Nine of Jackets swim and dive to nationals

Photo courtesy of Blake Israel

Over the last two weeks, Tech Swim and Dive concluded their season at the NCAA Championships. The women’s team sent two people to the Championships hosted in Athens, Ga. The men sent a record-tying nine to Indianapolis for the men’s championships. Mens’ and womens teams were represented in both the swimming and diving contests. The nine participants on the men’s side were senior Batur Ünlü in the 200 free, junior Mert Kilavuz in the 1650 free, junior Leandro Odorici in the 100 breast, junior Berke Saka in the 200 individual medley (IM), freshman Max Fowler in both the 1-meter and 3-meter dive, freshman Ricky Baluccini in both the 400 free relay and 800 free relay, junior David Gapinski in the 400 free relay, freshman Vitor Sega in the 800 free relay and freshman Robin Yeboah in the 400 free relay. The two representatives on the women’s side were freshman Sabyne Brisson in the 100 and 200 breast and senior Anna Bradescu in platform and 1-meter dive. Tech headed into the NCAA Championships coming off one of their better ACC championship performances in recent years. Both the men’s and women’s teams placed ninth while breaking many school records. The Women’s Championship began in Athens on March 21 where Bradescu dove in the women’s one-meter dive scoring 198.85 to finish in the top-50. The next day Brisson, who has school records in both the 100 and 200 breast, competed in the 100 breast, clocking just under one minute (59.70) and finishing 27th. On the last day of the Women’s NCAA Championship, both Brisson and Bradescu participated in their final events of the season. 

Heading north to Indianapolis, the men hoped to put the icing on top of a successful season. On the first day, the 800 free relay team of Baluccini, Sega, Saka and Ünlü closed with a time of 6:21.60 that had them finishing in last place (21st). Going into the second day, Tech hoped to be more competitive than in the preliminary rounds. Kilavuz swam in the 500 free finishing 38th with a time of 4:18.45 and Odorici finished 38th as well in the 50 free with a time of 19.49. On the third day of the NCAA Championships, Tech had their best day with two top-20 finishers. Odorici swam a time of 51.97 in the 100 breast to finish 20th in the preliminaries and Fowler tallied 350.70 points in the 3-meter dive for a 19th place finish. In the fourth and final day of the men’s national competition, Kilavuz outlasted much of his competition in the 1650 free finishing 18th with a time of 14:48.88.

Tech finished the 2023-2024 season with multiple top-20 finishers in national competition. Looking back at the season, the Jackets won multiple meets, most notably over the University of Miami and East Carolina University. Top individual performances included a bronze medal for Fowler in the men’s 1M during the ACC championships and a fifth place finish for Bradescu in the ACC Championships to qualify her for Athens. The Jackets will have a young foundation to build on in the coming years and they are primed for future success in the water after a strong season. They should make noise next year in the ACC.