18.58 seconds in 2018. Junior Ross Dant and sophomore Will Gallant helped NC State dominate the long-distance races. Dant won the 500 free in the second-fastest time in Wolf- pack history and was second to Gallant in the 1,650. Gallant, who won his race by swim- ming the third-fastest time for the program, was also third in the 500. Wolfpack sophomore James Plage was second behind Dant and ahead of Gal- lant in that race. Plage (fifth) and senior Eric Knowles (fourth) joined Gallant and Dant in finishing top five in the 1,650. Junior Kacper Stokowski, national runner-up in the 100 backstroke a year ago, repeated as ACC champ in the race. Sophomore Luke Miller claimed his first conference title by winning the 200 free, where he earned honorable men- tion All-America accolades a year ago after finishing third in the conference meet. Miller's teammate, junior Hunter Tapp, took second in the 200 free. Tapp was also third in the 200 backstroke, becoming the third swimmer in school history to break 1:40 in the race, and finished fifth in the 100 free. NC State's divers will compete in the Zone B Diving Championships in Atlanta March 5-8. Then the NCAA Championships for the men will be March 23-26, also in Atlanta. The Feb. 11 version of the coaches' poll has NC State ranked second nationally behind de- fending national champion Texas. The NC State women's swimming and diving team also had a strong perfor- mance at the ACC meet, held concur- rently with the men. The Pack finished second but not before giving defending national champion Virginia a competi- tive meet. At the conclusion of the 1,650 free, NC State was just 14.5 points behind the Cavs with five events left, but Virginia was able to close with a 71.5-point ad- vantage in the final standings. NC State won the 200 free relay, while individually junior Katharine Berkoff was a standout, taking first in the 100 back in an ACC record time of 49.41 seconds. Berkoff is the defending na- tional champion in that race. She also was third in a tight finish for the 100 free, swimming the fastest time in school history at 46.89 seconds. Senior Sophie Hansson, who won the national championship in the 100 and 200 breaststroke races a season ago, claimed her fourth straight 100 title with an ACC record time of 56.72 sec- onds. She was second in the 200 after breaking her own school record time with 2:02.75. T h e N CA A C h a m p i o n s h i p s fo r the women will be held in Atlanta March 16-19. NC State is No. 4 in the coaches' poll. ■ T R A C K I N G THE PACK NC State Men's Swimming And Diving Wins Another League Crown The Wolfpack won eight races while outscoring runner-up Louisville by a dominant 309 points en route to its seventh ACC title in eight years. PHOTO BY KYLE HESS WITH THE ACC

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