Feb. 28, 2010

Courtesy of Virginia

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The Virginia men's swimming and diving team won its third consecutive and 13th overall Atlantic Coast Conference title and junior Scot Robison was tabbed the meet's most valuable swimmer Saturday at Koury Natatorium in Chapel Hill, N.C.

The Cavaliers finished with 806 points en route to their 11th title in the last 12 years. Virginia claimed first-place honors in eight events, including four of the five relays.

"I'm really proud of the team," said coach Mark Bernardino. "To come into this facility and swim against a team that was as ready and on fire as North Carolina was. I think we took their best shot. I am really proud of them. It is not easy to win a championship in any sport and to think that we've won 11 in the last 12 years and to keep the focus and avoid the complacency that can go with success, that says a lot about our swimmers."

Robison, a native of Charlotte, N.C., won three individual events over the course of the meet: the 50, 100, and 200 freestyle and set ACC and meet records in both the 100 and 200 free races. He was also a member of all four of UVa's winning relay teams. It marks the third consecutive year a Cavalier has been named the most valuable swimmer of the championships; classmate Matt McLean earned the award in 2008 and 2009.

"He has a deep-rooted desire, not just in the ACC, but hopefully to be one of the best in the world," said Bernardino about Robison. "We'll see how he does in this next step. At the NCAA Championships he will be one of the favorites in a couple of events. So we'll see if he is up to facing the pressure of competing against so many Olympians from so many different countries. He's a very special young man. We're lucky he is on our side."

Robison defended his title in the 100 free, finishing with a mark of 42.58. Earlier in the day, he set a league and meet record in the event with a prelim time of 42.42, both NCAA 'B' standards. Teammate Peter Geissinger also picked up all-conference honors with his third-place performance, finishing in 43.61.

"The team championship means more to me than that (MVP)," Robison said. "I'm flattered that the coaches would select me for that. I worked really hard this season and I'm glad it is paying off.

"This championship means a lot because in 2007 Virginia came in here and finished second to Florida State. I wasn't on the team then, but I was here and I saw the looks on those guys faces and saw how disappointed they were. To have the past three years like we have, to come back in this building and kind of avenge that loss and have a complete redo of it is amazing."
Virginia capped the meet with a victory in the 400 free relay. The team of Robison, Geissinger, John Azar and McLean finished with an NCAA 'A' time of 2:52.11. After tying for second in the opening relay of the championships, the 200 medley relay, the Cavaliers took first-place honors in the all four of the remaining relays.

McLean and senior Daniel Johnson both earned spots on the podium and earned all-conference honors. McLean placed third in the 1650 free with an NCAA 'B' time of 14:56.91, while Johnson was also third in the 200 back with a 'B' mark of 1:44.00.

A trio of Cavaliers went 3-4-5 in the 200 breast, led by Azar's third-place finish. Azar, a senior, finished in 1:57.87, ahead of teammates Simon Norstedt (1:57.94) and Tom Casey (1:58.17). All three times were NCAA 'B' standards.

Matt Houser recorded a third-place performance in the 200 fly, touching in 1:45.20, an NCAA 'B' time. Senior Dan McMahon was eighth in the event with a mark of 1:50.69.

Juniors John Snawerdt (15:01.31, 'B') and Taylor Smith (15:09.48, 'B') finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the mile, while Darren Ankosko (15:28.11, 'B') was 10th overall.

Matt Murray recorded a fifth-place finish in the 200 back (1:45.23, 'B') while David Wren took seventh (1:45.96, 'B') and Eric Olesen was 12th (1:46.96). Tim Hayes also had a 12th-place showing in the 200 breast, finishing in 2:01.11.

"Our depth was critical," Bernardino said. "We didn't win a lot of races today, but we were able to place two and three athletes in the finals of all the events. That, and the strength of our relays, was probably the difference. We just refused to buckle under pressure. Because of that, we were able to be successful."

The Cavaliers will compete in the 2010 NCAA Championships March 25-27 in Columbus, Ohio.

2010 Men's ACC Championships
Final Team Standings

1. Virginia 806
2. North Carolina 656.5
3. Florida State 566.5
4. Virginia Tech 417.5
5. Georgia Tech 308.5
6. Duke 305
7. Clemson 254
8. Maryland 197
9. NC State 169
10. Boston College 67
11. Miami (diving only) 31