Jackets set records at 2024 ACC Championships

Swimmers prepare to compete in the 2024 ACC Championships, held in Greensboro, NC. The Jackets did exceptionally well in the men’s 400 relay and women’s 400 medley relay. // Photo courtesy of ACC

Coming off a commanding 9-The Jackets’ swimming and diving team showcased their talent and determination at the 2024 ACC Championships held in Greensboro, N.C., from Feb. 20-24. Tech concluded the meet with remarkable performances, including a new school record in the Men’s 400 Free Relay and notable individual achievements across various events. The highlight of the meet  was the men’s 400 free relay, where the team of junior Leandro Odorici, junior David Gapinski, freshman Ricky Baluccini and senior Batur Ünlü shattered the school record with a blazing time of 2:50.18. 

This exceptional performance etched their names in the school’s history books and secured a National College Athletics Association (NCAA) A Cut that ensures they will represent Tech at the national championships.

The first day saw the men’s and women’s teams diving into action with the 1M and 3M diving events, alongside the 200 medley relay and 800 free relay. This initial day was crucial for setting the tone. Freshman Max Fowler took home a bronze medal in the men’s 1M dive, marking an auspicious start for the Jackets in the pool.

Junior Mert Kilavuz led the individual accolades for the Jackets, clinching a fourth-place finish in the men’s 1650 freestyle with a swift time of 15:00.77. Close behind, sophomores Charles Perks and Ben Gerhard showcased their endurance, finishing sixth and thirteenth, respectively, in the same event.

In the backstroke domain, junior Berke Saka made waves by advancing to the 200 backstroke final, ultimately securing a tenth-place finish with a time of 1:42.56. Meanwhile, sophomore João Caballero represented Tech in the Men’s 200 Breast final, finishing 14th with a commendable time of 1:56.19. The third day brought more opportunities for the Jackets, with the 400 IM, 100 butterfly , 200 free  and men’s 3M Diving on the schedule. Tech’s athletes continued to battle against the clock and their peers, securing vital points and NCAA B Cut times. The Jackets continued to perform well in the diving events. Max Fowler led the charge in the Men’s Platform Dive, securing a sixth-place finish with a score of 364.35, while junior Alex Scott finished 11th.

The final day featured the 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, men’s platform diving, 1650 freestyle and the eagerly anticipated 400 free relay.The men’s 400 Free Relay team’s record-breaking performance was a highlight for the team. The women’s team stood out in the 200 breaststroke final where freshman Sabyne Brisson and junior Clarissa Sabin finished 9th and 22nd, respectively. 

The women’s 400 free relay  team, composed of sophomore Anna Hadjiloizou, junior Sophie Murphy, junior Zora Ripkova and freshman Jillian Ferrari, also made a splash by finishing 10th overall. Senior Anna Bradescu emerged as a star in the diving events, clinching a bronze medal in the women’s platform dive with a score of 297.40, improving on her preliminary score. Senior Rei Kuramoto excelled in the 200 fly as well. 

The teams also excelled in relay events throughout the championship. The women’s 400 medley relay team set a new school record, underscoring the depth
and talent within the squad.

Across the board, Tech swimmers and divers qualified for finals in numerous events. From the 200 IM to the 500 freestyle, Tech made their presence felt, with several finishing with times qualifying for the NCAA B Cut.

Both the men’s and women’s teams finished ninth overall, with the men amassing 575.5 points and the women securing 450 points. 

The 2024 ACC Championships provided a platform for Tech individual and team achievements but also set the stage for future successes. The performance of the  Jackets in Greensboro proves their dedication, skill and the bright future that lies ahead for Tech swimming and diving. They will have an opportunity to show off their prowess in their next meet against the University of Georgia Bulldogs on Friday, Mar. 1 and Saturday, Mar. 2 in Athens, GA before the divers return to Athens and compete in the four-day NCAA Zone B Championships as they look to qualify for the national tournaments in late March.