The Wolfpacker

November 2015 Issue

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 119 of 155

118 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY MATT CARTER N C State emerged as one of the na- tion's premier men's swimming and diving programs last season. The Wolfpack dominated the ACC Championships en route to a league title and then finished eighth at the NCAA Championships. Head coach Braden Holloway was cu- rious to see how his team would handle its past success, and he got the answer he wanted in the season-opening meet against Florida State in Raleigh Oct. 24. The Pack won 12 of 16 events on the day and cruised to an easy win. It appears that the team is ready for an encore. "The men were a little lost in what they wanted this year based off last year," Hollo- way said. "I think they are quickly starting to find out the end goal of what they want to start building on and building towards. At one point a couple of years ago they knew they wanted to win an ACC title. "Now they know they want to win a na- tional championship. It's shifting." The coach admitted that aiming for a national title is "fun to think about — it's fun to talk to them about." The optimism is based on key returning pieces from last year's team. Senior freestyle sprinter Simonas Bilis, last year's ACC Men's Swimmer of the Year, highlights the group. Bilis became the first ACC swimmer ever to break 19 seconds in the 50 freestyle, finished third in that race at the NCAA Championships and was second in the 100 free at the national meet. He is also a key piece of the Pack's renowned relay teams. "He's the anchor point for these relays," Holloway said. "Anytime you have him on that relay you feel better about your chances. He'll be a pretty big contributor." Sophomore Ryan Held was a second- ■ PREVIEW MEN'S SWIMMING Senior Simonas Bilis was named the ACC Men's Swimmer of the Year last season after becoming the first athlete in conference history to break 19 seconds in the 50 freestyle. PHOTO COURTESY NC STATE MEDIA RELATIONS AIMING FOR THE TOP The Wolfpack Hopes To Compete For The National Championship ■ Key Meets • Vs. Texas, Nov. 14 — The Texas men are the de- fending NCAA champions. • Vs. Virginia, Jan. 22 — The Cavs will be State's op- ponent on Senior Day, when NCSU will say goodbye to several swimmers that helped transform the Wolfpack program over the past four years. • At ACC Championships, Feb. 25‑27 — The Pack will look to repeat as conference champs at this year's meet, held in Greensboro, N.C.

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